Photo-sharing app Poparazzi has some unusual rules: users can’t post photos of themselves or post to their own profile. Instead, they can only share to their friends’ profiles. The goal is to showcase “the real you, through your real friends,” Poparazzi co-founder and CEO Alex Ma told Protocol.
The platform is part of a rising tide of social media apps trying to grab the attention of Gen Z by eschewing the norms of traditional platforms like Facebook and Instagram. And it works.
A rapid ascent
After launching on the App Store last year, Poparazzi quickly skyrocketed to No. four to 15, Ma said. Since Poparazzi’s launch, the app has been downloaded 5 million times, with more than 100 million photos and videos shared, the company said. Due to the way the app works, users tend to register in groups rather than individually, which increases the number of users.
The app’s primary demographic is Gen Z (users must be at least 12 years old to create an account): approximately 95% of active Poparazzi users are under 21 and over 75% are between 14 and 18 year. Ma attributes this to actually attracted users. to post, rather than hiding or remaining anonymous due to pressure to create good enough content.
“Instagram and TikTok aren’t really a place where friends can just be friends with each other anymore,” Ma said. “1% of people create content for 99% of people. And then 99% of people don’t feel like their content, or their life, isn’t worth sharing.
On Poparazzi you cannot post on your own profile, only on your friends’ pages.Picture: Poparazzi
It’s clear that Gen Z doesn’t want to use their parents’ social platforms. Facebook’s daily active users first fell late last year (although it recently bounced back slightly). Meanwhile, Poparazzi is gaining momentum and photo-sharing app BeReal, which allows users to post just once at a random time of day, has also exploded in popularity, earning 13.5 million global installs. on the App Store and Google Play since June 2021., according to Sensor Tower. BeReal also experienced a growth spurt in April, recording a peak of 3.6 million installs during the month.
“Gen Z [doesn’t] feel like they have a safe place on the internet to express themselves authentically without the pressure of getting likes and comments and having content,” Ma said.
In addition to attracting the attention of young users, apps that go against the typical grain of the social platform have also been successful in recruiting top talent and funding venture capital. Ma said Poparazzi was able to recruit employees on Instagram, Snap and Facebook; the company also announced a $15 million Series A funding round earlier this month.
“The Poparazzi team understands its audience and wants to provide Gen Z with a platform that reflects their values and relieves them of their social media fatigue,” said Alexia Tsotsis, founder and CEO of the equity firm. Dream Machine risk, which has invested in the application. . “They’ve gotten off to a great start, and with over 5 million downloads, they have the momentum and resources they need to build a future where social is more social and less media.”
BeReal has also raised $30 million in funding and is said to have a valuation of more than $600 millionand relationship-focused messaging platform HalloApp is run by WhatsApp and Facebook veterans.
Poparazzi is still working on its business model, but similar to HalloApp, which promises never to show ads, advertising right. As soon as users start seeing an excessive amount of ads on the platforms, Ma said, “the product is compromised.” Poparazzi may monetize with branded merchandise and events rather than monetizing platform users, but those talks are still in the early stages.
While gaining users is in the interest of any social media company, Ma doesn’t see Facebook or Instagram as rivals to Poparazzi. Meta’s platforms are “fighting for the attention economy” because of their advertising model, he said, undermining the apps’ original intent to be connection tools. Because Poparazzi doesn’t fight for attention in the same way, Ma thinks he’ll “win in the long run.”
“TikTok, Instagram, Facebook – they serve a very different purpose. But Poparazzi will always be a place for friends,” Ma said. “It’s a place for friends now, but it will be a place for friends even in five to 10 years.”