Wearables are the Next Big Brand Challenge.

The average person on the street may not realise it, but everything they do is now being analysed, not just your online behaviour. The Dublin Web Summit is in full swing, and something that keeps cropping up is the growth of data directly taken from wearables and the consumer products we use, without a second thought – even your smartphone.

It’s no great surprise to anyone, that our activity is being analysed, your average person online is used to this from their web browsing. Google search ads, retargeting and Facebook ads are all now expected to be contextual to your online activity. You want to book a holiday, so after you’ve done a little research, you check out your Facebook feed to see an ad that has been generated by a price comparison site, or an airline, etc. This is something we now expect, even if we don’t always think about it.

The big change is that now, more than ever we are handing over data that goes beyond our search history. Many people now wear fitness trackers, often get to their ten thousand steps a day, people who don’t wear one will sometimes have an app that counts their steps anyway and log their activity. This information can, and will eventually be used by brands to create more specific and more targeted content with real relevance to the consumer.

To take the example of the fitness trackers, which are hugely popular. This could be a person who regularly reaches their step goal, or perhaps sleeps really poorly each night. It’s not too hard to imagine a brand-oriented platform which can take this data being generated and allow brands to promote on this. For the person who reaches their step count, it could be a healthy snack deal at a local supermarket, or for the insomniac, a local bed shop or blind fitters which could help them sleep a little more soundly.

This might seem a little Orwellian, but it’s not too far off where we are at the moment. Masses of anonymous consumer are supplied each day to brands looking to advertise. Currently, these are restricted to your search or browsing habits. While they are already very contextual, they don’t really understand you as a person, their data is limited to what you’ve chosen to share (which for most people, is quite a bit).

To put it in context, there are currently 17 billion connected devices in the world, and this is set to grow, massively with 52 billion by 2020, largely this growth will be driven by wearables as they become more mainstream. That’s a huge amount of information being pulled together.  Peggy Johnson, of Microsoft, speaking at the Web Summit said that as a company, they now view the person as the hub, with devices such as Band being built around that.

It might seem cynical at first, but to use wearables to help promote content, in a more context driven way would be more beneficial to everyone. Consumers would no longer get annoying ads which don’t really have any major benefit to their lives, and brands would no longer be able to deliver information much more effectively. The resulting content is much more bespoke and makes advertising do what it’s supposed to do; deliver insight to the consumer and to the brand.

However, with so many different kinds of contact points with a consumer, a brand should always remember that, it is at its heart a more intimate communication. Beyond a TV advert, or a Sponsored social post, adverts generated by wearables will be specific to someone’s actions and their lives, it needs a much more intimate approach than before.

This is where the challenge lies as new technologies reach the mainstream, combined with a growing expectation from people that the content they consume will grow to match it.

Marketers miss the true power of the Second Screen

Second Screen TV Tablet

 

Increasingly, we’re being told about the ‘power of the second screen’ and how 60% of men, in particular, have their tablet, or smartphone in front of them while consuming TV content. This has given rise to a sea of TV/Network related apps which aim and espouse to give the TV viewer more immersion into what they’re watching. The days of non-interactive television are coming to an end. But what about when the programme isn’t on, does the second screen still play a role when you’ve gone to the kettle after your programme?

 

The answer, according to this post from Google, is an emphatic, yes – especially using their search and YouTube tools, obviously.

 

The report, outlines both YouTube and Google trends around and following TV output, broadly speaking, it shows a year-on-year increase of viewers interacting on YouTube with other fans, and the shows, while on Google, carrying out research into shows, cast, episode information, etc.

 

The data from Google shows, that in the immediate two week period before a show premiere, interest peaks on both channels, with viewers and audiences hungry for information on a show, while current and long running shows generate search and YouTube activity year round (possibly due to syndication when not airing), new shows have peak interest around the premiere, which tails off to a degree following this, until the season end.

 

What the data also shows, is that while people may still be using second screen apps, which are run, usually directly by the network or show – they still go back to Google and YouTube for the more social awareness aspect, and research into shows – basically to see what other people thought of it, what other people expect from a show and whether there will be more episodes.

 

While there’s a lot of information to digest, and not all of it particularly new, what it does do is allow brands who either sponsor a show, or have their products placed in it, to use the suite of Google advertising tools at the right time, for the right audience in an incredibly targeted manner.

 

An example of this might be, Jameson’s Whiskey – Don Draper’s whiskey of choice on AMC’s Mad Men. This show is slightly unusual, in that it displays both characteristics of a new show, and a recurring show on Google – the season hiatus which dragged the show break on while the show was on Netflix gives a good idea of both kinds of above search interaction.

 

Jameson can, with data like this, take the second screen away from the television, where people are already bombarded with ads, and are not giving the tablet their full attention, to the kitchen, where the viewer might go afterwards. Using specific key terms for ads, and SEO they can monopolise in the run up and duration of the show, timing ads to run during the show run, or catch up and repeat times – the growth of DVR and catchup services, unfortunately makes viewing times much more fluid in our On Demand world. Pre-roll ads on YouTube can also take advantage of the status of the drink within Mad Men.

 

Ultimately, as second screen grows alongside on demand viewing and contextual advertising, it’s important to consider that the second screen isn’t just on the sofa, it follows a viewer around their house, while apps are useful for during the show, people will watch YouTube or search Google around the show when they can give it their attention, this is where brands can monopolise on interest, it isn’t always about the flashy app, sometimes digital marketing is about the age old principles of timing, placement and emotional connections – you don’t need to be always on, but you need to make sure people see when you are.