In a world where videos rule, vlogging is serious business. It allows people to discover things and experiences, gives content creators a platform, allows brands to connect with their audiences, and lets ordinary users become “influencers”.
A large number of millionaires across the world have made their fortune by creating content on YouTube and monetising their brand. Closer home, top vloggers include Bhuvan Bam, Ashish Chanchalani, Sanam, Vidya Iyer, Sandeep Maheshwari, Arun Prabhudesai, Prajakta Koli, and others. However, YouTube might be “too cluttered” for many.
Enter Bengaluru-based Trell, a community-based platform that enables lifestyle discovery through user-generated video and photo content in various Indian languages.
Launched in August 2017, Trell is a visual blogging platform especially designed for millennials (and others) to share their unique experiences of places and palates. All content on Trell (TRail experiences and tELL your friends) is original and generated by users. The platform was started by IIT alumni Pulkit Agarwal, Prashant Sachan, and Arun Lodhi, and NITIE alumnus Bimal Kartheek Rebba.
The app has four key aspects: discovery, create, share, and shop. The discovery aspect allows users to search for their next trip, DIY, local food, recipes; get beauty, fashion, sexual wellness, men’s grooming, and fitness tips; and peruse through the latest movie reviews in a visual format. It also allows product discovery (more on that later).
The app, available on Android and iOS, has crossed one million downloads on Google’s Play Store and has a rating of 4.6 stars. The company claims that Trell app has been downloaded more than three million times so far. It says its content creators have generated 1.6 million original content pieces around lifestyle to date, and that 81 percent of the content has now got at least one comment on the platform.
We explored the app this week, and here’s what we think:
To start using the platform, you need to create an account with your phone number or social media account. After you add an account, the app sends you an email confirmation on your registered email id. The app does not let you proceed without verification. Once you verify your account, the next screen lets you select the language in which you would like to see videos. At present, Trell offers four languages: Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu.
The home page of the app features the most recent or trending posts under the ‘Featured’ section. The user can also opt to browse the feeds category-wise, or see posts from the accounts s/he follows under ‘Following’ tab. The content on the platform includes categories such as food blog, travel diary, trip journals, travel blogs, and offers catalogues of experiences, makeup tutorials, cooking classes, etc. The more accounts you follow, the more content turns over.
The app gives you a handle at the time of the sign-up, which users can change later if they want. You can choose to add details such as a profile picture, gender, about yourself, age group, and social media links such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc to your profile.
Your Trell profile shows followers and those you are following, number of posts, all post by you, and saved posts. The saved posts tab was locked for us; we could not find out how to unlock that.
For content creators
While users can choose to just browse, the app also allows you to turn vlogger.
Uploading content on the app is really easy. To be honest, we have never come across such an impressive user interface (UI) for posting text and voice on short-video platforms. You can upload a picture and video, edit (for length), and add a voice-over on the video or images.
You can add a mix of videos and photos in a single “trail” or post or slideshow of videos/images. A user needs to add location every time s/he puts up a new post.
The UI impressed us most while creating a blog. One can create a written blog with images, and even format it in the app.
A user can create quality content with good photographs and sublime writing. S/he can choose a unique title for the “trail” or post, and, finally, add tags while posting it. This content can be shared on other social media sites such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook in a single tap.
The ecommerce aspect
The app has a ‘shop’ feature that allows users to browse various videos for product buying. Under this tab, featured videos are about products. Vloggers can endorse brands, which gives the app an ecommerce angle.
For instance, a makeup tutorial video will have a small button at bottom left, saying ‘shop’. A viewer can tap that and buy the products used by the bloggers. Another example is a user’s comment on Play Store saying that he recently came across the Trell app when he wanted to buy therapeutic socks and did not know which one to trust and buy.
“Saw a video on the app with spa socks and it also had links to buy from the best store on Amazon. Very good app. I like it. Waiting for more review videos that will help me in buying things,” the user said in the review.
The user community
But there’s more to the app than vlogging and blogging. To maintain user engagement, the app has various activities that happen on a regular basis, such as live games, or rewards such as five-day trip, a speaker, or coupons for websites like Myntra, Swiggy, Ajio, Paytm Cash, OYO, Cleartrip, Mc Donalds, Foodpanda, Himalaya, Beardo and others. These are based on coins earned in the app through various activities such as inviting friends on the platform, sharing content on social media, playing game shows on the app, etc.
The app has a simple user interface, which makes it look clean even though it has many features and ample content. It is also easy to use.
However, Trell should add more editing tools such as frame adjustments, filters, etc. Also, the app is heavy at 44MB (for perspective, PubG is also a 44MB app).