Firstly, it isn’t the physical manifestation of a soon-to-be-billionaire teenager’s bedroom hobby, as so many of them are (I’m generalising here).
Peach was created by Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, someone who knows a thing or two about launching a new social network.
Secondly, it involves Gifs. And at Econsultancy we are massive fans of those. Seriously, it’s the primary form of communication in our office.
I thought I’d check out this new social network to see whether it’s any good and explore the potential opportunities for marketers, if any.
What is Peach?
Hoffman describes it as:
A fun, simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself.
But such marketing guff doesn’t tell us much about anything, so let’s get down to brass tacks.
The app revolves around what it calls ‘magic words’. When you type one of these words you can tap to take a specific action.
‘Song’, for example, uses your phone’s mic to share what you’re listening to, while ‘draw’ invites you to draw and share a picture.
Clicking ‘gif’ enables you to search a database of Gifs that you can publish with one touch. Or you can create your own.
The same applies with ‘images’, ‘movie’ and so on.
The good part is you don’t have to type the whole word. Simply put in the first letter of the magic word and an autocomplete function does the rest.
You can add other information to your posts like a rating from 1-5 (‘rate’). You can do pretty much anything from add your location (‘here’) to display your phone’s current charge (‘battery’).
I’m not sure what the point of the latter is. All I know is you can do it.
Whatever you choose to post, it will appear in your ‘space’, which is Peach’s fancy word for a timeline, where people can like or comment on it. You can view a stream of updates from your connections’ spaces, tapping posts to reveal more.
Similar to Facebook’s classic ‘poke’ feature, users can communicate with each other in any number of mildly irritating ways.
You can wave, ‘boop’, blow a kiss, ‘put a ring’ on someone, ‘hiss’ at them, or ‘quarantine’ them if they’re pissing you off.
When you initially sign up to the app it takes you through a nice little walkthrough that explains all of the above, starting with adding a photo.
I’ve included some screenshots below to show you.
‘What’s the point?’ I hear you asking.
Does everything have to have a point? Oh, it does? Well, err, let me get back to you on that one then…
The opportunities for marketers
So why should marketers care? Well apart from the fact they should be aware of and familiar with any new platforms appearing regardless of personal gripes, the app could offer some opportunities in future.
Merriam Webster, for example, while lacking an Instagram or Snapchat account, seems to be thriving on Peach.
Perhaps this is because the app lends itself to more to words than pretty imagery, something that will have obvious appeal to a dictionary brand. And it offers a more permanent playground than Snapchat.
Something exciting about it is the potential for brands to get really creative but in a stripped-backed way.
More Vine than Instagram. Like Snapchat but without the transient nature. You get the picture…
And that’s part of the appeal for brands, I think. Because Peach caters for pretty much any kind of content, it is inclusive. There’s something for everyone.
11 points on PeachBall. @peachdotcool is a sandbox of a social app. It’s literally everything. It’s so sweet! pic.twitter.com/FT0PixZICl
— Matt Fogarty (@itsMattFogarty) February 3, 2016
But that still doesn’t fully answer the question of whether brands would want to spend their time on Peach in the first place.
At the moment it’s impossible to say, especially as the app is still very much in development.
Peach is constantly posting updates on its Twitter feed, so who knows where it could go in the next few months?
sneak peek at our upcoming release notespic.twitter.com/JjKNOiPI4F
— Peach (@peachdotcool) January 21, 2016
A “mini”update just in time for the weekend! pic.twitter.com/nDdr73cK8q
— Peach (@peachdotcool) January 30, 2016
Peach’s value as a marketing platform will depend entirely on whether it manages to break through the incredibly noisy world of new social media apps and build a big enough audience for brands to care.
But if it does manage to do that then I think marketers looking to engage with a younger audience will have plenty of opportunities to do so via Peach.
I can imagine the big players paying an enormous amount of money for their own ‘magic words’ to appear.
update tonight featuring PEACHBALL! Use the magic word PLAY to start a game, then share your scores here! pic.twitter.com/Fto8nByVQe
— Peach (@peachdotcool) February 4, 2016
Perhaps the biggest selling point for brands, if Peach can manage it properly, is the sheer amount of data the app collects about people.
It gets to know your favourite books, films, music, location, likes, dislikes, all the usual creepy stuff.
And unlike Twitter, everything on Peach is self-contained within the app.
According to David Carroll, Professor of Media Design at Parsons School of Design in New York:
Peach is a proprietary platform in every way, perhaps more than anything we’ve seen to date in the evolution of social media apps. It diverts our attention away from the Open Web and into a privately-owned walled-garden.
It (is) fun and playful with clever magic words that induce you to share more meta data.
Is it just another fad?
It’s easy to talk the app down because it’s got a silly name and it’s all a bit fluffy, but I actually think it will stick. And here’s why…
The app’s creators clearly understand many of the trends developing in the content and social media space and the way people – particularly younger people – increasingly like to express themselves online.
Peach lets users curate their own content from various sources and users can customise and put their own spin on everything.
I’m not even its target audience but even I have to admit I’ve had quite a bit of fun playing around with it.
Crucially, though, it has put an enormous amount of focus on user experience (UX), streamlining the posting process to just a couple of touches in many cases.
It uses autocomplete, so for ‘game’ you need only type the first two letters, and for ‘gif’ you only need to type ‘g’, and so on.
In short: it caters for laziness. And whether we like to admit it or not, our laziness as internet users is increasing at an exponential rate.
Take the Safari command as a perfect example. Type the letters ‘Sa’ into the app and a button appears that takes you to the browser with one touch.
Copy a URL, click ‘back to Peach’ in the top left and paste it in. You can see I’ve given this link a well-deserved five-star rating, too.
It’s so easy I think it would even pass the ‘Jack Simpson’s parents’ test, which I use to determine whether anyone is likely to struggle with a piece of tech.
And it’s this streamlined UX, and the fact that it’s so easy to customise whatever you’re posting with just a couple of extra touches, that people will really like about the app.
Conclusion: where there’s an audience, there are marketing opportunities
Unlike many people who’ve already commented on this app I do actually believe Peach has the potential to build a large audience.
- Users can post a huge variety of content.
- Content is highly customisable.
- The app is incredibly quick and easy to use (even for Jack Simpson’s parents).
- It’s – dare I say it – fun.
Of course it’s far from perfect, but it’s also incredibly new. And all the above elements, coupled with its creator’s track record, mean it has a fairly good chance of catching on, particularly with a younger audience.
If that happens, brands will be interested. Very interested.
Only time will tell, of course, but I’m willing to put my gold-plated journalistic reputation (*cough cough*) on the line and say I think this one is going to be big. Not Facebook big, but certainly a significant player.
I mean, as soon as I saw the phrase ‘Assemble your squad’ I felt the need to immediately delete the app in protest, but apart from that…
What do you think?