April 21st and Mobilegeddeon has come and gone. You no doubt are feeling satisfied knowing that with much pluck and a tiny bit of luck you made the mobile friendly conversion deadline and have seen great results since. Awesome. But stop resting on your laurels. The next wave of mobile devices is knocking on your door, getting ready to up end your mobile marketing strategy yet again.
Apple Watch, and the legion of Android wearables quickly coming behind it, is the next step in mobile technology. As eyes begin to shift from phones and tablets to watch screens and virtual reality glasses mobile marketing will have to shift too.
I was deeply curious about what impact the Apple Watch, and wearables like it, would have on the future of Internet and digital marketing. I was curious as to whether a smart marketer could uncover ways to exploit a newborn technology, or whether it was something to think about down the road.
So, I bought an Apple Watch and wore one for a month.
I discovered several ways wearable technology will change the realm of Internet marketing. Here is what will change as more people shift to wearable technology:
The Web Browser is Extinct, The App is Your Everything
Web browsing simply does not happen on an Apple Watch and it will not happen on Android Wear either. Why? First and foremost the user experience is terrible. Even if smart watches did have web browsers they would be nearly impossible to use. Every interaction a wearable has with the Internet (and consequently your content and our advertising) is linked through an App on his or her phone.
In 2014, app usage for roughly 2 hours 42 minutes on mobile platforms. At the same time, mobile web browsing account for only 22 minutes a day. That trend will only increase in the coming years, as wearable devices become an App only eco-system. If you want to extend your marketing reach to the wearable user it is time to start thinking of ways you can leverage your content into something that can be “App ified”.
Notification Marketing is Coming
Apple Watch functions mostly as a notification device. Tap-tap on your wrist. “Breaking News … FIFA President”. Tap-Tap on your wrist. “Your friend just retweeted you.”
Notification marketing is coming (and one might argue that its been here for a while) and represents a great opportunity to connect users with services and products. Well-done notifications from Apps can almost serve a friendly, promotional reminder. For instance, a notification from a concert ticket App reminding a frequent user that their favorite band is in town, and, hey, tickets are still available.
Larger brands like StubHub and Fandango are already using notifications to market to their user base. It is only a matter of time before notification marketing becomes a standard weapon in every marketer’s arsenal.
Really Bite Sized Content Social Content
Smart watches and wearables are not a great platform for creating or generating content, but they happen to be a really great platform for consuming content. Especially content generated on Twitter and Instagram.
During my Apple Watch test drive I would found myself starting a conversation on Twitter and walking away. Before strapping a wearable device to my, it might be a couple minutes, even couple hours, before I would jump back into Twitter. With an Apple Watch, I found myself getting sucked back into social conversations with friends. Every a few minutes a new tweet popping up on my wrist, a new thought I wanted to add to or comment on. In short, a wearable device made me more engaged.
If you are invested in social media as part of your mobile marketing strategy it might be time to rethink part of your strategy. Focus on shorter posts that are more organic and sparks for conversation instead of pre-programmed scheduled posts. Real life engagement drives real life engagement. A quick reply on Twitter can turn into a reminder on a potential customer’s wrist that, hey, my favorite brand is talking about me!
Email marketing is a great way to reach people using wearable tech. You do not need an App or a PUSH Notification infrastructure to reach your intended target. What you will need, however, is a punchy and potent subject line that will provoke someone to open that email.
During my first 30 days with an Apple Watch I ignored about 80% of the emails I received to my personal account. The emails that did prompt me to pull out my phone and read my email where short, simple and to the point. I also tended to open emails from more trusted brands I favored.
If you are trying to squeeze every last inch of success out of an email marketing campaign, and want to try targeting smart watch users, test shorter email subjects that can grab people’s attention in literally the blink of an eye.
Focus On Apple Watch Users: Smart or Premature?
Given the infancy of the technology it is not smart to focus your entire mobile marketing strategy around one wearable product, but after 2015 no smart marketer can ignore the impact Apple Watch and Android Wear will have on their campaigns.
The good news is that most of the tactics you are using to market to customers on mobile will transfer quite nicely to potential customers who adopt smart watches.