In trying to make sense of how influencer marketing will evolve over the next year, one of the most intriguing insights could be found in considering the new, highly elusive items that people across the U.S. are dying to get their hands on this holiday season: Snapchat Spectacles.
Since early November, marketers have watched in awe as Snap Inc. executed on one of the most engaging tech product launches since Apple introduced the iPad. Every day, thousands of people visit Snapchat’s site to see where the next Snapbot vending machine might appear, filled with hundreds of the most user-friendly and stylish pieces of hardware for taking first-person videos.
In a year from now, we’ll look back on the fall of 2016 as the time when Snap Inc. first offered us a glimpse into just how impactful Spectacles would be for brands’ influencer marketing efforts. This product will fundamentally change how influencers of all sizes–from celebrities with millions of followers to customers with small but active networks–create content and engage audiences.
As Spectacles become more widely available in 2017, here are five ways that I predict they will shape influencer marketing:
Significant increase in first-person POV unboxing and demo videos
While consumer product unboxing and demo videos have been extremely popular for well over a decade now, the makers of these videos are often choosing between a series of less-than-ideal options for videography.
Using a webcam often results in a low-quality image; holding a phone camera while simultaneously trying to do an unboxing or demo can feel awkward; and hiring someone to shoot the video requires additional budget.
Spectacles will present an affordable and engaging alternative for creators of consumer product unboxing and demo videos.
In terms of how influencers will distribute these videos, we’ll still see some export the video to YouTube in order to preserve the content. However, as Snapchat adoption continues to grow, influencers will increasingly post their unboxing videos exclusively on Snapchat. After all, the exclusivity of a limited-time, “first-look” unboxing or demo video on a 24-hour Snapchat Story could drive more views and engagement.
Brands will get even more mileage out of their influencers, big and small
There’s little doubt that GoPro is currently the dominant player when it comes to first-person shoots of extreme sports. I expect that we’ll see Spectacles ultimately gain similar traction amongst brand influencers at both ends of the popularity spectrum, from celebrities with millions of followers to everyday customers or “micro-influencers” with small but highly engaged networks of friends and family.
Just imagine tennis fans flocking to Snapchat if they had the chance to see Roger Federer serve a tennis ball with his Wilson racquet, much like Boston sports fans would probably love a first-person look at David Ortiz walking into a Dunkin’ Donuts, one of his biggest sponsors, to surprise the workers.
For micro-influencers, brands will encourage their influential customers to share their experiences through Spectacles. Activating micro-influencers through social media contests or branded Snap Filters presents a significant marketing opportunity.
Marketers will get better at guiding what type of content is made with Spectacles
While many products lend themselves nicely to Spectacles’ first-person perspective, not all do. I imagine that some brands will learn about the latter through trial and error.
One example of a potential first person pitfall could be food reviews. Imagine a fast-food chain running a Snapchat campaign where they reach out to their most loyal customers and encourage them to share their dining experiences through Spectacles. While some of the videos might look good, we may also see unappealing first-person shots of people eating burgers or pizza.
Over the course of the year, we’ll see marketers improve in their ability to guide what types of content consumer make with Spectacles. Going back to the food example, a marketer might decide to run a Spectacles filter campaign, asking people to take a first-person Snap of their friends or family in one of their restaurants using the filter.
Campaigns featuring filters will gives brands much more control over the sounds, images and overall quality of the resulting content.
Brands will see an uptick in positive PR, earned media through Spectacles influencer content
From The New York Times to TechCrunch, the initial reviews for Spectacles have been overwhelmingly positive. One of the common review themes has been how Spectacles’ videos engage the user at an emotional level in a way that other video formats simply cannot.
This appeal of Spectacles video won’t just help influencers more effectively connect with their audience, but also result in members of the media more frequently incorporating popular Spectacles videos into their news stories.
Some brands will anticipate this opportunity, and may even put in place campaigns to encourage influencers to share Spectacles videos with relevant reporters and bloggers. In time, seeing these videos on TV news segments, primetime shows or online articles will be as prevalent as noticing YouTube clips, tweets or Facebook posts.
Brands will quickly realize Spectacles value and move to generate content
Every brand these days has the ability to become a media company, yet we’ve also seen many struggle in the content marketing area, particularly with video. In 2017, we’ll see many brands–even the ones that have had less success with video in the past–quickly move to take advantage of the marketing opportunities that Spectacles offer.
Whether brands arm employees with Spectacles to offer their followers a “behind-the-scenes” look at the company or encourage customers to generate Spectacles content, Snap Inc.’s newest piece of hardware makes the viewer feel like they’re part of the action in a way that no other medium can achieve.
If you’re a consumer marketer, I’d highly encourage you to do what you can to get your hands on a pair of Spectacles sooner rather than later. They may have more of an effect on your business in the coming year than any of us can even imagine.
Liz Gottbrecht is director of marketing at influencer marketing company Mavrck.