A New Approach: Marketing Made for Wearables

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

Mobile advertising is an exploding industry and should surpass non-mobile ads (like on desktop websites) by 2020, according to Business Insider. Our phones go with us everywhere, and there isn’t a place outside the most remote corners of the Earth that doesn’t get a signal. Even airlines have made Wi-Fi standard in the last few years.

But the term “mobile” is being redefined with the emergence of the smartwatch, and it’s a different beast than the smartphone. Marketers and developers are scrambling to understand how we use this relatively new device and the opportunities to reach new audiences the smartphone never could.

What Gives Smartwatches Potential?

Of all the technology we use, smartwatches have the smallest amount of real estate for any sort of advertising. So what makes these tiny screens prime for new marketing opportunities? If you look closely at these devices, the advantages to going wearable start to become more obvious:

- Devices like the Gear S are always connected to the network, even when the wearer is away from his or her phone (the Apple Watch does not do this, for example).
- Even when the phone is put away, a watch is always present and visible.
- Passive notifications, like a message or reminder, are more prevalent on smartwatches.
- In time, smartwatches could be more affordable than smartphones.
- According to a study by Gartner, 50 percent of people polled said they would buy a smartwatch over a fitness tracking band like FitBit.

What Are the Biggest Opportunities?

What would advertising on the smartwatch look like? This concept didn’t really take off until the Apple Watch launched earlier this year, so marketers are still discovering areas where they can penetrate a new audience. Consider some of the following opportunities:
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- Hands-free Google Now and Siri give SEO marketers a new chance to leap ahead of competitors based on the way users speak versus the way they type.
- Sleep tracking uses the accelerometer to track how much wearers move in their sleep. Companies who specialize in sleep hardware (anything from beds to accessories) and software could find this data useful.
- The smartwatch could become a common home control device. So, for example, a company that makes garage doors could make a useful app to open them via a smartwatch.
- Smartphones already hold mobile tickets, like an airline boarding pass, but the convenience of a screen on the wrist will only move this trend forward. Anything from airlines to concerts could use the smartwatch to get passengers and guests through the gate.
- Chromecast/Apple TV integration will be huge now that both TV set devices are open to third-party apps. This gives developers the opportunity to connect the smartwatch and TV in any way they can imagine.
- Navigation on a smartphone can be dangerous on the road because it’s distracting when behind the wheel, but the smartwatch is a much more passive way to navigate the roads.

What Are the Next Steps?

While app developers are hard at work to crank out new programs for both the smartwatch and smartphone OS, the full potential isn’t even close to being unlocked. There is some serious innovation happening in smartwatches, but developers aren’t seeing much return in ad revenue just yet. One thing is for sure: the more this market grows, the more marketers will know where their bread and butter lives.

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