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.

4 thoughts on “Can Marco Polo help people feel happier? Our new research suggests yes.

  1. Its really sad that Marco polo had to straight away start charging so much. And during a pandemic when so many people are trying to do discounts and waivers. I honestly think this is a very bad business decision. You might get 20% client’s to pay for the subscription. But it will hinder the popularity and growth of subscribers. $9.99 a year would be more acceptable to many. And that would be ok in America and Europe. I can’t imagine this app getting popular in the 3rd world. Allowing adds would have been a better option to keep it free or low cost. Of course selling the data is out of question. Anyway its the decision of the management at the end of the day. It felt like pure greed to do this during a pandemic as soon as they saw subscription jumping !!! Time will tell if it’s really going to be around for long or this is the decision that the founders and management will forever regret.

    1. Hi, Denzyl – We appreciate your feedback on the Plus rollout and membership pricing. These decisions have not been made lightly. In fact, we’ve been working on Plus for more than a year – testing, iterating, debating our free offerings, and determining the tradeoff between how to serve our most frequent users, be a sustainable business, and provide a great free offering. And that is one thing we want to make sure our user community understands: Marco Polo is and remains a free app, with the option to upgrade to our premium Plus membership. Thanks again.

  2. Marco Polo is a truly amazing app that has been invaluable to me, to my family and friends, during this unprecedented time. I am so grateful for their free service and have made good use of their Pro features!! Thank you for such a great and important tool for connecting with our loved ones!!

    1. Hi Jason – Thank you so much for this affirming feedback! We’re so glad to hear that Marco Polo and Marco Polo Plus are helping to keep you all connected <3

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