“Yo”: The Future of Simplistic Communication

Lauren Packer is a Client Services intern.

The simplest new communication tool comes in the form of a small purple square on the home screen of your smartphone. Yo is a “single-tap, zero character” application that claims to be reinventing the modern notification. Version 1.0 was released on April Fool’s Day and recently received $1.5 million dollars in 1venture capital after the initial $1 million. To many, this little application is a joke. In fact the Apple app store is chalk full of sarcastic and hilarious reviews like, “I lost my will to live, and then I found Yo” and “Every time I get a Yo, it is a profound message from Yo-God telling us that all is well, and not to use words for communication.”

A Yo can send a variety of messages – from a simple “Let’s meet up”, to a more significant “Good morning, I love you.” If This Then That (IFTT) is an app that links the functions of two applications to simplify the user’s life. For example, it can integrate Instagram with DropBox by saving each posted Instagram photograph into a DropBox folder automatically. When combined with IFTT, Yo can alert you that a storm is brewing, warn you that you left your garage door open, remind you to take your daily meds, or tell you that your ex just tweeted.

During the World Cup, Yo users could opt in to be reminded to flip on the game. One of its four employees watched each game and sent out notifications each time a goal was scored.

The Israel missile notification service, Red Alert, is utilizing Yo to warn citizens of incoming strikes in real time. While the official notification service provides a more complete account of threats on their own application, Yo has been instrumental in protecting larger pools of citizens.

The rising popularity of simple communication is shown in trends such as Snapchat and emojis.  Arbel, the 2developer of Yo, told Mashable that those who believe that Yo is just an app that says “yo” are underestimating its potential and utility.  Arbel insists that it is an entirely new, non-intrusive notification that will cut through the noise of our other social channels.  The application raises an interesting question of how important a message’s content is over its context.

What are the key takeaways here? The mobile messaging market is very unpredictable and is constantly being reinvented. As marketers, it’s going to be smart to pay attention to applications that simplify communication and use both content and context. These apps can be utilized for a variety of purposes to promote events, brands and simplify the user experience.


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