You may or may not know that I am an adrenaline sports junkie. As a rock climber, skier, bike rider, and a recent first time skydiver (with plans to get my certification), I love watching content involving these sports. In fact, one of my Saturday rituals is to read an article or two on 99U, formerly The99Percent, and then to see what is live on RedBull TV.
That is, until I discovered the magic of GoPro’s content and now that is a go-to.
GoPro recently launched their Hero3 camera, which is considerably lighter, faster, and better (also more expensive) than my Hero2 which I bought a few months ago to chronicle my bicycle journeys around Brooklyn and NYC.
I had always wondered why GoPro didn’t do more marketing, and was genuinely curious what they would do when they launched a new product. After all, I’m pretty interested in viral marketing product launches, so let’s examine what GoPro did and how they successfully launched their new product.
Have An Audience
The first point in my post about viral was about building an audience before you even launch. This can apply to new companies to be sure (my post was aimed at bloggers/startups), but it also applies to existing companies coming out with new iterations of their product.
GoPro already has 324,446 subscribers on their Youtube page and over 175,594,678 views of their videos. That’s millions, yes.
To put this in perspective, RedBull (which everyone in the world has heard of at this point, essentially), has 465,717,195. This may be 3x the number of views (and yes we are talking millions), but also remember that RedBull is a media powerhouse and GoPro is still a bootstrapped startup, having never taken funding.
GoPro also has over 315,000 followers on Twitter, where they regularly tweet out their fanbase’s videos.
And beyond all this, GoPro has some of the best action sports athletes in the world, like skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, rally driver Ken Block, and more who are constantly promoting their content and filming new awesome videos.
I’d say GoPro had the audience down.
The next step was to invite their influencers. You know what GoPro did? They invited many top athletes, photographers/videographers, and more to San Francisco (where GoPro is based) to shoot video the new Hero3.
Let’s get this straight. GoPro releases a new product at a launch party (for a camera?? It was like a concert), then invites a ton of influencers down to shoot footage with the new camera and then create/curate the content for GoPro? Yes, that’s exactly what happened.
They invited people like Chase Jarvis, who tweeted about it with the hashtag to his 175k followers (I’m one of them):
They also had Shaun White (snowboarder) create a spoof video of being sad about not being invited to the party:
Building buzz is obviously one of the hardest parts of a product launch, but GoPro leveraged a few smart viral factors in order to get everyone (myself included) paying attention.
Tweets and Hashtags
GoPro started tweeting about an announcement coming up a few days before with tweets, then during the launch this tweet came out:
— GoPro® (@GoPro) October 17, 2012
Subsequently following by tweets like:
— GoPro® (@GoPro) October 17, 2012
GoPro has always used their #gopro hashtag, which is quite well used by the fanbase:
But for this launch, they have also used the #hero3 hashtag, which has had over 13,000 uses in the past 15 days:
Check out the Analytics from Topsy Analytics:
Curate Content on Multiple Platforms
GoPro is well-situated to curate content around the launch because of the nature of their business, but they did it in many places:
It is interesting to note that GoPro is still sharing content using the hashtag #hero3 even over 3 weeks after launch.
They’re still curating content around it on their different social media channels:
What To Change
GoPro did so much right in this launch that there is not much left to critique, but I always like to think “If I had done this launch, what would I have done differently?” I hesitate to make suggestions, as I love the organicness of the spreading of content, but here are the few things I would have changed.
1. Different Night to Launch
The first qualm I had with the launch is that they launched on the same night as one of the presidential debates. When you’re trying to leverage the viral factor, don’t launch when another big event is occurring if you can at all avoid it. They received a few nasty tweets:
GoPro your new cam looks dope but announcing it during a presidential debate shows you have things to learn when it comes to social media 😉
— Shealan Forshaw (@Shealan) October 17, 2012
But their fans were more out in force:
— ArturoC (@r2ro) October 17, 2012
— Chris Ryan (@ryanchris2009) October 17, 2012
2. Pre-seed Content
If I were on GoPro’s marketing team, I would have done more than just social media to start driving interest and speculation. By the time the launch came, everyone basically knew that they were announcing a new camera (some influencers had already tweeted about it). So why not share comparison videos between the Hero2 and Hero3, without explicitly saying it?
3. Capture Emails
All marketers know that email converts like crazy. For the next launch, I would recommend a simple landing page saying something to the effect of:
We have an exciting announcement coming up on (date). Sign up here to hear about it!
Just do it guys. You won’t regret it.
Overall I’d give GoPro’s launch an B+. It was extremely well done, but the fact that it occurred during the debates and that they failed to capture email addresses brings it down a bit.
I hope you’ve learned something here! If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.