Snapchat takes digital narcissism to a new level

Snapchat has announced the rebrand of the company to Snap as well as a new product launch Spectacles that promise to facilitate social media exhibitionism like never before.

Jamie Davies

September 26, 2016

3 Min Read
Snapchat takes digital narcissism to a new level

Snapchat has announced the rebrand of the company to Snap as well as a new product launch Spectacles that promise to facilitate social media exhibitionism like never before.

The rebrand is relatively simple. The company was built around the Snapchat app which was its only product at the time, what else would you name it? Now the team have stories, memories, sponsored channels, filters and now spectacles. The move is an attempt to show Snap is more than Snapchat – makes sense.

The second announcement made was the launch of Google Glass 2.0 Spectacles. While there are similarities between Snapchat’s Spectacles and Google’s previous abortive attempt, there is one significant difference which gives these a better chance at cracking the market: Google charged $1500, Snapchat will be charging $130. Looking back, you really have to ask what planet the Googlers were on when the $1500 price tag was agreed.

The sunglasses will come in three different colours featuring a camera built into the upper corners of the frames. By tapping a button once, a ten second video will be captured by the glasses and stored locally until the user connects to a smartphone, over wifi for Android and Bluetooth for iOS. While it sounds similar to Google Glass, however the price point takes the product into a substantially larger market of younger and more tech savvy consumers.

The move does also demonstrate the messaging segment is hotting up. With Twitter reportedly on the verge of an acquisition, LinkedIn still reeling after being the subject of a $26 billion purchase and WhatsApp changing its T&C’s to reflect a more commercial proposition, the question remains as to where Snapchat fits into the space.

The fascination of adding bunny ears to a picture of yourself has not stimulated your correspondent’s interest to date, but that is not to say other twenty to thirty somethings have not be captured by the craze; the popularity of app for specific demographics is not under scrutiny. One question mark may be around the commercial viability of the platform.

The Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn would appear to be a move to build its presence as the Mega-vendor for the world of enterprise IT. WhatsApp is now sharing data with parent company Facebook to improve the effectiveness of its contextual advertising platform. There also seem to be pockets of potential for Twitter in the world of contextual advertising, but what about Snapchat?

Currently revenues are driven through sponsored filters and sponsored channels. The move out into the world of technology hardware will certainly add another element, but there will have to be considerable momentum for Snapchat to move into the same league as Facebook/WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The move will also put Snapchat into the same market as Go Pro and other action cameras who have spent years establishing themselves. Spectacles provides a direct link to the Snapchat app once hooked up to the users phone, which is an advantage, though 30 seconds is the longest video which can be taken before the user has to click the start button again, which could be seen by some as a disadvantage.

The long-term success of Snap will rely on two things. Firstly, the team will have to improve the commercial viability of the organization, and start making some serious cash. To compete in the potential lucrative messaging segment, innovation will be key and without pumping the R&D team with cash, innovation with be very unlikely.

Secondly, the user base will have to continue to use Snapchat. In your correspondents opinion, the offering will have to mature slightly (offering more than bunny ear additions) to keep users in the long-run. Snap will not be able to compete for advertisers in the messaging segment if it is losing users once they get into their 30’s – traditionally the demographic which is the sweet spot for many advertisers.

The move to rebrand the company to Snap implies there are going to be future product launches and diversification, and the sooner the better. The messaging segment is moving very quickly, and the Snap team will need to up the pace to keep up with the internet giants of social media.

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