Interactive Celebrity-Fan Engagement platformLet's Talk
The years 2016-18 saw the rise of social media and image sharing platforms. Influencers started to earn celebrity status and several brands started ‘influencer marketing’ as a strategy for engaging users. This period also witnessed real-time celebrities, and even regional and television stars turning to social media not just as a platform for staying in the limelight and engaging with their fans, but also a lucrative revenue earning platform through paid partnerships and sponsored ads with brands.
But what about fans? While content consumption was on the rise, fans got little scope for interacting with stars. A 2-way interactive platform was missing and that’s how the idea for Stargaze germinated. When the Founders of Stargaze met the Day One team, the initial plan was to collaborate for mobile app development services. But the vision was vast and required the best minds in technology and marketing to brainstorm.
We were on-boarded as their business partner and today have built a best-in-class application that’s soon to be launched for the diverse Indian market.
Hurdles on the way
Even before we started with the wireframes and tech stack identification for the app, we knew it was not going to be an easy task - the fact that the platform required iOS and Android application development seemed like the simplest and most familiar task!
Product development is never easy, especially when it involves different platforms, device compatibility, testing and QA constraints among others. In a nutshell, here are some of the core challenges.
Separate apps required to be built for Celebrities and Users - each with its own unique features and functionalities.
Added to this, each app required Admin access to monitor, manage and access content. Even payments had to be managed separately.
The platform required several third party API integrations. Eg. Payment gateways for users to take subscriptions/buy Event tickets, and Celebrities to earn from events, ads, brand endorsements etc.
The Platform also required integration with third party video tools for broadcast.
Security and IP
Digital content security and safeguarding celebrity trolling. Stargaze’s USP is its content security, that prevents it from any misuse. This required several layers of security programming and authentication. Celebrities can even report misconduct.
Getting it right
The scope of the project presented us with an immense challenge. From a design and development point, it required multiple rounds of wireframes and mockup, testing for devices, managing costs and many more. With the addition of AI services and solutions we were able to automate several functionalities, whereas our UI/UX team conceptualized a human centric design to engage users. We also added enhanced features such as - phone number based registration, free and paid user base, reward and loyalty points for post interactions, referral points, etc. This ensured that we keep users happy and involved on the platform.
User Celebrity App
We decided to take product development in three phases. Phase 1 would be the MVP. This would include the key features to release the app. It would also provide the much required feedback from first hand users and celebrities (Phase 1 would include 70+ celebrities). Phase 2 would include fixing the issues from Phase 1 and adding new features (Ad revenue for instance). Phase 3 would include activating the marketplace concept for merchandise sale.
This was the major challenge. The video interactions with celebrities would have to be two-way. This required integration with a strong video streaming tool. Considering the present scope of the project, our strategy was to go with third party and not build a custom tool. While this did pinch the pockets, it also saved time and helped us identify the the limitations of off-the-shelf tools, while enlisting the key features we would require for a custom video platform (eg. not compressing files to maintain video and audio quality).
Celebrities are no stranger to memes and trolling. To safeguard that, our strategy was to include several levels of manual and automated security filters. For instance, users would require to verify profiles during registration; Event winners would also receive manual verification calls. Moreover, all videos would be available on cloud for 30 days and disappear after that.
Core Feature and Functionalities
The user application is free to download and register. Users can be a free member or take a subscription plan for added benefits. They can follow multiple celebrities at a time and get all updates from them. They can even earn points by liking and commenting, on posts, or even inviting friends to Stargaze platform. Users can buy tickets/passes and participate in all Events hosted by celebrities and lucky winners get a chance to interact with them.
- User Registration and Payment integration
- Access to Events, join and bid to Events
- Event winners can connect with celebrity through Live video call
- Option to follow Celebrities
- All celebrities posts can be viewed in Feeds section
- Leaderboard – To see all time/Today/Month leader
The celebrity application is for all celebrities to host Events, connect with fans, and receive payments for Events, Ads, endorsements etc. Celebrity onboarding is carried out through manual and automated means to ensure credibility. Celebrities can host Theme based Events at their convenient time and date (at least 1-3 per month) and connect Live with the Event winners. They can also post content on the general Feeds page for user engagement. Additional activities such as reporting content misuser, profile misconduct, payment queries can also be carried out.
- Option to create events
- Option to create feeds
- Stargaze earnings – all earning details will available
- Connect via a video call with winners
The platform also has a Admin panel to manage and oversee the User and Celebrity apps.
- Users and Celebrities management
- Event management
- Finance management
- Plans – Subscriptions/Tickets/Passes
- Reports management