Brands, Content Marketers Explore Advertising Through Wearable Technology

It’s the year of the wearables. Smart watches. Fitness bands. Glassware. Your whole body could be armored in mobile gear that tracks everything from your location to number of steps.

With so much access to data, content marketers are looking for ways to use information gleaned from wearables for their next campaigns.

The Growing Popularity of Wearables

No single wearable device, such as Google Glass, the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch or the Fitbit Flex wristband, has reached the ubiquity of smartphones or tablets yet. But interest is grow quickly, and more and more wearables are entering the market.

  • Nearly half of Americans expressed interest in purchasing wearable tech in the near future, according to a Nielsen study.
  • Deloitte’s group of technology, media and telecommunications experts predicts sales of smart glasses, watches and wristbands will reach 10 million units in 2014. Those sales will generate about $3 billion in revenue.

Opportunities for Content Marketing

Wearable technology is helping users make immediate decisions based on their current actions, surroundings and the data the devices record. Wearables are capable of sending and receiving text messages, using GPS, shooting video and photos, and counting calories.

The Content Marketing Association predicted content marketers could leverage those capabilities through augmented reality, geolocation and push notifications.

Augmented reality and geolocation technology could allow content marketers to push notifications based on a person’s surroundings. For example, they could push sales alerts when a person walks near a store or augment ticket sales on top of a billboard for a play or rock band poster a Google Glass Explorer spots. The Trulia for Google Glass app utilizes this technology to give Explorers notifications when they’re near a home that meets their predetermined search criteria, such as number of bedrooms and price range.

User Generated Content with a New View

Brands could also incorporate user-generated content from wearables into their campaigns. Although Google Glass’ terms of services restrict app developers from displaying ads in the apps or using user data from Glassware for advertising purposes, it doesn’t mean brands haven’t found a work-around.

In 2012, Diane Von Furstenberg was the first fashion designer to put Google Glass on the runway at her New Fashion Week show to give fans an exclusive view. This year, designer Kenneth Cole used Google Glass to advertise his cologne, Mankind, by soliciting user-generated content.


The 21 Days, 21 Deeds challenge prompted participants to complete 21 small deeds in 21 days and take pictures with Google Glass as proof. Then participants tagged the photo on social media with #manupformankind.

That’s better than getting hit with an ad every time you glance up, right?

Challenges for Wearable Marketing

Brands and content marketers face new challenges as they brave the new frontier of advertising on wearable devices.

  • The number of wearable enthusiasts is relatively small. There are only 10,000 to 20,000 Google Glass Explorers. Deloitte experts said, “A challenge will be to get developers to create apps for a category of device with relatively few users.”
  • Some consumers are concerned with privacy breaches and lack of unique features on wearables. Three of ten people said such devices make it too easy to access their personal information and feel they don’t do anything different than devices they already own, according to a Nielsen study.
  • Developers must create apps native to the wearable device to be valuable to the user’s experience. Screen sizes on wearables are small, so banner ads are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Do you use wearable technology? How do you think brands could advertise through wearables? Share your thoughts below!

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