TBH (To be honest, in teen speak), was acquired by Facebook earlier this week for an undisclosed sum known to be less than $100 million. Tbh, many people over the age of eighteen, probably haven’t heard of it. The app is an anonymous messaging platform that focuses on polls as its primary way of communication. Previous anonymous apps such as Yik Yak and Secret have come under fire for evolving into places where cyberbullying ran prevalent.
TBH’s difference is that its focus is entirely on positivity. Users sync their contact lists and are then asked poll questions such as “best to bring to a party” “most likely to be a millionaire” and so on. Those who’s names are chosen, will then receive results of the poll. The little dose of dopamine that is released shortly after is similar to the feeling users receive when acquiring likes on their photos. However, there’s less of a chance of feeling left out, unwanted or harassed.
Over the past few months, TBH has grown to over 2.5 million daily active users, which definitely spiked Facebooks attention. So what happens next? The app will live on as its own brand and platform while TBH’s 4 co-founders take official roles on the Facebook team. They’ll be able to use all of Facebooks resources to scale the app across the world, create new content and features, and insure user confidentiality & safety.
Facebook could have created their own version of TBH and tried to compete, but they decided to go the acquisition route for a number of reasons. The app has strong branding and an already well known name among the Gen-Z demographic. Additionally, they may have purchased them in an effort to block Snap, where this functionality would have snugly fit into their platform. Either way, it seems that Facebook has identified that the future of social messaging should revolve around positivity and love, and they’re putting their dollars behind it.
The quick rise in popularity of TBH should be something that brand marketers can learn from. Engaging users in a positive experience is a feeling that quickly resonates, and could do wonders for brands that embody those values. Depending on what Facebook decides is the best route to take with the app, they may be open to sponsored poll questions or in-app ads. If teens decide that TBH is still engaging enough to keep coming back day after day, those may become very valuable spots to reach that audience.