New startup Fotobabble is launching the private beta of its Talking Facebook Fan Page app. Pages will be able to install the tab app, customize it with their logos and messaging, and begin allowing their fans to add voice narration to photos. These photos are automatically branded with the Page’s name and link, and can then be shared to the news feed, posted to the Page’s wall, or used as contest submissions.
Talking Facebook Fan Page takes advantage of the wealth of photos being uploaded to Facebook, has a lightweight flow, and produces compelling content users will want to share. These factors could lead brands to license the app to power engaging promotions. However, the use cases of the app are relatively unexplored so its unclear whether there is much user demand for what it offers. Interested brands can signup for beta access ahead of the self-serve app’s release next month.
The problem with many user generated content creation apps is they are too high touch, requiring users to produce new source content before they can start, undertake laborious photo or video editing, and endure long upload times. This limits the potential audience for promotions to a brand’s most loyal fans, and provides too many drop-off points before users finally have the option to share their content, and the brand, with their friends. On the other side of the spectrum, standard photo submission contests have been overused and become stale.
Founded in January 2010, the 8-person company has taken $300,000 in seed funding to create a product that aims for a sweet spot between these extremes. Users simply choose a previously uploaded photo or add a new one, speak into their computer’s microphone, and they’re ready to publish content augmented with the intimacy of their voice. Users can also create Fotobabbles for publishing on Facebook using the company’s iPhone app.
Outside of video, there aren’t many to hear the voices of friends on Facebook, creating a pent up demand for verbal story telling which brands can take advantage of. For instance, a brand could run a contest asking users “Upload a photo of a tropical destination and tell us why you need a vacation for a chance to win 2 tickets to Hawaii.”
Since the launch of its iPhone and web apps, Fotobabble has since found that users enjoyed recording anecdotes about vacation and event photos, and narrating from the perspective of a photo’s subject, such as a pet. Travel, event promotion, and pet-themed Pages could all be natural hosts for the app, and there’s potential for consumer packaged goods, restaurants, and retail brands to use the app to solicit testimonials. Fotobabble also offers plugins and APIs so brands can syndicate content created through the app to other places on the web.
As another use case, brands could record and post their own talking photos to describe their products and services. Fotobabble is considering releasing a canvas app targeted directly at users, allowing them to send Fotobabbles as audio picture messages and birthday wall posts, perhaps narrating a photo of themselves and the birthday boy or girl.
One issue is that Fotobabble’s technology isn’t particularly defensible. Upon hearing of the idea, Page management companies could copy the app’s structure and add it to the suite of promotional apps they offer clients. Fotobabble should consider striking deals for these companies to integrate its technology and design. Recording voice could also be too unfamiliar for users try the app.
As brands realize they need a constant stream of new engagement promotions, there’s an opportunity for creative startups like Fotobabble. Success will depend on a frictionless interface and clear instructions, if it can take care of these, brands might be willing to add Talking Facebook Fan Page to their tab app mix.