New York-based Animoto offers a way to create a more advanced version of the sorts slideshow widgets you see on MySpace, made by companies like RockYou and Slide.
Animoto launched last year with a stand-alone site where users could create 30-second videos by uploading photo albums, choosing a song, and letting the company turn it into a sequence of flashing lights, your pictures, and the song you choose.
More recently, Animoto launched a Facebook application, which caught our attention because it made smart use of the photo collections that users have already created for themselves (Facebook is the largest photo-sharing site in the world, remember). This application had a big growth spurt earlier this year, around the time Animoto won the Web Award in the Film/TV category at this year’s South By Southwest conference.
A look at Adonomics shows that the application has since seen its number decline. I asked chief executive Brad Jefferson about this, and he gives some good insight into the nature of building a Facebook application:
For a while we became so focused on viral growth for our FB app that I think we lost sight of the user experience. We were successful in drawing lots of installs through our viral tuning – in fact, we went from 25K installs to over 700K during the week of April 14th – but we weren’t creating raving fans on FB like we have on Animoto.com. We’ve since changed tactics with a renewed focus on the user experience within FB. This change has affected our installs and actives in the short term but we believe it will payoff in the long term. In fact, it looks like we’re starting to see this in the chart you sent in that our daily actives bottomed out on 5/10 and have since started to inch up again.
The company, which is comprised of traditional media producers and technologists, also has a revenue model. It has had more than 160,000 registered users total, with more than 7.5 percent of them paying for a premium service where you can create longer videos and download them in the MP4 file format for further editing.
The company has also introduced a music video production tool designed for YouTube users, and a program for musicians to promote themselves on Animoto. It has also begun launching its application on other social networks.
Here’s a video of Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, talking about Animoto’s usage of Amazon’s developer services.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.