Today’s Burning Question: Marketing Implications of Google Glass


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article, originally published on Feb. 25, 2013, placed at No. 17 in our 20 most popular articles of the year.

ADOTAS — Another day, another screen size!

On the heels of Google’s unveiling of new details about Google Glass, we asked our panel of movers & shakers: “How will online marketers capitalize on the impending availability of Google Glass?”

“My initial thoughts from a digital marketing perspective would be how to seamlessly weave in paid content that enhances the user experience and doesn’t distract from the technology. Just like we hear the classic use case in mobile marketing that at some point you can have local offers pushed to your device utilizing geolocation technology, but does anybody want to be bombarded with text offers on their phone as they walk down the street? Probably not. The same would be true with Google Glass, the last thing anybody wants is to walk around with a pair of expensive glasses that scream discounted offers at every glance. But instead what if Coke sponsored a game that you could play with your glasses where you earned Coke Rewards points as you wound your way around a virtual maze. And the points could be tied to your Google Wallet to redeem as you shopped at participating outlets online. The possibilities are really endless when you bridge the physical and virtual worlds.”— Danny Kourianos, Vice President of Product Development, Rakuten MediaForge.

“Google Glass represents the coming of the future of consumerism. When users ask for what they want, and it instantly appears before their eyes – literally – brands will have to work to optimize their content for greater feed penetration, so when a user asks for something, their content is the first thing that appears.  For example, if a consumer asks, ‘Where can I get a coffee,’ they may be presented with a map to the nearest Starbucks and a coupon.  Potentially, they could even pay for their coffee using NFC.” – Jason Beckerman, Chief Product Officer, UNIFIED.

“It’s not hard to imagine scenarios where Glass-enabled shoppers – who now have their hands free by the way – can look at products in store window displays, take a picture and be connected to a commerce experience. The scanning of product barcodes, look-up of nutritional information, price comparisons, directions to stores and more, all can be done simply with words. Layers of complexity instantly removed. Will it take time to get there? Yes. But Glass is a catalyst to an always-on world where information that aids our purchase decisions, is literally always at the tip of our tongue.” – Brett Leary, VP of Mobile from Digitas Boston.

Google Glass will have far reaching implications for online marketing.  It will be the next generation of online marketing with ads on Google Glass becoming a virtual reality in itself.  This will take time but as the concept develops so will the applications and ability to make marketing efforts come alive via Google Glass. – David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC.

“Google Glass: Half Full. Whether the Google Glass is a huge success or failure, it makes no difference, as Google is in the right direction and this is how new frontiers are always conquered. The impact of moving images on accessories, apparel and devices is the next biggest revolution. Marketers will have amazing options to hunt their customers with creative ideas and imagery. The biggest challenges will be to find them at the right time and right place, and most importantly the calling devices like name identities that will skate and connect with the right websites and portals. Well done, Google, keep it flowing. –   Naseem Javed, author, Image Supremacy.

“Geolocation is really a fundamental building block to the usefulness of Google Glass. Being able to access both relevant local information as well as be pushed timely and personally relevant offers or information from brands will be a basic expectation of consumers. However, we expect the offer side of this to take significant time to evolve – nothing could really be worse in that format than having spam offers flood your view. Enterprises will wait until the market share is large enough to warrant the work involved with ensuring they can deliver personally relevant offers at the right place and time.” – Michele Turner, Chief Product Officer for mBlox.

“Google Glass will open up an entirely new world of first-person video that will radically transform the art of filmmaking and video production, journalism, public relations, and advertising and marketing. It will take a bit of time to adequately explore the possibilities of this new medium, and for audiences to become accustomed to the perspective, but ultimately it is a point of view that better suits the electronic media environment in that it puts viewers at the center of the action, rather than positioning them in an objectively distanced manner, as outsiders looking in (the point of view associated with reading and print media). As such, Google Glass is well suited for capturing the look and sound of an environment or surrounding, as opposed to smaller products that might be better displayed by more traditional camera-work, using for example close-ups, two-shots, etc. The strength of this new medium lies in providing a virtual sense of place, a sample of the experience of actually being there, and this will have immediate and enormous relevance for the travel and tourism industry. Google Glass is well suited for presenting a walk-through of an unfamiliar locale, a tour of a resort or hotel’s rooms and facilities, a vacation spot’s attractions, theme park rides and recreational activities, and modes of transportation such as a cruise ship or train.” – Dr. Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies and Director of the Professional Studies in New Media program at Fordham University.

