Marketers are always on the lookout for virgin territory to use as advertising space. Traditional ad spaces originated on the sides of buses, billboards and movie screens. Then, technology revolutionized the possibilities of advertising exponentially. Imagine this—a company called Moon Publicity offers lunar advertising via Shadow Shaping technology, which creates images on the surface of the moon that can be seen from Earth. Technological and innovative marketing techniques can reach consumers everywhere from space or even from what we wear. With the introduction of wearable technology, smartwatches are the next frontier. The following gives some insight on the smartwatch market and what digital marketers need to know.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Technology is an interlinked system referred to by computer scientists as the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is the advanced interconnection (or connectivity) of embedded computing devices, systems, services and smart objects within the Internet infrastructure. Business Insider describes IoT as everyday and enterprise devices connected to the Internet. Cisco believes “connected advertising and marketing” to be one of the top three IoT categories. The Apple Watch is the next big device for IoT. It’s a forthcoming, influential digital advertising and marketing tool. But, the Apple Watch isn’t exactly technologically groundbreaking. Here’s why.
Apple Watch Vs. Android Wear
First, the Apple Watch is an app-friendly and smartphone-compatible wearable technology equipped with features like fitness and health monitoring, heart rate sensor and multiscreen functionality. Starting at $350, the watch performs basic messaging functions like emailing, texting and calling as well as data-driven interactivity. It can collect health information, interact via a Siri-like system and transmit geo-location information. This type of available information offers a veritable goldmine for marketing data. If a marketer can get permission to access this data, advertising and marketing campaigns can be tailored according to a target consumer’s physical health, location or search tendencies.
Just as the iPhone 6 is being dubbed as the belated version of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Apple Watch also has tech qualities mimicking the Samsung Galaxy Gear line. Android Wear, which includes Samsung Gear, launched in summer and fall of 2014, and the Apple Watch is slated to arrive in early 2015. Consumers are excitedly interested, yet wearable devices have existed within the tech industry for years; Sony has offered smart wrist accessories for smartphones for more than 10 years. However, it takes the global public image and established credibility of a brand like Apple to skyrocket the smartwatch into mainstream influence and success.
“The Apple Watch isn’t even all that special,” asserts TheVerge. The watch shares features of every Android Wear watch such as a touchscreen, biometric data tracking, voice commands and display notifications. Yet, the Apple Watch energizes, nearly revitalizes, wearable tech that has already been present in the market. In other words, the Apple Watch legitimizes and enlivens the wearable tech market. “Android Wear is going to get a boost from this,” said Weston Hendereck, director for connected devices at the NPD Group, on CNet.
New Marketing Frontier, New Opportunity
Research firm CCS Insight projects that 250 million wearables will be in use by 2018, reports CNet. This means that an estimated 250 million wearables will be worn by consumers, marketing targets and potential customers within an economically burgeoning market. So, how can wearable tech like smartwatches impact the future of digital marketing?
The Apple Watch will offer users Apple Pay for making purchases using a Touch ID. DigiDay even predicts that Apple Pay will integrate with Apple’s iAd solution by next year. For example, John McDermott of Digiday says a new feature would offer a “tap-to-buy button embedded in mobile ads.”
Most importantly, marketers should keep a close watch on the rising smartphone market because of the opportunity for custom messaging. Wearable technology can provide brands with increased access to their target audiences and produce vital communications, according to Salt Lake City-based marketing agency Penna Powers. It has the potential to be an information-gathering powerhouse, registering data such as buying habits, movement patterns, locations and physical interactions. This data is then transferred to the user’s smartphone and apps to generate custom-tailored information enhancing the user’s digital experience. Depending on regulations, app developers can release this information as marketing data for companies. The opportunity for “enhanced customer data collection” and “insights into user interaction” is on the horizon, states Forbes.
Angela McInture, a research director at Gartner, even tells Mashable that wearable tech will evolve to the point of displacing some smartphone sales. This means that wearable smart devices may be the future of how we communicate, share information, connect and digitally function, and they might make phones and tablets obsolete. Or, as Forbes contributor Stuart Leung states, “Wearable electronics are the next evolution of mobile technology.” If marketers want to stay competitive and technologically relevant, they should closely follow the growth of smartwatches and develop a wearable tech marketing strategy.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.