Early trials of Google Glass are earning some serious hype.
Tech bloggers are almost panting with excitement. Ad agencies are “literally begging to get a pair.” Google got so many submissions for the Glass Explorer program, in which early adopters could pay $1,500 for the chance to test out a pair, that it ended the submission period last Friday, earlier than expected.
Obviously, marketers are paying close attention — both as an exercise in imagination and as an act of self-defence. After all, rapid social media adoption and mobile proliferation over the last decade has taught marketers that change comes fast. And now it’s coming faster and faster. You don’t want to get left behind.
At this point, Google is stressing that there will be no ads on Glass. “There are no plans for advertising on this device,” a Google rep told Mashable. “We’re more interested in making the hardware available.”
But that’s for Google Glass in its current state: a $1,500 futuristic experiment still trying to figure out how people want to use it. It’s not yet ready for ads, and selling a $1,500 device isn’t an ad-based business. But it’s not hard to imagine Google Glass going mainstream a few years for now, sporting a much more affordable price tag that’s made possible by ads.
Second Screen Apps
It’s easy to imagine the second screen opportunities for spectators with Google Glass — just think about sports fans. In five years, we could see every NFL coach wearing Google Glass, popping up a selection of plays with Glass, and letting Glass record and analyse each play as it happens. Bill Belichick would become the Terminator. Google Glass would become irrefutably cool. (The NFL, of course, would have to reform a lot of its archaic tech restrictions on head coaches, but there’s a good chance they will.)
Google Glass could also become the must-have accessory for fans in the stadium. As a football fan, there’s nothing more annoying than missing game action because you were checking your phone. It would also allow fans to share their vantage points with friends at home, watch replays, and access game stats. A lot of those features will appeal to fans watching the game at home, as well. Within all those features, there will be ample opportunity for ads.
Perhaps one day users will have the option of subsidizing their Google Glass by opting into additional advertising. If this sounds unlikely to you, remember that startups like HitBliss and Jingit are already successfully paying people to watch ads.
Actually seeing Tony the Tiger stumble into your kitchen might be a little startling, but Google won’t need to go that far. Why not just augment ads where they normally appear, such as on the sides of buildings, bus stops, and billboards?
These ads would be much more effective than regular billboard ads because the ads could be tailored to users based on their mobile web behaviour, just as we now tailor our online display ads. Imagine if you could show someone poster ads for nearby concerts based on their musical taste. It would be an extremely effective form of advertising, and could go a long way towards subsidizing the cost of Google Glass.
Coupons and Deals
The most obvious ad possibility for Google Glass is location-based coupons and deals that users opt-in to receive. Walking through Soho wearing Google Glass and trying to find a spot to eat? You might want to check out the cafe with that big 50% Off sign floating outside the door. Doing some shopping? Those augmented reality models showing off 30% sundresses outside H&M make for a pretty good sales pitch. Oh, and look at all the jeans that just popped up, in your size and in stock. Walking down Broadway in Soho with your Google Glass ad-activated could become the ultimate immersion in shopping temptation, as well as a great way to find what you’re looking for, fast.
If that sounds cool, just wait until the deals goes meta with Google Glass offering augmented reality deals for augmented reality experiences.
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