“Much as the first app developers to launch applications on Apple’s App Store benefited from the disproportionate exposure possible during this ‘gold rush’ period due to the dearth of initial applications on the iOS platform, forward-thinking marketers have a real opportunity to leverage the early life of Google Glass in a similar fashion. In particular, we anticipate that in the early days of the product’s availability, before the novelty has receded, YouTube and other web channels will be flooded with videos showing off the breakthrough gadget in action. Multi-platform brands – e.g. retail outlets, travel destinations such as theme parks – that create experiences in anticipation of widespread launch allowing their customers to interact with the brand location or product in an immersive fashion and then upload their videos to the brand’s owned and earned digital channels will find themselves with a treasure trove of free, passionate user-generated content to serve the purposes of authentic brand ambassadorship.

“Imagine a retailer – e.g. Amazon – removing the last elements of friction for consumers in the show-rooming process by creating an application that uses Google Glasses to recognize goods in a physical retail outlet, adjust their own online prices in real-time to account for any price differential, and allow add to cart or direct purchase action by simple voice command.  The application would not only generate a significant uptick in a behavior that has already become both prevalent and highly profitable for online retailers, but also generate significant positive PR in the countless cases in which users are removed from stores for using the Glasses.  Videos captured by customers in the process of getting thrown out of the local big box rival would only feed the online retailer’s efforts to be known as the people’s choice.” – Terry Young, CEO & Founder, sparks & honey.

“With wearable technology like Nike’s Fuelband on the rise, Google Glass is the next evolution. What’s really interesting is capturing your life moments into media which easily shareable, at least from Google’s video release. It could replace the smartphone. But the real questions will be on how easy the user interface is and if the glasses are cool enough for people to wear in public. And at $1,500, it’s a big ask for those beyond the tech community.” – Steve Knapp, Director of Brand Activation with Minneapolis Advertising Agency Carmichael Lynch.

“If Google Glass goes mainstream, I would like to see a new wave of ‘brand’ applications accessible to users in the future.  This would open up the doors for endless possibilities and experiences. As marketers, we would have an opportunity to provide access to custom brand content in a complete new way with relevant, useful context.

“Three examples:

“What if … you can image seeing visualizations of your run via the Nike+ glass app?

“What if … you normally shop at Publix Supermarket.  Call up an app for Publix on Glass when you are in the store and you see deals and food info layered over the physical world you’re in?

“What if … you are playing golf with TaylorMade clubs.  When you’re on the course you call up the Taylor App and info for that course and the actual hole you’re playing appear customized based on your play and your clubs?”  – Scott Briskman, Chief Creative Officer, EXTRACTABLE.

“Not to sound like Debbie Downer, but until there is mass adoption of these devices, they won’t be considered a staple part of the mix – as there won’t be a large enough audience base for mass impact.  These babies are expensive: $1,500 a pop.  So until the price comes down, we will see only a small group of elite tech heads and first movers wearing these contraptions. (Disclaimer:  I can’t wait to get one myself).

“But therein lies some interesting opportunities:

“First movers are influencers.  I can see brands like Coke or Nike doing something really innovative leveraging the “world lens” applicability of the Glass device.  Even if a monster brand like this hands out a select number of Glass devices to select consumers (this would provide a very compelling sweeps program – and its already being done by Google) – and creating custom content for the ultimate massive interactive game-type promo.   The PR-worthiness of this kind of thing is worth the price of admission.

  1. “I can see retailers using this device very effectively – providing shoppers with a more AR based overlay to existing mobilized platforms like Shopkick (now there’s a smart partnership).
  2. “Once regulations become more forgiving, the use of Glass by Physicians and Hospitals is extremely promising.
  3. “Urban centers like NYC’s Chelsea could become great Glass Environments – offering local shops, museums and municipalities a whole new layer to Google’s Map platform
  4. “I can see GM or Ford sponsoring a new Navigation experience that allows consumers a better means of hands free GPS Directions – no reason why this overlay couldn’t be integrated right into the driver’s windshield.
  5. “Collection of data by marketers will become even more sophisticated as people use Glass – the number of data points per user would be staggering (which I am sure is Google’s master plan) – places visited, questions asked, information requested, purchases, time of day, distance walked, photos and videos, taken, phone conversations, app usage, social interactions, etc.

“Once Glass can track things like heart rate, caloric intake, caloric burn, glucose levels, etc., their will become an entirely new set of possibilities for this type of device. The future is now. —  Warren Zenna, Managing Director, Digital/Mobile at Woods Witt Dealy & Sons.

Check back for updates…



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