We Heart It, an image bookmarking service popular with teenaged girls, is out now with its second mobile application called Easel. The new app is designed to complement We Heart It’s main app, as it serves as a way to quickly create images using quotes that can be shared on We Heart It’s service or elsewhere on social media, including Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.
The expansion into mobile creation tools is something that makes sense for the company to try, given that the majority of its user base today is on mobile. The company had previously said that around 80 percent to 90 percent of its users largely accessed the photo-sharing site from the mobile application. And that user base is very young – the average age is 18, and the overall age range is from 15 to 24, We Heart It also previously shared.
Though that limits its reach to some extent, the app itself is moderately popular in its space – it has, over the past year, hopped in and out of the top 50 Social Networking apps on the App Store, and is generally ranked in the 40’s through 60’s in this category. The service has also grown from 30 million users reported this March to now 40 million members as of today. These users have favorited (aka “hearted”) over 10 billion images to date, and the network itself serves over 60 billion images and videos per month.
The idea with the launch of Easel, meanwhile, is to encourage a bit more active participation from this user community, in terms of content creation. That’s a shift from how many use the service today – looking for photos and videos they like, and want to save and share, or uploading content of their own.
With Easel, users can quickly create custom images using their own personalized captions or favorite quotes, or they can choose from one already included with the app. They can also pick an image from their Camera Roll or from thousands offered in Easel.
Using the app is straightforward: you pick a photo, the font and style you want, and enter your quote. When the image has been created, you can then post it to We Heart It or other social networks, as well as text and email. There’s also no sign-up required to use the app which makes it quick to get started.
However, despite being able to tap into its community to help market the app, it may be difficult for Easel to gain traction. After all, there are already a number of popular image editors on the App Store today that let you do similar things, and We Heart It’s app doesn’t offer some standout or unique feature beyond integration with its own social community.
Plus, launching secondary applications as a way to extend the reach of a social network is a trend that’s now dying down: as TechCrunch previously reported, a number of top social services, including Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and others have tried and failed at breaking out their product into separate, standalone apps. Many of these “extra” apps have now been shut down, including Dropbox’s Carousel, Facebook’s Slingshot and Rooms, Twitter’s Music app, and more.
And if these much larger companies were unable to find traction for their own standalone services, We Heart It could be quite challenged to do the same. That being said, We Heart It pushed the integration of Easel into its main app, making it the primary upload option. Thanks to this direct tie-in, Easel, which launched on Friday, has nearly 50,000 downloads as of this morning.
The app is a free download on iTunes.