Respect the Wrist: Optimizing Your Apple Watch (And Other Smartwatch) Outreach

Todd Grennan By Todd Grennan Apr 29, 2015


Apple Watch Launch Day has come and gone – if you ordered early, you might even be wearing one on your wrist. But now that the Apple Watch has joined Android Wear and Pebble in the burgeoning smartwatch field, companies are starting to get serious about taking advantage of the new communication opportunities presented by these and other wearables. It makes sense that savvy mobile marketers would be taking steps to leverage this exciting new platform – after all, no one wants their brand to fall behind competitors or to fail to capitalize on the outreach possibilities that smartwatches and other wearable devices represent.

Looking for some advice on how to make the most of your smartwatch–related marketing efforts? Well, look no further:

Respect the Wrist
Some of the early Apple Watch apps reportedly feature default settings that will cause the device to vibrate every time there’s a new piece of breaking news, potentially leading to near-constant interruptions. That’s a great way to get users to uninstall your app and toss their brand new smartwatch into the closest drawer. Be mindful of the deeply intimate nature of the Apple Watch and other wearables – while that intimacy will create unique marketing opportunities, it also means that notification burnout is even more likely with wearables than other mobile devices.


Plan for the Future
Smartwatches and wearables are a very new medium, so predicting how apps and their users will engage with these devices in the long term is going to take time. Embrace that fact – don’t assume that the strategy you put together now for marketing to smartwatch users is going to remain static in the weeks and months to come. Instead, accept that the field is in a state of flux, and focus on making your marketing strategy flexible enough to change with the times and responsive enough that you’ll be able to notice when major trends are emerging to take advantage of them.

Smartwatches Don’t Exist in a Vacuum
The rise of smartwatches and wearables has expanded the field of devices that mobile marketers have to consider when crafting their marketing strategy. Given this, having the ability to send multi-channel messaging campaigns and being able to draw on robust user profiles that can track spending and other activities across a range of different devices is more important than ever before. Companies that don’t have access to these tools through a top-of-the-line Mobile Marketing Automation platform like Appboy are going to be at a significant disadvantage.

Curious about how the leading mobile apps are approaching the Apple Watch?

B&H has prioritized a minimalistic experience to suit the smaller Apple Watch screen. Its features are also focused on what’s going to provide the greatest value for the user. The four categories on the home screen include “Best Sellers,” “Deal Zone,” “Just Sold” and “Trending,” which is an amalgamation of the first three. As far as actions you can take with the app, by using Force Touch (which can distinguish a deep press on the screen from a light tap), users are able to add a product to the cart, add it to your “Watchlist” (a wishlist for later reference) and view in-app, which sends the product to the B&H app on your iPhone to make the actual purchase. By keeping a user’s options targeted within the app, B&H is successfully streamlining the app experience to be more visual and straightforward, which works well within the smartwatch medium.


Courtesy of B&H

Given that the Apple Watch doesn’t come with a keyboard, visual communication naturally suits the smartwatch. The device may not have a camera either, but Glide has leveraged its technology to create meaningful interactions for users. Video previews and notifications pop up on the Apple Watch and users can send customizable templated responses from their wrists, or elect to open up the video on their iPhones. The Apple Watch may not allow for the full live video messaging experience (…yet), but Glide hasn’t let that stop them from enriching the user’s way of interacting with others who use the app.

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze, you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.

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