I was fortunate enough to get my hands on Snapchat Spectacles last week. As they are mainly in the US, they're pretty exclusive in the U.K., so I was quite pleased when I finally got a pair - it helps to have friends in important places.
Below I share my thoughts on a few things: the feel of the glasses, whether they'll take off and most importantly, their appeal to brands.
Snapchat Spectacles are the first hardware product introduced by Snapchat, in a move to be seen as more than a social network. In fact, along with the introduction of Spectacles came a change of name, from Snapchat to Snap, signalling an intent to be more of a media company. The glasses themselves are mounted with a tiny circular camera on the lens so the wearer can take First Person Video and upload directly to Snapchat. It's like if Google Glass and Go Pro had a really good looking baby. The whole value ad for Snapchat is in being able to help people record and capture moments hands-free and therefore, without the fuss. The feel of the glasses are awesome: whereas Google Glasses were more cumbersome and a little nerdy, Snapchat Spectacles look cool and are an item which you can actually see a 15 year old using.
Will it catch on?
There are many people who think this is some sort of fad or gimmick, which can be seen as evidence of Evan Spiegel’s knee jerk reaction. There are others who see this as a smart move for Snapchat, I'm fairly in the latter camp.
The sub 24-year-old audience of Snapchat is their largest, covering over 37% of their total audience. This audience is the most adept to trying out new things and playing with new gadgets. The audience of Snapchat, (hip cool kids) are very different to the adopters of Google Glasses who often tested products due to their tech capability.
Snapchat’s audiences rather, identify themselves with the brands that they wear and so, with the tight integration between Spectacles and Snapchat, it provides a way for their users to be further immersed into the Snapchat ecosystem. The price point of $130 lends itself to a product still within reach of the sub 24 audience, albeit still a somewhat luxury product.
The introduction of Spectacles is also strong defense against the raging copying machine that is Instagram, who's introduction of Instagram stories has led many to believe that Snapchat users are under attack. There is something to be said for what type of company this reaction suggests Snapchat is seen as: the move toward building out their own hardware was signalled as a way for them to be seen as a camera company, however the jury is out in whether the future of Snapchat is in becoming a media company or a social network - my bet is on the former.
What does it mean for brands?
Snapchat Spectacles are going to open a whole new world for brands for two specific reasons:
Imagine watching a fashion show through the eyes of an audience at London fashion week or having a first person look at the unveiling of the new Adidas shoes. That immersive experience, providing live broadcasting of moments, is one which other platforms are not able to compete on.
Brands trying to reach audiences via mobile video have often been quoted voicing the constraints of vertical video. Indeed, vertical video is said to be much more effective to consumers than horizontal video as it emulates a first person perspective. However, brands often struggle with the content creation as a result. Spectacles have the amazing ability of taking a video and making it fit the format of both horizontal and vertical video, in an experience seen as 360°-esque. This provides a massive opportunity for brands to be more flexible creating different perspectives on the same content and creating unique experiences.
The introduction of Snapchat Spectacles is a strong one and creates a wonderful opportunity for brands. In an era where Snapchat are being copied ruthlessly by Instagram and Facebook, this is a big step in diversifiying offerings to both brands and users.
It's also interesting to note how many brands are approaching the Snapchat Spectacles: Adweek did a pretty good look into this and it’s worth a read here.
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