This week’s announcement from Apple that an iWatch is coming next year has focused attention on wearables in a big way. As companies start taking advantage of wearable technology, the sci-fi movies of our childhood may be close to reality. We’ve already accepted products like Google Glass and Smart Watches. Soon, we’ll be introduced to new and unusual products like Smart Shirts and Fundawear.
That’s right, Durex is experimenting with underwear your partner can control via a cell phone. There’s no telling where this technology will take us next.
How will these products affect advertisers and brands?
The number one answer is data. Ralph Lauren’s new Smart Shirt can track the wearer’s heart rate and stress levels, then upload that data to a mobile or desktop accessible dashboard. Nike Fuel bands and Fitbits track activity levels and health habits. Brands and advertisers will be able to target wearable technology users based on a variety of attributes.
For example, a 35 year old female who runs daily can be targeted with advertisements for protein bars, athletic wear and running shoes. However, concerns about privacy and anonymity may limit how brands can use it to their advantage.
Wearables and facial recognition software paired with digital out-of-home could lead to cross-device targeting on a whole other level. We’re talking about a complete merging of digital data and ad serving in the real world.
Imagine, someone walking down the street wearing Google Glasses and a Smart Shirt looks up at a billboard. Based on his demographics, interests and past behaviors, he’s served an advertisement targeted specifically to him. The viewer will even be able to go directly to the brand’s website within their Google Glass web browser, with no need to manually type in the URL.
How will this affect measurement?
Impressions and clicks will slowly become obsolete. New forms of measurement will include cost per gaze (CPG), cost per action (CPA), and cost per emotion (CPE). Think we’re years away from being able to measure emotional reactions to advertisements? Think again.
With products such as Google Glass, Smart Watches, Fitbits and Smart Shirts there may come a time when advertisers pay different bids based on the intensity of a viewer’s gaze or emotion. If the viewer’s pupil dilates, they’re more engaged. If a viewer’s heartbeat increases, they’re excited. High intensity gazes and emotions will have a higher CPG or CPE.
So Whats Next?
As advertisers, our dreams of more data and hypertargeting based on wearable technology haven’t quite come true — yet. But we should still be preparing for it. Mobile users already check their phones 150 times per day. There’s no doubt the power of wearable technology will be vast.
Right now, advertisers need to begin leveraging the full potential of the behavioral data we already have at our fingertips. We can also familiarize ourselves with wearable technology as it’s released, and begin setting aside a test budget so we can jump on the opportunities as they become available.
When the future arrives, we’ll be ready to seize the opportunities.