Technology is changing the world – but are marketers ready?

Sony SmartBand wearableWearables are undoubtedly the biggest trend of 2014. But what does this mean for marketers looking to benefit from the opportunities that new device technology bring?

Wearable devices took centre stage at the recent technology exhibition, CES, with showcased innovations including Sony’s SmartBand LifeLog (pictured), Netatmo smart jewellery, and Runphones. These are all the latest in a line of smart device innovations that will see consumers move away from static devices and become increasingly mobile.

The growing proliferation of mobile devices is also disrupting the way that consumers buy products, with research from 41st Parameter highlighting that mobile commerce is growing by over a third (35%) year-on-year. In contrast, the share of online orders placed using non-mobile browsers declined by six percent from 2012 to 2013. eMarketer also estimates that global mobile ad spend doubled in 2013 and predicts it will approach the $37 billion mark by 2016.

There is no doubt that this influx of device technology can revolutionise the way that companies connect with customers and open up dynamic opportunities for advertisers to target relevant audiences. The message is simple: mobile technology is right here, right now, and marketers can no longer afford to be blind to consumers shifting to new devices

To benefit from the opportunities afforded by this new technology, organisations need to implement the right technology to identify these devices, at scale to deliver the right experience for their customers. And marketers need to adopt universal solutions in order to recognise and reach audiences regardless of the device they are using, whilst honouring consumer and publisher rights. Solutions like this will allow for the delivery of consistent messaging to consumers, and ensure that brands and marketers don’t become blind to their increasingly mobile audiences.

In order to fully overcome the challenges of mobile innovation marketers will also require the same controls they enjoy so readily on desktop – such as conversion tracking, frequency capping, audience targeting and retargeting. By offering marketers these tools on mobile, alongside campaign insights and analytics, the industry will ensure that brands and advertisers can keep sight of their ever-expanding mobile audience.

So for marketers looking to benefit from new mobile innovations including wearable devices, what steps do they need to take?

  • Stop relying on outmoded methodologies of measurement and tracking such as cookies, which don’t work across mobile devices
  • Recognise that there is no single solution; native identifiers such as IDFA, single-sign on environments such as Facebook and Twitter, only provide one view of a highly fragmented landscape. Build bridges and together they become extremely powerful.
  • Walk before you run! Multi-device tracking solutions, geo-conquesting, data-driven mobile marketing are all very well and good, but without getting your proverbial ID ducks in a row, the long term benefit, understanding and genuine possibilities for these solutions will be shorted
  • Be cognisant of how your choices will affect your business- and that legislation and guidelines in regard to consumer choice are still in flux.

By investing in the right universal audience identification methodology and deploying that solution within their network of partners in the ad tech ecosystem, brands and marketers can ensure they are ready for the latest innovation, as well as legislation, regardless of the new device added to the marketing toolkit – or wardrobe – for that matter.

James Collier is Regional MD, EMEA at AdTruth.