The trend for wearable technology has taken off in the last few years, but it is set to grow even more this year.
In fact, it is expected that the number of wearables in use will reach around 250 million by 2018. When you consider the fact that this is 14 times more wearables than were in use during 2013, it goes to show that this is an area you need to look into in terms of your marketing strategy.
[Image credit: Marvel Studios]
What wearable technology is available?
Wearable technology is being used for a number of reasons and is being chosen for a range of functions. One of the biggest types of wearable is the fitness tracker, with both those with and without a screen display proving popular. These allow people to measure heart rate, minutes spent exercising, steps and quality of sleep. Formerly chosen only by fitness fanatics, these are increasing in popularity as more people push to get active.
However, as smartwatches become more accessible, cheaper and all-encompassing in terms of function, more people are switching to these in order to enjoy the benefits of a smartphone but in a much smaller package. This means that individuals can track exercise, check messages, take phone calls, browse the web and flick through social media all with their wearable tech.
Probably the type of wearable tech that has seen the biggest leaps and bounds in the last year is virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). The success of Pokemon Go in 2016 - even though the madness has receded slightly - proved that people are ready for AR, while VR headsets - such as Samsung Gear VR - have made this type of tech highly desirable.
Both of these areas are still developing - there is a lot of hype for the new Snapchat Spectacles - it is not yet clear how this type of wearable tech will factor into everyday use, with smartphones still being the go-to option for certain games and apps.
With so many options available and more set to hit the market in the months and years to come, it is difficult to know exactly which wearables you should factor into your marketing strategy. However, the majority of wearable tech is likely to impact digital marketing in similar ways.
[Image credit: Paramount Pictures]
Written content will be difficult to access
Written content is still, and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, a hugely important and versatile medium for online marketing. The ability to put across information, create shareable content and inform customers is invaluable and a vital tool to all businesses.
However, the limited interfaces provided by wearable technology will likely make reading written content more difficult. Smartwatches, for example, don't have the benefit of the larger smartphone or tablet screen, meaning those browsing for content will struggle to read full articles.
While you may need to start considering how content looks on a smaller, wearable screen, there is not much more that can be done to make written blogs and articles more accessible. This doesn't mean that you should remove these from your marketing strategy, as written content still provides great ROI when it comes to computers and mobile devices.
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Different ways of interacting with users
While AR and VR still have some way to go, these types of technologies are sure to offer exciting and alternative content types. If Pokemon Go showed us anything, it's that people are willing to walk literally miles in order to engage with more and more AR content.
Although your marketing strategy may not include an app that allows users to catch hundreds of different types of monsters in real-life locations, you can use this as inspiration for creating content that makes the most of AR. Adverts can pop up when people go to a certain place, content can be unlocked by checking into specific locations and users can connect with others who are engaged with your brand in more interesting ways than Facebook.
There is still a long way to go in the worlds of AR and VR before you can make any of these ideas happen, but it pays to keep an eye on predictions, trends and new technologies in these areas in order to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Doing this could put you ahead of the competition and ensure you're a forerunner when it comes to AR and VR marketing.
[Image credit: NBC]
Audio content to become more relevant
One of the biggest benefits of wearable technology, especially smartwatches, is the ability to easily control music and other audio content. Being able to connect wireless headphones to a wearable device and skip tracks without needing to get your phone out of your pocket is sure to be a big plus for those looking at this type of tech.
Not only does this mean that music is going to be easier to listen to, it will also see an increase in importance when it comes to audio marketing.
Last year saw podcasts increase in popularity after reaching around 60,000 active podcasts available on iTunes in 2015. It seems that many people are bingeing on podcasts just as they would on Netflix, consuming hours of them at a time. People are choosing to listen to podcasts instead of music when commuting and throughout the day more and more.
This, combined with the easy accessibility of audio content with wearable technology suggests that this is an area that you may want look into in order to broaden your marketing strategy and engage those using wearable tech to consume this type of content with your brand.
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Be ready to evolve
While certain aspects of more traditional content marketing are still going to be relevant as the trend for wearable technology heats up, evolving your current strategy, or being ready to do so, is important in order to ensure your content remains effective.
Wearable technology has a long way to go before it is being chosen by everyone, but it could be worth making smaller changes now to engage those that are using it or are considering investing so you can remain ahead of the curve. This doesn't mean totally changing your marketing strategy, but exploring your options and putting out feelers now could be highly beneficial in the future.
Being ready for the changes to come, especially in terms of VR and AR, could serve you well and ensure you aren't left behind in your sector.