Dubsmash quickly became an overnight success when it debuted in late 2014.
The app let users create videos of themselves lip syncing to popular songs or movie lines. But unlike Instagram or Vine, these videos, called “dubs,” weren’t shared directly onto Dubsmash. They were meant to go viral on other platforms.
But, 100 million users and countless celebrity dubs later, Dubsmash is changing its tune.
Last month, the app was completely revamped to become a full-fledged messaging service. Dubsmash now lets users send private messages and videos to individuals and groups. Dubsmash also added Profile Dubs, which let users highlight their favourite dub and connect with friends, in addition to some new features that help users easily find videos and audio.
As Dubsmash’s president Suchit Dash told Tech Insider, it’s all part of a plan to transform Dubsmash into the premiere video messaging platform.
“A lot of people associated Dubsmash with karaoke and lip-syncing,” Dash said. “We think people, more and more, are going to communicate through video. And we want to be the primary way people do that.”
Celebrities have been central to Dubsmash’s success. A number of famous faces posted dubs made by the app to their Instagram feeds. Jimmy Fallon, to the surprise of Dubsmash, asked Selena Gomez to make a dub during an appearance on “The Tonight Show.” (He’s since repeated the segment with Kate Hudson and Penelope Cruz.) And Rihanna teamed up with Dubsmash to debut her 2015 single “Bitch Better Have My Money” exclusively on the app.
But Dubsmash observed something interesting: Most of its users were actually sharing their dubs privately among friends, rather than on public forums.
“They were people using dubs almost as a replacement of an emoji,” Dash said. “So, Dubsmash 2.0 is really about giving people space for them to connect with their friends.”
Since Dubsmash 2.0 launched on May 17, the app has seen 500,000 friend connections made each day and two dubs sent inside the application per second, according to data provided by Dash.
But of course, if Dubsmash wants to be the primary video messaging service, it will have to dethrone Snapchat. And that won’t be an easy feat. In January, Snapchat confirmed to the Financial Times that the app has 6 billion video views per day on its platform.
When Tech Insider asked about the inevitable comparisons to Snapchat, Dash said he considers the permanency of the dubs created on the app as a significant advantage.
“What’s amazing is the number of people that come back to see their dubs, almost like a work of art that they once created. It’s a very lasting format,” Dash said. “And we find users want that level of history.”
Dash says that Dubsmash is continuing to test new features, including tools focused on facial recognition, some of which users can expect this summer. Dubsmash will also be looking to form more partnerships with media and entertainment companies so they can promote their content with dubs on the app, similar to Snapchat’s Discover platform.
But expect video messaging to remain Dubsmash’s main focus.
“We want users to continuously come to the application and continuously create,” Dash said. “And messaging is the best way to make sure that there’s constant creation happening.”