Watch that? Advertising on smartwatches to reach $70m by 2019


Maybe you’re one of the people who helped sell out the Apple Watch sell out in a matter of minutes. Or maybe you prefer or its Android equivalents. Then again, maybe you can’t see the point of smartwatches at all. One thing that’s hard to deny though is their immense advertising potential.

According to new research by Juniper Research, smartwatches will reach US$68.6-million by 2019, up from an estimated US$1.5-million in 2015. The research company found that the two factors behind this growth will be high-profile brands like Apple entering the smartwatch arena and the consumer’s familiarity and acceptance of wearable technology.

The research further makes a case that the emergence of “an additional consumer screen” stimulates interests amongst advertisers. It further states that “a critical user base is reached most ad-spend is likely to take the form of ad hoc campaigns.”

Juniper also points that the migration and exploitation of smartwatches by advertisers should not be a native process and that advertisers need to device and implement an advertising format that will work on smartwatches. Though this is a fair caution, it must be pointed out that not even manufactures have completely figured out the exclusive role of smartwatches, if there is any. This is evident in what apps companies put on the smartwatch, surely then this should make advertisers uneasy about wholly exploiting the medium yet with their advert spend.
Further caution is noted by the research and that is brands will need to devise and implement new advertising formats designed to cater for the limited real estate on a smartwatch screen.

Read more: 4 reasons why The Watch won’t be Apple’s next big hit

“The behavioural differences between smartphone and smartwatch usage are likely to provide a further challenge,” Juniper says in a release accompanying the research. “With consumers viewing smartwatch screens for seconds rather than minutes, advertisers will have markedly less time to engage their audience.”

Advertising is about being visible, in being big and bold, how advertisers achieve this on a small screen and with shorter time from the consumers will force advertisers to think more creatively about their advertising.

Amongst the leaders in advertising in the smartwatch arena will be programmatic (real-time bidding) advertising, claims the report.

“Programmatic advertising has evolved over the last couple of years from low levels of implementation to becoming an integral cog in the system.”

It is however not only this format of advertising that will flourish. One of them, according to the research, will be the trade between advertisers and publishers in the ad exchange markets.

Other findings from the report include insights into native advertising and rich media advertising. The major reason that native advertising formats are becoming popular is to their ability to seamlessly blend with the look and feel of a webpage and not be as obvious thus distracting the content consumer on said website. Where Rich Media advertisements is becoming increasingly prevalent is with regards to in-app advertising, and considering that smartwatch app industry has not yet blossomed, this could offer opportunities to advertisers to get involved in that space from the beginning, even influence it.



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