As discussions of up-and-coming digital trends for 2015 start to swirl, we cannot ignore wearables—in particular, smart watches. These devices will take on an increased importance in the first quarter of 2015 when Apple releases the much-anticipated Apple Watch. Apple has pegged the watch their “most personal device yet,” and the opportunities it will present to reach the right person at the right time will be significantly more individualized than what we have seen to date.
However, as wearables become more commonplace, marketers will need to be careful to find creative new ways to personalize their ads without alienating users. There is a fine line between being an innovative and forward-thinking digital marketer and being downright creepy and intrusive.
1. The relevance and usefulness of ads will become even more important. Users will find it a lot easier to ignore an irrelevant or poorly placed display ad on their computer or phone screen than they will an ad that actively gets their attention and in doing so disrupts their daily routine. This means that as advertisers increase the number of methods and devices at their disposal through which to reach consumers, the relevance and usefulness of their ads become that much more important.
2. Geofences will become a part of daily advertising. App developers can create geofences that sense when an Apple Watch user is in close proximity. A store or restaurant can virtually “tap” the nearby user on the wrist to get their attention, and that person can be offered a coupon for a ½-price item that expires in 15 minutes. Or perhaps when a user pulls into a car dealership the dealer can offer a coupon for an oil change or related service special. Marketers and developers will also be challenged to adapt their advertising materials to the smaller, more “intimate” format of a watch with a screen size of about 2 x 2 inches. Content will need to be tailored to this new delivery method with short, simple messages and photos.
3. Offline metrics will become integrated with online data. The smart watch will have the ability to continuously monitor a user’s heart rate, which could prove to be a powerful tool. This would provide companies with a new metric not previously available, one that could help marketers better understand consumer engagement with individual ads.
The smart watch and wearables market is only in its infancy, but this potentially more intuitive technology will certainly open up an exciting new world for highly personalized marketing. Stay tuned to see who leads the way and how quickly the rest of the world jumps on board, and let us know in the comments how you think Apple’s new smart watch will impact the digital marketing landscape when it’s released next year!