Post by Dan Malachowski, Marketing Director
The Apple Watch is here (on April 24th)! No longer must you pull out your phone to read emails, receive calls, make social media updates, interact with apps, play music, talk to Siri, pay for something or track your vitals. You can now even order Chipotle with a tap of your wrist. As people get their hands (or wrists) on the watch over the next few weeks, we’ll learn much more about its impact on performance marketing. But—for now—we’ve pulled together five potential Apple Watch implications that brands should keep in mind.
WHAT COULD THE APPLE WATCH MEAN FOR BRANDS?
As your customers move quickly across an endless spiral of channels and devices, they leave behind a rich data trail. Savvy brands are collecting, analyzing and leveraging this data to create more relevant, engaging ads and experiences. Wearables—and the data associated with them—have always been of interest to marketers. However, wearables haven’t really caught on (yet). In fact, 33% of fitness bands are discarded after six months (CNET, 2014). The Apple Watch could change this by becoming the wearable that turns the tide—something people never remove (even in the shower), and never discard.
The Apple Watch creates a plethora of new data points. Most obviously, it creates location data that can be leveraged for ad or content targeting. It also creates data associated with the quantifiable self—heart rate, calorie counts, mileage, steps, sleep data, activity tracking, etc. In the future, this data could become accessible to power advertising and content distribution (e.g. a health insurer targets people based on calories burned, or a sports retailer targets coupons to people based on activity level). Current quantifiable self Apple Watch apps (beyond the built-in apps of Apple Activity and Workout) include Nike+ Running and Runtastic. Of course, brands must establish rigorous guidelines for the use of this highly personal data.
Why pull out your phone when you can navigate via your wrist? The most immediate Apple Watch opportunity for any brand with multiple store locations is to ensure Apple Watch visibility for your local outlets. This includes creating and optimizing accurate local experiences to help people find your stores. Optimize and submit location feeds to Apple Maps, which is built into the watch, and ensure that your information (hours, phone and address) is correct.
And although Google Maps (and other Google apps) aren’t yet available on the Apple Watch, they’ll likely be in the near future. Whether or not the Apple Watch is a hit, local experience optimization is critical; if you don’t make it easy for people to find information about your stores, you will lose customers.
Many Apple Watch users will leverage the device primarily for content consumption, especially on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If the watch catches on, brands must think about how to best format content for consumption on the small screen. This means short, to-the-point blurbs, updates and pictures that can drive engagement at a glance. Key performance indicators for Apple Watch content campaigns should include shares, likes, retweets, etc. rather than more intensive actions like comments.
Apple Watch content creation will require a test-and-learn approach. In the short-term, brands should explore existing Apple Watch content apps like CNN, MLB, ESPN and NYTimes to see how these apps format and distribute bite-sized content.
The Apple Watch is the perfect in-store shopping companion. Initially, it will feature the Passbook app, which keeps loyalty cards and coupons for easy scanning (by flashing your wrist). In the near future, Apple Pay will also likely integrate with the watch. Additionally, retailers are building apps for the watch, including Target; the Target app enables users to create shopping lists, and it tells them where to find items they need in the store. And many users won’t forget to showroom via their eBay Apple Watch app for a better price before buying in-store (68% of shoppers showroomed in 2014 (PriceWaterhouse Coopers 2014 Total Retail Survey)).
All retailers must evaluate the digital aspect of their in-store shopping experiences, which includes—at the very top—mobile apps. The Apple Watch can only accelerate the use of technology while shopping, which aligns directly with customer needs. According to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2014 Total Retail Survey, customers want in-store shopping technology, like Wi-Fi and shopping apps, to make their physical shopping experiences more engaging.
You can also imagine the potential for users to receive real-time offers through Apple Watch apps while shopping. With the exponential rise of mobile over the past few years, many Performics clients have seen success with geo-fencing. Based on user proximity, a retailer can target an offer to a person—e.g. when they’re in/close to the retailer’s store, or even in a competitor’s store. The Apple Watch could present more opportunity for brands to geo-fence, and the offers could be more engaging if they appear on the person’s wrist.
Depending on Apple Watch adoption, brands will decide whether to create Apple Watch apps. Then comes the challenge of promoting those apps. Apps will be the main method of engagement on the watch; on mobile devices, 80% of users currently spend time on apps (Forrester, 2015). In the past few years, Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft have been squarely focused on helping brands get their customers to download the brands’ mobile apps. In fact, mobile app install ads drove 30% of total mobile ad revenue in 2014 (Business Insider, 2015). With apps at the forefront of the Apple Watch, expect new opportunities (potentially even app install ad units) to distribute your apps to watch users.
The Apple Watch certainly has the potential to impact your performance marketing campaigns. Whether through data, content, in-store experiences or apps, the Apple Watch could be a new way to engage and convert your target audiences. We’ll be paying close attention to Apple Watch adoption at its release, and throughout the year!
For more information on Apple Watch performance marketing implications, please contact your Performics Account Team today.