Video: How Jelly works
The mobile app allows users – and brands – to ask and answer questions to and from their Twitter and Facebook friends and friends of friends using photos and drawings. It is still in the very early stages of its development, but by 10 January Jelly was already the 76th most downloaded app in the UK and the 45th most downloaded in the US on iTunes, according to analytics website AppAnnie.
Carphone Warehouse was informed about Jelly by its social media agency Cake and the retailer decided it wanted to get involved with it “as quickly as possible”. It immediately began asking a handful of questions to its Jelly network – such as garnering opinions on the new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone and asking which products consumers felt were the best to come out of CES 2014 – but the real focus has been on answering mobile-related questions that have appeared on the app.
Julian Diment, Carphone Warehouse marketing director, says: “Because Jelly is an exciting new platform that will no doubt evolve, we felt that it was worth investing in as a means to assist our customers making informed decisions on their device choices.
“How we use Jelly also fits into our wider ethos of ‘we compare, you save’, helping consumers find the right handset and tariff that suits their needs.”
Asda has taken a slightly more cautious to approach to Jelly, having tried just five different posts so far – most of which have also appeared elsewhere in its social streams. These have included asking whether chocolate or plain digestives are best for a mid-morning tea break and playing a spot the snowman competition, enabling Jelly users to annotate the answer on the image.
Dominic Burch, Asda UK’s head of social, says Jelly could become a fun and engaging way to engage with customers, like Facebook or Twitter. But he says factors such as small user numbers and the inability to delete posts or search for questions mean it is too early to draw any meaningful conclusions from its experiments to date.
He adds: “The reality at present is that it is mainly full of early adopter social media types, not core Asda shoppers. No doubt the later forms of Jelly will have a very different user experience than the one we’re wasting hours of our life on at the moment, but either way we won’t be too distracted by it; 50 per cent of Asda customers [9 million people] are on Facebook each day and, around 10 per cent are on Twitter and YouTube, so that’s where most of our effort will continue to go for now.”
Nando’s has also been using Jelly mostly to push out content – such as questions about its restaurants, topical questions and asking people to choose their favourite celebrities from a famous pairing.
Jonathan Hopkins, Nando’s UK head of digital, says being one of the first brands in any environment is challenging but adds that Nando’s would rather “get stuck in than sit on the sidelines”.
“So far all of our questions have had a great response and we’ve had a lot of fun on Jelly. Clearly the community is evolving quickly, but the early days have been full of the kind of randomness that we enjoy as a brand.
“Being there from the start means we can watch things develop and start to hone our approach as we learn from our fans and the community itself. Ultimately, anything which helps us get closer to our fans and have fun along the way has got to be a good thing, so we’ll just keep getting our wobble on.”
For now, the Jelly jury is still out, but with a number of mainstream brands already experimenting, marketers would be wise to keep an eye on how the app is evolving and could fit with their customer engagement strategies.