Can Marco Polo help people feel happier? Our new research suggests yes.

When you’re physically separated from the people who matter most to you, can the technology you use to communicate make you feel closer – and even help you feel happier? Marco Polo’s Co-founder and CEO, Vlada Bortnik, thought that it could. 

“Human connection is critical, particularly as physical distance becomes an increasing reality,” Vlada said. 

The study: Swap texts for Polos, then track what happens

In February 2020, Marco Polo commissioned an independent investigation by Triquetric Research that asked 15 pairs of people, primarily spouses, to swap all of their text communication for Marco Polo video messages (aka “Polos”) for two weeks. 

Throughout the research period, all 30 participants used Marco Polo in place of texting with their chosen communication partners, completing a survey at the end of each day to record their thoughts on the app. 

Each participant also used the mood-tracking app Daylio to record their mood every time they received a new Polo.

The findings: Participants felt closer – and happier

  • After just 14 days of use, 74% of participants reported that using Marco Polo had improved their mood.
  • Between Day 1 and Day 14, participants reported that the app made them feel significantly closer to their communication partners, with levels of closeness increasing from 7.4% to 22.2%.
  • Participants noted that the video component of Marco Polo was one of the key drivers of feelings of closeness to their partners.
  • During the research period, Marco Polo’s Net Promoter Scores (NPS) increased from -6 to 59. (NPS encompasses the question, “How likely would you be to recommend Marco Polo to a friend or family member?”) Even using the Day 2 score of 19 as a baseline, NPS increased threefold in 14 days. 
  • By Day 6, 27% of users said they would definitely continue using Marco Polo after the research period was complete. By Day 14, that number had grown to 52%.
  • After using the app for the 14-day research period, participants named Marco Polo as their favorite video-based communication app, followed by Apple’s FaceTime.

“The study confirmed what we’ve known all along,” Vlada said. “Marco Polo’s proven ability to help us all stay connected, no matter the distance, has a real impact on our well-being.”

Find the complete research report here.

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