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What does the future look like for the predecessor of the duckface? I stole a few minutes from Empire Media’s Content & Multimedia Marketing Manager, Malek Chehab, to discuss the impact of the selfie and what we predict the future holds for this powerful digital marketing tool.

Today ‒ 21 June ‒ as we observe National Selfie Day, it is hard to imagine a time when this easily accessible method of self-portraiture did not exist.

A time when women ‒ and men alike ‒ would excuse themselves from the table to freshen up in private. Now, that once acceptable social normality has been replaced with a quick selfie at the dinner table, to check if one’s lipstick is still in place and there is no offensive broccoli residue ruining their smile.

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However, the selfie has benefits beyond just acting as a hand mirror. From entertaining, raising awareness, creating brand buzz, to inspiring entire movements, for over a decade the selfie has more than proven its chops as a powerful tool for digital marketing. From Lay’s Chips “Everyday Smilers” ads to The Walking Dead’s #deadyourself viral campaign, companies the world over are using the selfie to add marketing oomph to their business.

The latest report generated by Google LLC in 2020 reported that its Android devices take approximately 93 million selfies per day (that’s without taking into account the iPhone users around the world). And the average Millenial is expected to take over 25,000 selfies in their lifetime.

That’s a lot of self-love floating around in cyberspace! So it is quite apparent that the selfie is not going away any time soon. But, like most marketers, we can’t help but wonder what’s next.

The future is now

“At Empire Media, one of our goals is to always be at the forefront of technology and marketing. And we couldn’t do that without considering the selfie and where we see it going,” shares Chehab, “and we are already seeing the future of the selfie happening now.”

It is true that when it comes to digital marketing, it’s hard to differentiate the future from the present. The industry is moving at lightning speed. While we are talking about what will happen in the future, it’s already starting to happen.

So what is the future of the selfie? As Chehab describes, “The future is happening now. As the web becomes oversaturated with content, attention spans are becoming ever more narrow, and social media is expanding to offer more features. So we are seeing a shift from self-portraiture to self-videos. The shift from reading blogs and social media captions to watching short videos, has grown overnight.”

Chehab shares the example of Tik Tok - the latest contender in the social media race. “Tik Tok [with its short consumable videos] has reached an enormous growth in just one year. It took Facebook eight years to reach the same growth!”

What is the impact?

“The selfie has become an industry of its own,” shares Chehab. “We are seeing trends like #perfectselfie, #advancedselfie, courses like Travel Influencer Sorelle Amore’s ‘Selfie Academy’ as well as her new book Take Your Selfie Seriously, and let’s not forget the thousands of selfie apps saturating the market.”

In addition, the selfie has had an enormous impact on the increase of plastic surgery and innovations in the cosmetics industry. The dark side of this new level of vanity is the effect on the development of healthy self-esteem in adolescents.

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It is safe to say that self-videos will play a key role in digital marketing campaigns, in the development of new products, and the boom of an emerging new market. The online marketplace already offers a plethora of DIY video courses, and easy-to-edit tools, and apps. Influencers are shifting from sharing selfies to sharing video stories and short reels of self-expression and brand promotion; and, vlogs are the new blog.

The Selfie industry will continue to flourish, and the written word has yet to be completely replaced by videos, however, as companies aspire to speak in the voice of the new generation, they must ask themselves what is the next step, rather than rely on what has worked so far.

Marketers, it’s time to put our thinking caps on. The future is here.

Author: Katerina Parpa - Empire Media Copywriter

Katerina is a multi-passionate communications and content specialist, a lover of all things arty, and an unapologetic coffee enthusiast. She loves interviewing interesting people and capturing their stories, and hopes to someday master ANY yoga pose. She is an avid supporter of small businesses, and needs two things to start her day: Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show monologue... and coffee, of course!

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