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Catherine BoylePrincipal AnalysteMarketer
The Snapchat Spectacle vending bot finally made its way to New York in December, and the eMarketer team got its hands on a pair of Spectacles. eMarketer principal analyst Catherine Boyle spent a week using them, then discussed the marketing potential of the new technology with Maria Minsker.
eMarketer: Now that you’ve experimented with Spectacles, what’s your impression of how the technology works?
Cathy Boyle: The product worked well. My first reaction was that the glasses were lighter than I expected. I expected there to be more technology in the glasses, and that they would feel heavy. I was also impressed by the battery life, and that the charging apparatus was built into the case.
I wasn’t sure how much audio the glasses could pick up, but it was surprisingly a lot. The glitch for me was not knowing when something was recording—there’s no signal when the glasses stop recording and that threw me off a little bit.
eMarketer: How does the device interact with the Snapchat app?
Boyle: It was problematic when I used them in an environment where I wasn’t connected to Wi-Fi, because I was worried that I would lose everything since it wasn’t automatically syncing to my app. When I reconnected to Wi-Fi and was able to upload everything, it was pretty seamless.
eMarketer: Do you see potential behind this technology from a marketing or advertising standpoint?
Boyle: For advertisers, the real opportunity is content generation. Let’s assume for a minute that adoption is very wide. Suddenly the amount of user-generated content on Snapchat could grow exponentially because of the ease of Snapping with Spectacles.
From an advertiser’s standpoint, the more content there is and the more users are engaged with the app, the more places they can serve their ads.
For marketers, the challenge will be using the technology creatively to tell a brand’s story. Brands that have a spokesperson, for example, could leverage Spectacles in a way that provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an event. It would be a unique approach to content marketing because the technology delivers a very different perspective during filming.
eMarketer: Marriott partnered with Samsung Gear VR to loan out virtual reality headsets to hotel guests so they could film their vacations and generate content for the brand. Could Spectacles play a similar role for brands?
Boyle: I can definitely see that happening. It could work for travel brands, or at live events. The value is in people seeing what someone is experiencing that they aren’t. I can also see celebrity influencers using them—Snapchat already gives users glimpses into their lives, but if celebrities use Spectacles, then everything is from their point of view.
eMarketer: How do Spectacles stack up against other wearables, such as Google Glass?
Boyle: Spectacles are much more targeted at the average consumer, whereas Google Glass was seen as a real high-tech piece of technology. Spectacles are fashion first and technology second.
A lot of other popular wearables are fitness wristbands and activity trackers—they’re heavy on data collection. That’s valuable to brands, but there’s no real interface. There’s no real interface on Spectacles either, but they generate content, which is important.
If a brand can figure out how to become part of that story, that’ll be more powerful than what they can do with a fitness tracker.
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