Snapchat Spectacles are here. The big question now is: how do they work? And perhaps more importantly, what do they mean for marketers?
Spectacles are Snapchat’s first product that’s separate to it’s main offering. No surprise, then, that company has also announced a name change to to Snap Inc. This little bit of paperwork will to allow the company to offer a wider range of products and hints at some serious ambition (remember Google’s move to Alphabet).
What are Snapchat Spectacles?
In short, they are $130 glasses, known simply as Spectacles. The eye-wear is loaded with a tiny circular camera mounted on the lens (see video, above), so that the wearer can take first-person video footage and upload instantly to the social media site, so your friends can watch – in real time – whatever it is you’re doing. Think Google Glass spliced with GoPro.
What’s the USP?
So what will the benefit be to Snapchat’s 150 million daily users? Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel sees the real value being in Spectacles’ hands-free capability. Without the incumbency of grappling with a phone, Snapchat users can record and share footage precisely as their eyes see it, interacting with environments and people in ways prohibited by holding up a device.
Will they work?
Of course, Facebook has invested in Oculus VR – the virtual reality headset coming to their platform very soon – but skepticism abounds over the integration of Oculus, whereas Snap’s hardware is fully integrated with their existing social network. As a direct extension of their current business model, the glasses serve to enhance the experience rather than add unnecessary distractions. At least that’s the plan.
Snapchat also has another big advantage, in that 37% of its US user base falls into the 18-24 category. After that its biggest age range is 25-34, beyond which users drop off dramatically. That’s a youth cache Facebook doesn’t have, with a much broader range of age demographics. SnapChat is tapping in to a generation that is willing to try new technologies and take up new products.
Put another way, if Alphabet had been able to tap into half a billion youngsters, Google Glass might still be with us.
What does this mean for marketers?
The demo video (above) is understandably focused on teen pursuits – skating and hanging out, but for marketers to these audience, Snapchat spectacles open up a new dimension in instant broadcasting. Companies can now broadcast product launches, live events, interviews, behind the scenes footage etc. directly to their core demographic. Snapchat’s young users are on the app for, on average, 30 minutes every day.
Expect to see some creative uses of Snapchat Spectacles from the likes of Nike, Coke and Zappos in the coming months. Let’s see how they do. The success of digitally pioneering teen brands may well dictate whether Snapchat Spectacles are a trend to follow, or a fad to forget.