A Passion for Participation

The most impressive thing about GoPro is the passion of its users. It is said to have the most socially engaged online audience in the world, with a Facebook fan base that grew to 1.3 million in a year. But it’s not the fan base size that sets GoPro apart — it’s the level of engagement of those fans.

GoPro began as a wrist camera for surfers, stemming from CEO Nick Woodman’s two greatest passions: surfing and photography. He defined his target audience by being his target audience. From beginning as a niche product, the GoPro has evolved into something that almost every person wants; the target audience has stood up and identified itself. But, this unintended audience is what has made the GoPro so successful. Woodman (2012) recognises that “The content people capture is really what’s growing our brand. It’s not about the camera. It’s about sharing the content.”

original GoPro camera, Mike Lewis 2010

GoPro connects with its users in exciting and memorable ways by tapping into their interests and connecting with them on a personal level. That is what makes GoPro footage so easily recognisable, the perspective of passion that always shines through. The viewers get sucked in and feel as if they experience the moment themselves: “It’s like a teleportation device,” Woodman (2012) says. His consideration of the audience is what drives the success of GoPro. Yes, they created a great product, but, it’s clear that user content is what drives its awareness. GoPro is highly dialogic in nature: people watch footage and want to join the conversation, it relies on people talking, sharing and participating.

Every two minutes, a new piece of user-generated footage is uploaded to Youtube; it is ranked #1 on the Brand Channel Leaderboard for audience passion and popularity. This flood of content is a way for GoPro to involve it’s audience and form a close producer-consumer relationship by empowering users to create content that GoPro can share and use for commercials. GoPro lets its users become the stars, which often excites and encourages users to share their content and spread further awareness and popularity.

GoPro is its audience.

user-generated content for GoPro ad



Moore, C. 2014, ‘Will you be my audience? User empowerment, access and participation across media platforms Week 5’, lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, delivered 1 March 2014.


2 thoughts on “A Passion for Participation

  1. Really interesting! I find the idea that the GoPro footage of users is good enough for advertisements really demonstrated the power and ability of this community. GoPro respects it’s product, and evidently it respects it’s consumers. It knows it’s market extremely well. Good read! (:

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