What is GoPro and How Did it Become so Successful?
GoPro has seen huge success on social media. GoPro was founded by Nick Woodman back in 2002, following a 5-month surfing trip to Australia. He’d found a gap in the camera market, as it was hard to find good camera equipment for amateur surfing enthusiasts at a reasonable price.
His objective was to create a product that could capture the angles of professional equipment with the convenience of portability, and ‘GoPro’ was born.
To raise funds for his new venture, he sold “shell jewellery and belts out a VW van in California.” While doing this, it inspired him to create a wrist strap for his GoPro camera that was practical yet fashionable, as most camera straps at the time were neither comfortable nor stylish.
In 2004, the first GoPro was sold: a 35mm film camera, suitable for surfers and other extreme sports enthusiasts. Fast forward a few years and GoPro became one of the most sought-after gadgets on the planet, with a range of products available.
GoPro on Social Media
This article was originally published in 2013 and last updated in 2019. We’re updating for accuracy and relevance in 2021, including recent social media figures:
Instagram 17.8m followers.
Facebook 10.8m likes (96.3% growth from 2019).
Twitter 2.1m followers (250% growth from 2019).
YouTube 10.3m subscribers (1070% growth from 2019).
TikTok 1.4m followers, 18.5m likes.
Pinterest 46.9k followers.
Instagram was not mentioned in the original article or the 2019 edit, but in 2019 GoPro’s Instagram followers passed 16 million. Instagram is easily GoPro’s biggest social media channel currently with a community of 17.8 million followers. Given GoPro’s target audience and the focus on image and video content on Instagram, this makes a lot of sense for the GoPro brand.
By November 2019, GoPro was the 6th most-followed US retail brand (in terms of total followers across all channels). Today, they have a total of 42.87 million followers across all the social media channels listed above.
What’s the reason behind GoPro’s success?
One of the main reasons behind GoPro’s success is that their products offer users the chance to let others see their experiences at the height of the action from their point of view. In the past, this was an expensive, uncomfortable, and nigh-impossible feat to achieve (imagine strapping a 5kg camera onto your head and going skiing!)
It is no coincidence that the success of GoPro correlates to the boom in internet usage over the last decade or so. The number of platforms on which users can share their videos has increased, along with growth in users across the board.
GoPro has achieved consistent success levels with its products and brand image. In 2013, GoPro placed at #27 in the 2013 Social Brands Top 100, being the only brand in the Consumer Electronics category to reach the top 100. In 2016, they were named the 18th “coolest brand” by the Centre for Brand Analysis.
GoPro’s social media success helped put them on the map as a strong brand in the camera market, and GoPro’s innovative products kept them there.
The recent GoPro Hero9 Black is recognised as one of the best and most-recommended action cameras for Instagrammers who enjoy sharing their “rugged adventures.” Made with this in mind, the product features great stabilisation and waterproof features, increasing its usability and the quality of the video it produces.
The feeling of ‘being there’ is what has helped shape GoPro’s success, as there are plenty of videos of people skydiving, skiing or climbing buildings – and a response to videos like these is “I’d love to do that”. With the help of videos filmed on GoPro products, viewers can at least get some insight into what it is like to put their vertigo aside and do the “impossible”.
There was a time where it seemed as if every YouTube vlogger was using and/or advertising a GoPro camera. In 2014, GoPro was the 5th biggest brand on YouTube, a sizeable achievement at the time given the (at the time) focus on amateur content which brands found it hard to break through.
Part of this success came from paid sponsorships with influencers/vloggers as well as (unpaid) word of mouth. GoPro make genuinely good products that people actually use in their videos and want to recommend to their audience.
One of the YouTube users that has used GoPro products as far back as 2013 is MustangWanted (currently with almost 300k subscribers). His use of GoPro often involves him scaling buildings or scaffolding with a GoPro strapped to his head. This gives viewers a unique perspective and immerses them in the experience.
GoPro have curated a great reputation in the camera industry and still work with influencers, vloggers, and content creators in the present day who sincerely love the products and want to remain loyal to the brand.
This recent sponsored video from TheSlowMoGuys on YouTube showcases the beauty of influencer marketing for GoPro: amazing, eye-catching content filmed using their products. The content speaks for itself in terms of product advertisement.
Keeping Fans Appy
GoPro expanded their offerings with the launch of their app Quik in 2021. It’s all in the name – “aptly named Quik, the app makes it quick and easy to get the most out of your favourite photos and videos no matter what phone or camera you’re using.” The revamped app is sitting pretty at #50 in Photo & Video apps on the Apple App Store, with a rating of 4.8 stars from 452k reviews.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2013 and has been edited and updated for republishing in April 2021.