Wearables are all the rage right now. But are they more of a toy, or a medium to be taken seriously by advertisers? In a depth psychology usage study conducted in cooperation with concept m, we analysed the factors of successful advertising implementation on smartwatches and in virtual reality.

Wearables: digitalisation in two directions

Advertising success factors for wearables in an in-depth psychological media study.

Successful advertising on wearables demands that advertisers consider several key aspects. From the insights generated by the studies, we managed to identify the following three success factors for advertising on smartwatches:

  1. Situational relevance
  2. Personalised approach
  3. Content that immediately generates use

According to the findings of the study, generating true added value for customers is especially important for successful advertising on smartwatches. The three design recommendations for the advertising content concept for VR media are:

  1. Mastering physical involvement and personalisation
  2. Creating impressive experiences
  3. Creating simple, clear stories with a linear trajectory

Because situations in which VR media can be used are still very limited, it is important to stress that even selective use can create brand experiences.

Motivating use

When considering motivations that drive use, a distinction must first be made between smartwatches and virtual reality. Smartwatches currently serve the primary purpose of self-optimisation; their use is very efficiency-driven. In addition to providing a motivation for health and fitness tracking, they help cultivate a person’s image in the digital age.  They also serve as a notification filter. For the end consumer, however, clear USPs that create an immediate need to use this channel are still lacking. Virtual reality, on the other hand, is heavily experience-oriented. The combination of 3D and 360° effects creates a situation in which the consumer is immediately and fully immersed in the action, because the external visual reality is blocked out by wearing VR goggles. The motivation to use smartwatches and VR therefore differs greatly: in the case of smartwatches, consumers are most interested in efficiency, whereas VR technology revolves around the experience.

The commercial benefits of wearables

Smartwatches are especially attracting the attention of personalised location-based services. Personalised offers will find the most resonance. Ideally, they are based on previously tracked consumer habits or offers relating to health and fitness, as well as personalised product recommendations based on the tracking of physical functions. The benefit of virtual reality for advertisers is that they can create an experience for brands in combination with VR technology; the recipient often does not even perceive the content as advertising. The advertising impact of these videos can, therefore, be described as very high. The recipient is completely involved in the brand experience, brand values are experienced emotionally and ‘hands-on’, with a stronger feeling of connection to the brand.

Study design

In a depth psychology usage study conducted in cooperation with concept m, we were – for the first time – able to analyse the usage patterns and factors of successful advertising implementation on smartwatches and in virtual reality. 20 depth psychology interviews with digitally savvy 20-40-year-old test subjects in the summer of 2016 yielded some intriguing insights on usage patterns and the opportunities for advertisers. More detailed information on the study can be found in the 12/2016 issue of Absatzwirtschaft (in German).

We will be happy to advise you, too, on the successful deployment of advertising on wearables.

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