Opinion While the Apple Watch is dominating the headlines right now, the larger class of wearables are going to trigger widespread shifts in consumer behaviours up and down the customer journey. Their incredibly personal nature, constant connectivity, and new use cases—from opening hotel room doors to buying coffee with a tap—will combine to appeal to a broad audience, beyond the early adopters who will buy Apple Watches in the first few months.
The question for marketers is how wearables will change the mobile marketing landscape.
One answer is dictated by Apple’s decision to not support the mobile web on the Watch: marketers need to focus on apps. Emphasising apps is a good idea for other reasons, too—the relationship between a brand and an app user is stronger and longer-lasting than with a mobile web user.
In addition, the constant use and connectivity of wearables provides an incredible amount of opportunities to deliver your message. But your messages better be good: given those increased opportunities and the extremely personal nature of the technology, consumers are likely to be extremely sensitive to advertising on wearables.
To succeed, advertisers will have to take advantage of in-depth targeting data to blur the lines between advertising and content so the messages they deliver to wearable devices are relevant, contextual, and valuable.
For example, this could include a mid-morning delivery of a coupon for an iced coffee at a restaurant you happen to be near. Or it could be a notification that ticket prices have dropped that goes to sports fans in the vicinity of the ballpark. These kinds of contextual messages, delivered through apps, are likely to be an important way to connect with consumers.
In fact, the ability to understand context and behaviour creates an expectation that all ads should be that relevant. As a result, no matter what form the ads ultimately take, there’s likely to be a high bar for marketing to wearable users.
Besides marketing on wearables, there’s an intermediate step that many brands may want to take advantage of immediately. It’s likely that iPhones that are paired with an Apple Watch become more valuable targets for brands to market to, since they’ll at least initially be early adopters or high-value users. I expect smart marketers to start targeting that segment as soon as the Watch hits the market.
If you are interested in wearables, please visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London’s Olympia this December, 2-3, 2015.