The worldwide wearables market grew 223.2% in the second quarter of 2015, according to a recent study by IDC. As part of the growing phenomenon of the iOT (Internet of Things), smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, are set to overtake the Fitbit as the most in-demand wearable device. But what are the benefits and potential challenges of this wearable data to mobile marketers?

Data Collection
There is no disputing that data collection via wearables can be extremely beneficial to both companies and consumers. The consumer now possesses a device that effectively acts as an on-demand lifestyle aid, syncing with their smartphone to deliver notifications, measuring personal health data and offering new ways to communicate. At last night’s highly anticipated Apple Event, the new Apple Watch OS2 demonstrated the innovative capabilities of this technology, as detailed by SiliconAngle. Through the AirStrip App, doctors will now be able to monitor pregnant mothers from home –and the Watch OS2 will be able to track both the mother and the child’s heartbeat. This is truly life-changing innovation.

For marketers, this living and breathing new source of data, direct from the customer’s wrist, has the potential to provide personalised user information like never before, which can make all the difference in a mobile marketing strategy to boost in-app engagement.

Engagement Sweet Spot
Airbnb recently described their new smartwatch app as ‘a messaging hub’ for their main mobile app, with rich, interactive notifications. This underlines the main difference of a smartwatch notification from its smartphone equivalent: it is hyper-shortened, easily digestible and requires single click navigation only. Although it may be more subtle in its delivery (a ‘tap’ on the customer’s wrist rather than a loud ping in their pocket), it is immediately interactive – a glanceable moment is all it takes to spur the customer into action.

Wearable technology therefore represents a challenging new era for in-app engagement and customer communication. The engagement sweet spot for wearables is only about 3 seconds, according to Forrester —not 30 seconds, as had been previously touted for smartphones. This shortened attention span demands content that is more relevant and immediately actionable.

Precise targeting
There is also an opportunity for smartwatch experiences to reinforce the app habit via alerts and micro-moments that are location-aware, timely, useful and bite-sized, according to a recent article by Mobile Marketing magazine. Watch owners will expand their relationship with brands that deliver on the right mix of content, cadence, trust and value. Using Audience Segmentation, marketers can utilise personalised information to deliver unique real-time messages to the user, containing contextually relevant information. Health apps, for instance, could take advantage of push notifications by targeting users based on their goals, previous in-app engagement and preferences. Apps could send short messages reminding them they are only miles away from that week’s running goal, for example, while the user is in the midst of completing a run.

This contextually-relevant messaging can be particularly powerful when paired with mobile location-based advertising. Using iBeacons, a supermarket brand could sync a customer’s in-app shopping list with iBeacons while in store, directing them to the correct aisle for each item through smartwatch notifications. Additionally, the brand could also suggest complementary items that may be of use, based on the customer’s needs. This information will serve to amplify the customer experience while providing the brand with an opportunity to upsell.

The key takeaways that mobile marketers need to bear in mind for creating an effective smartwatch in-app experience is to focus on creating subtle, straightforward and interactive notifications that require an easy response, a simple tap on the user’s wrist. The aim is to provide helpful, contextually-relevant and personalised notifications that make the user’s life easier, all achievable through in-app analytics and effective segmentation.

At xtremepush, our robust mobile marketing automation solution is fully compatible with wearables and smartwatch apps. We can help you drive powerful real-time interactions through dynamically generated, personalised communications. If you would like to find out more, simply drop us a line.