What wearable tech means to the future of marketing

Digital Marketing By Josanne Griffin-Mason, 16th September 2014

The wearable technology market is predicted to be worth more than £43 billion1 by 2024.

Currently, the market is valued at a sizeable £8 billion, with health and fitness industries dominating the space. Early adopters bought the headgear, armbands and footwear in their first phases, and now inventors are honing the technologies and making them more fashionable to appeal to the wider public.

As commercial wearables such as the Apple Watch, Google Glass and Android Wear ramp up public interest, marketers now face similar issues they were presented with when smartphones initially entered the mainstream. Everyone wants to know the best ways to take advantage of the distinct properties that these new technologies possess.

Whilst wearable technologies may be mobile, they are not phones or tablets, so the lessons we learnt from mobile marketing must be put to one side before entering this new minefield.

Successful marketers will be those who take risks in their approach, and as adoption is now at the lowest it will probably ever be, this is the time to do so.

How responsive is your web design?

The biggest hurdle will be fitting content onto the smallest screens yet.

Device rendering and responsive design are going to be key. Consumers have now come to expect a native browsing experience and will ignore companies who don’t deliver one.

To date, wearables have not been created to exist on their own. They require integration with other devices to pull and push information across. Those pathways must be clear and seamless to use.

Thinking even further ahead, the fact that wearable technologies do not feature keyboards could mean we’ll be looking at voice and motion-activated landers in the future, which will require the best web designers and developers to construct.

Pay attention to Google’s algorithm updates

Small wearable screens are likely to only display the first search engine result and Google has prepared accordingly.

Last year, the search engine introduced the Google Hummingbird update to their algorithm. It is their biggest revamp in over thirteen years and has semantics, or meanings, at the heart of it.

Keywords are no longer the deciding factor in getting links to the top of a SERP, it’s now about contextual relevance. Hummingbird figures out what a user wants and gives it to them straight away. To see this in action, type ‘weather’ into Google and you’ll get an instant local forecast rather than a blanket calculation or a technical definition of the word.

The rapid rate of development within the wearable tech field will undoubtedly place user demand in a constant state of flux over the forthcoming years. Search engines will continue to adapt but creating useful content will be at the forefront of good SEO practice.

You’re about to get more data than ever before

If people do start wearing traceable technology all day, every day, the possibilities for context-based marketing will flourish.

Wearables align the real world with the digital one. By fully integrating all campaign elements, not only will the consumer experience be enriched, marketers will be able to understand user journeys better too. For instance, it will be possible to track whether a text message convinced a person to act or exposure to a print advert they passed in the street provoked action.

Only valuable messages are going to pass though. Audiences have learnt to swerve the mobile and desktop campaigns that are of no use to them, either by not reading their email or by directing their eye line away from banner ads. When companies start attempting to disrupt a person’s real life with unwanted or battery draining content, the backlash is likely to be greater, and ties to that company will be severed permanently.

So what does this mean for your strategic planning?

The wearable technology market is still in its infancy but adoption is picking up quickly. Recent research from the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) demonstrated that, although the number of Google Glass users only makes up a small part of all web traffic, browsing on this device increased by 135%2 last year. By comparison, mobile traffic grew by just 38% and tablet traffic by 39%.

Now is the time for marketers to experiment with context-based marketing if they want to determine trends early. Once wearable technologies become affordable and widespread, experimentation will cost your business more.

1 IDTechEx, 2014. Wearabe Technology 2014-2024: Technolgies, Markets, Forecasts. [Online] Avalable at: http://www.idtechex.com/research/reports/wearable-technology-2014-2024-technologies-markets-forecasts-000379.asp?viewopt=showall.
2 CMO, 2014. 15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Wearable Technology. [Online] Available at: http://www.cmo.com/articles/2014/6/16/Mind_Blowing_Stats_Wearable_Tech.html.

All information sources accessed on the 15th of September 2014.