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6th September 2016

Snapchat Producing Wearable AR Hardware

Lately the Snapchat strategy over in Venice, California appears to resemble that of a shopaholic with a black American Express Centurion Card – buy, buy, buy. The start-up has been very busy lately, with a flurry of specialist tech firm acquisitions (Bitmoji, Seene, Vurb) product innovations and updates.

However, these buy-outs to improve it’s core photo and video sharing offering are a drop in the ocean for the $16bn app start-up. Diversification and evolution are key to attract new audiences, this seems to be the key to Snapchat’s explosive rise to 150 million users, and now the company has given its strongest indication yet that it plans to expand its product range to including augmented reality (AR) hardware by joining the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This confirms a CNET report that Snapchat was developing wearable ‘smart glasses’ back in March off the back of a series of new hires from established wearable technology projects.

This follows hot on the heels of all the other Silicon Valley technology giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook investing time, resource and considerable budget into AR.

Of course, if you’re an avid Snapchatter like we are here at MR + MRS Digital, you’ll already know that the platform already supports the ability to merge virtual imagery on ‘real-world’ objects via their ever popular ‘lenses’ feature. These filters scan your facial features and overlay fun digital graphics such as fairies, dog features and recently branded sponsored lenses featuring X-Men and The Terminator.

Snapchat Lenses MR + MRS DIGITAL

With Snapchat’s continued ownership of live event storytelling, media partnerships and video consumption in excess of 10 billion views per day suggest that the often misunderstood platform can claim its place among the big players in the tech world. Its growth is startling, eclipsing Twitter’s daily usage and poses a serious threat to Facebook’s dominance for smartphone attention time and the default app for sharing photos with friends. This ‘threat’ was clearly apparent when Facebook owned Instagram launched Instagram Stories last month. A brazen clone of Snapchat Stories which launched in October 2013. As the two hottest photo-sharing apps on the planet compete for market share we, as marketers and digital consultants need to adapt and include these dynamic storytelling platforms into our client’s strategies and social media channel mix.

In regard to Snapchat, social media management agencies need to be agile when it comes to Snapchat channel management – as the innovations and new features on the platform are coming thick and fast. Often we’re finding that traditional marketing agencies just can’t keep up with the pace and, for fear of looking stupid, leave Snapchat marketing tactics off the table when presenting digital solutions to a client. This, in our opinion, is a huge opportunity missed to reach a super active audience that can be communicating with your business in a meaningful way.