Never send a boring JPEG attachment again! Photogram lets you capture and share photo memories quickly with people important to you across email, Facebook and Twitter. Choose up to four photos and then choose from a variety of themes to create context, like a vacation, birthday party or holiday. The app’s crisp, intuitive user interface includes a “Groups” feature that lets you reach multiple people such as family and friends with one-click. Recipients don’t have to have the app or register to receive a Photogram.
“With Photogram, we wanted the delivery experience and packaging around your photos to enhance and support the specialness of the moments they reflect. We liken it to the difference between getting a diamond ring by itself versus getting a diamond ring in a Tiffany box,” says the app’s co-creator Bob Armour.
Photogram hit the app market hard and was downloaded over 100,000 times in its first week. Since its launch in mid-June, the most requested improvement was the ability to preview what your Photogram looks like before sending it, which is now available in Photogram version 1.1. Photogram has also introduced five new themes: a theme for fathers (Daddy-O), a U.S. Independence Day theme (Stars and Stripes) and three themes created by Chicago-based artist Patrick Skoff (foxfield, littlefield and winterfox). The top five most requested themes are: Soccer, Best Friends/Love, Wedding, Basketball and more Beach Themes. Expect to see a lot more roll out over the upcoming weeks and months.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
To date, the app has had over 180,000 downloads from 166 different countries and people have sent and shared Photograms with over 168,400 individuals via email, Facebook and Twitter. And over 71% of all Photograms contain three or more photos. The app is particularly popular with girls; in fact, 70% – 80% of Photogram users are female. (I have to admit sending your beau a decorated photo to his email inbox is pretty cute… and it’s free!)
To celebrate the app’s success, we interviewed creators Brian Hand (BH) and Bob Armour (BA) on Photogram, their favorite themes and the coolest thing they’ve done this summer.
CBM: When did you have the idea for Photogram?
BH: Photogram’s inspiration came from a web site that we run called Lifesnapz. LifeSnapz helps families share and record events using photos and videos, and enables people to explore these events using timelines and maps in a private and permission-based environment. We noticed that people responded and commented most enthusiastically to new events that were recorded on the site, and that most of these events had photos associated with them. So we looked at that and asked ourselves, “How can we create a dead simple service around these two user behaviors? And how can we take advantage of the ubiquity of smartphone cameras?” That – plus lots of work, feedback from beta testers and countless iterations! – resulted in the creation of Photogram.
CBM: What were you working on before?
BA: Photogram is the most recent service from our company, Timelines, Inc., which creates mobile and web services that help people record and share events. In addition to Lifesnapz and Photogram, we created and run a site called Timelines.com, which enables anybody to record events and string them together in timelines with other similar events based on time, place or description. It’s a great resource for history teachers and students. We also have a B2B web service called Timelines SE that helps newspaper companies organize their content related to specific events or games. Here’s an example of what we do for Boston.com’s coverage of the Red Sox. And finally, we have an iPhone app called “Disaster of the Day” that shows what disasters happened on each day of the year throughout history.
CBM: What’s your basic monetization strategy?
BH: Photogram is a free app. We make money by selling Themes created from independent artists’ works in our in-app Theme Store. Upon download of Photogram, you get a starter set of Themes that you can use unlimited number of times. Within the app, you can browse the Theme Store by what’s new and featured, by category (such as holiday, kid-related, pet-related, type of art, etc.) and by artist to find other Themes. These Themes cost $0.99 each. Once purchased, you own that Theme and can use it to create and share as many Photograms as you want. At some point in the near future we will offer Theme Bundles (for example, 3 – 4 themes for $1.59 or $1.99).
Photogram is currently still offering its Special Launch Promotion of 26 free Themes – a $25 value – as a special offer for all new users of Photogram. So be sure to take advantage of that!
CBM: What’s your favorite Photogram theme?
BA: Hmm, my favorite theme… that’s a tough one, there are so many good ones. I’d have say that I have two favorites. One is “foxfield” by artist Patrick Skoff and the other is “Hail Whale” by Alex Westgate. I particularly like the surprise reveal at the bottom of both of them.
BH: I like “Pool Day” by artist Andre Jolicoeur. The colors are great, and details are fun.
CBM’s favorite theme:
CBM: What’s next up for Photogram?
BA: Well, there’s a bunch of features and functions to add to Photogram: Theme Bundles, creating a user’s history of sent Photograms, send a prior Photogram again, and more. And then there’s functionality to consider that’s oriented towards printing, saving and organizing Photograms. We have a very long list of potential product enhancements!
Another interesting thing that we’ve been pursuing is enabling public figures, celebrities and companies to have exclusive custom themes for them to use for their social media marketing. Photogram provides these people and entities a quick and easy way to share their photos and stories wrapped in their brand’s look and feel. One example of this use is a by young singer named Jackson Guthy (pictured below). Jackson is using Photogram with his own branded custom themes to give his fans a view into his life with his fans on Facebook and Twitter (see example), and he’s launched a contest for his fans to use Photogram and his themes in order to share their summer experiences back to him.
We have a WGN newscaster who’s using Photogram (with her custom theme) to support her news coverage. Additionally, we have a number of other brands and celebrities whose themes will be launching shortly, including a high-end luxury hotel, a Top Chef, a major college mascot (yes, this mascot is very savvy when it comes to social media!) and others.
CBM: What’s the most awesome thing you’ve done so far this summer?
BA: That is a great question. Launching Photogram has been pretty awesome. After that, hanging out with a bunch of the Chicago Cubs players at a charity event was pretty fun.
BH: Yeah, launching Photogram has been cool. And hiking up Haystack Mountain in Wilmington, Vermont – elevation 3,400 feet – with my seven year-old daughter was memorable.
*Be on the look out, a TNW Photogram theme is in the works!*