Trell, the video platform for users to share their experiences, recommendations, and reviews across various categories including health and fitness, beauty and skincare, travel, movie reviews, cooking, home-décor, and much more has taken the internet by storm. The lifestyle vlogging platform allows users to create 3-5-minute videos in their native languages along with a ‘shop’ feature that lets them purchase the products featured in the vlogs.
Medianews4u spoke to Pulkit Agarwal, Co-Founder Trell, about their journey, life after the Tik-Tok ban, and a lot more.
Tell us about Trell? How and when did you start? What was the need gap you saw when you started?
Trell was launched in August 2017 by ArunLodhi, BimalKartheekRebba, PrashantSachan, and myself (Pulkit Agarwal) after realizing that there was a dearth of meaningful content and discovery of relevant content is challenged in the age of click-bait content.
While social media has given voice to many, a number of Indians that may not hail from affluent backgrounds feel uncomfortable in accessing the same, owing to language barriers and lack of technical know-how.
Trell enables users to create visual blogs around lifestyle experiences by stitching the photos and videos from their galleries and smartphone camera, adding the voice notes in the language they speak to narrate their experience, which can be further shared on other social media platforms as a classic auto-generated video. Content consumers, on the other end of the spectrum, get an opportunity to engage with meaningful content in their language that is visual, personalized for their liking, and from a trustable and like-minded source, a peer.
What’s different about Trell that other various short video making applications don’t have?
Trell is a storytelling platform where people share their experiences, reviews, likes, and dislikes in the form of 3-minute videos across various lifestyle categories. Other short-video apps engage their users with 15-second video clips of lip-syncing, dance, comedy, acting, and the like.
The diverse and real experiences of our content creators (KOLs) helps our users make informed and suitable purchase decisions to enhance their lifestyle-choices. As we are on a journey of educating, informing, raising awareness while creating a community of like-minded individuals, we have received a lot of user-love in terms of engagement and product stability which is visible in our stellar PlayStore rating, currently at 4.6.
What is your vision and mission for Trell?
At Trell, our vision is to empower people to have better Life by bridging the information gap between the experts and seekers. We are building a community of like-minded people who share similar interests and passions.
In order to do this in the best way possible, we are building a state-of-the-art platform that can help address these needs of our consumers with the help of Machine-learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence that can help us cater to the needs of our consumers by giving them personalized content, which helps them skillfully navigate and explore the content available on Trell.
We are also in the process of adding more languages to the app so that we can reach out to the majority of India’s population who want to create and consume content in their native languages.
Other than some of these measures, we constantly innovate and are currently in the process of introducing features such as “Reaction Tool” and “Talk-Show hosting” so that users can engage more effectively and entertainingly with Trell.
How was life before and after TikTok? – What has changed?
The unexpected Chinese app ban did create a massive change in our growth trajectory. While Trell was growing rapidly at 25% every month even before the ban in June, we have seen an overwhelming response from our users since the app ban.
With more people embracing our localized and culturally-relevant content, we have experienced unprecedented growth with over 80 million downloads, an increase in user screen-time by 800%, and the growth of our creator community to over 18 million. Recently, we surpassed the number of active users on both Pinterest and Twitter in India and were viewed more than 5 billion times in the last two months.
What was the advertiser’s response to Trell after the ban of TikTok?
Trell serves as a content marketing platform for brands and advertisers by giving them the space to reach out to a large consumer base through our content creators on the platform who understand their audience very well. Over 60% of our user base is from beyond the metro cities and through the content of our creators, we are able to generate brand awareness in the users who are aspirational and rely on a trusted source, a peer speaking to them, educating them in their own language to help them make well informed and suitable purchase decisions. This is a step ahead from the traditional inventory-based advertising space and works as an added advantage for brands that have been using this opportunity as a holistic content and community marketing solution. In India, word of mouth and community-driven advertising has played a huge factor in the success of many brands. Brands have realized the similar potential on our platform and have been extremely happy with the results they are seeing. Even post the ban, the response has been great. This is also plugged into the platform so seamlessly that it does not hamper the user’s experience and at the same time gives the brand the visibility it requires.
How are you working on your brand solutions strategy as there are so many short video apps now that marketers and brands too might be confused?
Trell is a lifestyle-community-commerce platform where users create 3 to 5-minute visual blogs on lifestyle-related topics that are of interest to them through storytelling and sharing their experiences. Other short-video apps have videos that are 15 seconds long where creators lip-sync, dance, sing, and the like. Due to this difference, the content on Trell is consumed for what it offers in terms of knowledge and awareness rather than entertainment. The number of times users spend on Trell is also much higher than the time spent on other platforms.
Our creators are brand evangelists who through their knowledge and experience help users make informed lifestyle-related decisions.
How do you plan to stay ahead of the curve?
Constantly innovating and doing the unexpected by dabbling in what’s new and different. For this, we plan to master short-term goals that need to be cemented before fulfilling our long-term goals which will help us continue our journey in a smoother and more successful manner. As speed is a strength in the digital world, we constantly think on our feet and are continuously building a team that can be creative, innovative, and quick to execute ideas. But for all of this to fall into place, we plan to continue listening to our consumers and working with their needs and wants so that Trell can serve them better.
Tell us about your regional content strategy?
Currently, we are present in over 75% of India and have 8 Indian languages on the platform. We are soon expanding to add many more languages and reach out to a larger segment of Indian consumers. We will continue to prioritize our focus on building and connecting the community across regions in India. Through our close-knit KOL community,
How are you innovating on the revenue and business model of Trell?
As a business, Trell is the only Indian Lifestyle Community Commerce platform where KOL’s (key-opinion-leaders) share their lifestyle product recommendations based on their personal experiences. These KOL’s are connected with suitable brands that have unique offerings that will benefit our audiences and also help them make suitable lifestyle choices.
These products are then identified and auto-tagged through our algorithms and are available on ‘Trell Shop’ for users to purchase. Trell makes revenue on every purchase made on the platform and also shares a part of the revenue generated with the KOL’s for their long term sustenance and monetization.
What are the immediate challenges that you face?
The content on the internet has been westernized for a very long time and we need to prioritize the supply of native language and relevant contextual content that more people can relate to. However, doing this is not easy due to factors such as slow internet speeds in diverse regions of the country. While consumers of the internet in India continue to go up by the day, slow internet speeds and patchy network services hamper the overall user experience. Along with this, the cost of technology is not low when one is attempting to build a state of the art products.
Trell is creating a community that is inclusive of culture and diversity in the country which in itself is a massive task. While there are some of these initial challenges, Trell’s vision continues to dominate our quest for success.