Lots of companies spend large amounts of money and time trying to attract the lucrative but elusive young demographic. So when something organically emerges as a trend-setting app for young people, it can be a pretty special thing.
Take We Heart It, the photo-oriented social network seems to have hit a sweet spot. The service, which I’ve described before as reminiscent of Pinterest in functionality with a dash of Tumblr’s youthful appeal, now has 25 million monthly users, which represents a 25 percent boost from the number of monthly users it had just six months ago when it announced its $8 million Series A raise.
And many of those users are young. In an interview this week, CEO Ranah Edelin said that some 80 percent of We Heart It’s user base is under the age of 24, and more than 50 percent of the users are in their teens. We Heart It is fielding three billion page views a month now, and serving over 60 billion images on a monthly basis.
A big reason for this success, Edelin says, is that We Heart It has a fresh feel compared to many other social sites. “Teens want a place they can call their own, a place that isn’t already inhabited by Aunt Sue and Uncle Frank,” he said.
We Heart It also says that it’s a safe space in regards to the cyberbullying that often plagues apps used by teens. “Another one of the things we hear loud and clear from our users is that We Heart It is a positive and supportive community and service where people are free to express themselves without backlash and repercussions.”
Now, We Heart It wants to take advantage of this growth trajectory to make some moves toward revenue. Today the company announced that it has formed a new “partnership program” with youth-oriented publishing names including Conde Nast’s Lucky and Teen Vogue that will add a “heart this” button to certain content pages, along with other integrations. Right now, there is no monetary aspect to the partnerships, but Edelin says that down the road this kind of partnership could lead into money-making opportunities.
“The conversations that we’ve been happening with [potential partners and customers] is a lot of fun. I tell the story of the service and let them know who the users are and the numbers, and there’s a lot of itnerest in being a part of that,” Edelin says. He added, though, that We Heart It is going to take monetization slowly. “We have to be smart about which choices we make.”