NEWS9 May 2014

VoxPopMe looks to follow growth with new funding

News Technology UK

UK — VoxPopMe, a user-generated video platform that works with brand owners and agencies to collect consumer feedback via smartphones, is targeting a Series A funding round later this year.

Founder and CEO Dave Carruthers says the firm is hoping to capitalise on the growth it’s seen to date, having worked with brands including OK! magazine, Manchester City Football Club and ASOS, as well as agencies including Kantar, Cogent Elliott and McCann.

VoxPopMe was launched a year ago by Carruthers, who previously founded and led the creative digital agency One Result.

“My background is in technology start-ups,” says Carruthers, “but 13 or 14 months ago, I started looking at how smartphone technology was evolving, and how brands could use it as a source of customer feedback.”

The original plan was to disrupt the traditional voxpops space, he explains. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be able to put questions out to people and have them send videos back’.”

Carruthers and colleagues set to work building both a web-based platform and an app to enable this, with £500,000 in angel investment behind them.

To date, 18,000 people have downloaded the VoxPopMe app. On sign-up, they are asked to fill in a profile questionnaire, or they can connect their Facebook accounts, to allow clients to target questions by demographics and interests.

Dave Carruthers

Dave Carruthers

Each question requires the participant to film a short video of 15–60 seconds in length, with a cash incentive of between 20p and 75p per response.

Recent updates to the service allow clients to ask respondents to complete up to two additional tasks before filming a video. They might be promoted to complete a short survey, or asked to view a YouTube video. In this way, Carruthers says, VoxPopMe has been able to expand its role beyond voxpop-based feedback to include customer experience research, and ad and content testing.

Sticking closely to its user-generated ethos, the firm tasks its community of users with vetting the responses of other users. Top contributors receive an extra incentive to review videos, and either reject or approve them. The rejection rate currently runs at about 5%, says Carruthers.

Videos are scored as either poor, ok and great, and the scores of a user’s last 10 videos are aggregated to produce a ‘reputation’ metric, which can be used as a targeting variable.

As well as user scoring, clients can also choose to have their videos transcribed and analysed for sentiment – with these processes being outsourced via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform.

Carruthers says VoxPopMe is currently testing a more open version of the system, that would allow clients to run feedback campaigns outside the mobile app and across devices. This web-based version could be distributed to respondents via a shared URL, or it could be embedded in a client’s own website or app, says Carruthers.