The Promising Features That Make The Apple Watch A Powerful Marketing Platform

On April 27, I received an exciting email update that indicated I would most likely have my new Apple Sport Watch on my wrist by the month’s end.

The announcement came just over a year after “A Week With My Wearable“, an article in which I highlighted the five things I liked best about my new Pebble Smart Watch. This included its convenience/accessibility, a short but growing list of apps, social community feed aggregation, future functionality/capabilities and style. With Apple’s highly anticipated entry into the wearables market, everything I liked best about my Pebble just got even better – for me and marketers in general. Why?

With Apple’s entry into the wearables market, the smart watch moves beyond just a watch and notification stream, it becomes a platform that marketers must pay attention to. Here are five reasons why:

1. Apps

As Apple prepared to ship its first devices, over 3,000 Apple Watch apps were available in the app store, compared to about 1,000 when Pebble opened its app store last year. The sheer power of Apple’s brand and cult-like following means more of my favorite apps will be available on the watch. Therefore, my watch will have more functionality/capabilities, conveniences and utility. It also means that more brands with apps will have an opportunity to extend their reach even further – to your wrist. Since the iOS app and Apple watch apps will essentially be companion apps, marketers will need to market them as such. Update all marketing materials and cross-promote accordingly.

2. Messaging

The Apple watch includes both short look and long look interfaces for apps and notifications. Short look notifications allow you to see messaging with a glance. Remain interested and the long look version appears in a few seconds, giving the user a bit more information. Many push notification companies are already launching new notification capabilities to allow brands to define and test both versions, highlighting just how seriously the platform is being taken in the marketing world. For marketers the message is clear…big opportunity but please proceed with caution. Think shorter, simpler and more personalized messaging. Be careful not to overwhelm users and instead keep them engaged with valuable, helpful, hyper-relevant content.


3. Geofencing/iBeacons

Developers have the ability to create geofences that can sense if the user/watch is in close proximity. Combined with hyper-relevant messaging and the haptic technology within the watch, which essentially taps the user, marketers have the opportunity to create better user experiences at physical locations. So whether you are a retailer tapping a user to update them about the arrival of the new summer collection, an airline tapping a user with flight change information, or an amusement park with an update on the wait time for your favorite ride, marketers have the opportunity to engage users in ways never before imagined.

4. Payments

The integration of Apple Pay/NFC technology helps drive m-commerce and ultimately insights on mobile marketing conversion rates. With many retailers upgrading their payment terminals by October to accept EMV debit and credit cards (that include chips that encrypt transactional data to reduce fraud) the market opportunity to integrate contactless payment alternatives like Apple Pay will increase. The combination of data/signals, more personalized programs that can tap the user to alert them, and the increased popularity of mobile payment services like Apple Pay, marketers now have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of each consumer’s path to purchase.

5. Growth

Business Insider estimated wearables, led by smartwatches and the Apple Watch specifically, will grow at a compound annual rate of 35% over the next five years. With more than 148 million units expected to be shipped annually in 2019, more than 4 times today’s volume, and Apple’s share at 40% plus, the Apple Watch is a platform marketers can’t afford to ignore.

Finally, on a personal note, there is one other feature I’m very excited about checking out in my new Apple Watch – the Fitness/Health capabilities. As an avid Fitbit user, I’ll be curious to see if the built-in heart rate monitor that will measure my workout intensity and stats will be enough for me to ditch my Fitbit. Regardless if that happens or not, what is clear is that the wearable market continues to evolve and become a bourgeoning platform for marketers.

Which leads me to my next question: anyone interested in buying a slightly used, first generation Pebble Watch?

‘Til Next Time.


Homepage image via Shutterstock

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