Technology has blurred the digital divide between man and
machine with wearable gadgets. To cash in on the increasing
popularity and the opportunities that wearable gadgets offer,
advertising companies are gearing up to devise ways they can reach
out to gadget users.
Although the market is still in its nascent stage, advertisers are
vying to gain a first-mover advantage by researching a viable
wearable ad technology, underscoring the appeal of these devices as
the latest 'in-thing' in the marketing platform.
According to data by global market intelligence firm International
Data Corporation, wearables will transcend the early adopter status
to record a three-fold jump in sales this year and is expected to
grow at a CAGR of 78.4% to 111.9 million units in 2018 from 19.2
million units in 2014.
Despite the healthy growth, wearables shipment is still a tiny
fraction of the more than 1 billion smartphones estimated to be
sold in 2014. Consequently, wearables' advertising is likely to
cause a small dent in mobile advertising in the imminent future
Mobile Advertising: The New-Age Money Minter?
Nevertheless, as wearables become more functional and a stylish
lifestyle accessory, they are likely to open up new ways to make
money from apps, reach out to consumers and gather
Wearables can gain refined and granular understanding of consumer
behavior. It thus enables better target marketing messages to
people who don watches, glasses and headgear that double as
computers. Through the myriad of instruments that remain in direct
contact with the body, advertisers can gauge the users' states to
create targeted marketing programs that eliminate any assumptions
about an audience.
For example, a fitness brand may send a targeted message to people
who work out with smartwatches, rather than fritter it away as a
print media ad to those who read fitness magazines. A food brand
retailer can send electronic coupon to a customer who is in a snack
aisle of a grocery store. A pharmaceutical brand may send targeted
messages to customers with a wristband that monitors health
parameters, moving away from conventional media ads that target the
Wearables can be integrated with the daily activities without being
required to be carried or stuffed in a pocket. They enable faster
and spontaneous exchanges of information. In addition, wearables
offer troves of unique data for psychographic segmentation of
consumers for targeted messages.
This, in turn, might lead to more emotional connect as customers
are able to get probable solutions for their immediate demands. In
short, with advances in technology and brain-mapping devices, users
effectively become an open book of rich untapped data ready to be
These further enable mobile advertising startup firms like TapSense
to develop mobile ad exchange that support wearable apps. In
essence, as money makes money, the ads will link directly to the
relevant promoted apps on offer in the appstore of Pebble
Technology Corp., a startup that develops smartwatches. Marketers
can also utilize huge data sources to screen target audience and
deliver effective marketing programs by customizing the message
With rapid strides in technology, physical lifestyle tracking seems
to be only a matter of some years before it turns out to be a
reality. However, before wearable technology manufacturers induct
their products in the mobile ecosystem, privacy concerns need to be
fairly addressed. Marketers should not infringe on personal privacy
issues. They need to restrict their messages before users wonder,
"How far is too far?"
In addition, commercialization of personal data might lead to
serious repercussions and jeopardize the mission of the ad
campaign, primarily if they appear to be intrusive or use sensitive
information. Marketers can find themselves on the wrong side of the
law if unsolicited usage of personal data compromises the safety
and security of the users. Consequently, understanding the mindset
and needs of mobile consumers is a necessity for wearables'
advertisers so that the legal and ethical sanctity is maintained in
Companies Joining the Bandwagon
Despite some inherent challenges, technology-based companies have
introduced a slew of wearables for the gadget-friendly upwardly
mobile customers. Leading the stack with its impeccable
technological expertise is
) Google Glass - a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted
display. It displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free
format and enables users to communicate with the Internet through
Google has also come up with Android Wear - a version of its
Android operating system that is specifically designed for
smartwatches and other wearables. When Android Wear is paired with
mobile phones that run on Android version 4.3+, it integrates
Google Now functionality to answer user-initiated queries and
relays mobile notifications into a smartwatch form factor. Android
Wear was announced by Google on Mar 18, 2014 with
Motorola Solutions, Inc.
), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., HTC
Corporation and ASUSTeK Computer, Inc. as partners.
Samsung is scheduled to launch its Galaxy Gear smartwatch in
September this year. The device will run on Android, integrate
), and will be able to make phone calls with 10 hours of battery
) is also likely to launch the highly-anticipated iWatch anytime
this year, following its filing for the trademark in July. This
smartwatch has integrated biometrics and other sensors providing
integration with other iOS devices. Apple is also reportedly
working on computerized shoes, which feature sensors that tell
users about when to replace the shoes.
As users grow more comfortable with personalized advertisements in
wearables, mobile advertising and data provider
Millennial Media Inc.
) is scratching the surface of this untapped market by tying up
with mobile advertising network Kiip, Inc.
It is too early to predict the profitability now. But what we can
certainly infer at this point is advertising in wearables is the
next big step in the ad world. Even e-commerce giant
) has launched a storefront dedicated to wearable technology
devices (like smartwatches, fitness trackers and wearable cameras).
This speaks volumes about the market potential. Therefore, it seems
only a matter of time before this fad indeed turns into a digital
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