Wearable technology: what it means for your business

Wearable technology appears to be having its moment. We’ve become obsessed with shirts that detect body temperature, wrist bands which count calories, or baseball caps with built in audio. 

We’re sure it will have a profound impact on SEO and content marketing but we’re not exactly sure how. The recent Mobile World Congress helped to shed some light on the issue.

The four-day event in Barcelona saw industry heavyweights falling over themselves to introduce new wearable technology products, and was attended by some 18,000 exhibitors, not to mention Mr Zuckerberg himself. It highlighted just how intimate our relationship with technology is becoming and it all started with the rise of mobile devices. 

These allowed us access to valuable information on a person’s location, the apps they were using and how often as well as the purchases they were making. However we were still lacking some key data about their physical state, not to mention their mindset; something which could revolutionise the way brands target their consumers. 

Fast forward to 2014 and products like Google Glass and iWatch have the potential to identify everything from the wearer’s pulse, to how much sleep they got last night, their glucose levels and whether they’re in a plane or climbing a mountain. 

Extracting this granular level of data allows us to be so much more specific in our advertising. Inevitably however, many wearable technologies do not lend themselves so well to endless amounts of content. 

This of course presents something of a challenge to anyone promoting their online business. Content marketing is one of the most cost effective ways of not only improving your visibility online but also connecting with your audience. It’s also something of a must following recent Google algorithm updates. Therefore marketers need to adapt to a dramatic shift in screen size whilst still producing interesting and engaging content. 

Smaller, more consumable content chunks

Probably the key thing to remember is that this content needs to be in smaller more consumable chunks. It also needs to be timely, specific and in context. 

Users of wearable technology (the Guardian estimates that there’s already eight million of them here in the UK), won’t appreciate a 100-word introduction, they’ll expect you to get straight to the point or they’ll discard you faster than Bluetooth gloves. 

Functional capabilities also need to be a serious consideration; things need to be kept simple if you don’t want users to give up in frustration. 

It’s also worth considering that over time, wearable devices are likely to become less dependent on touch gestures and buttons, to focus on intuitive motions, such as the flicker of an eyelid or a nod of the head. 

Visual content

We may also see more emphasis placed on visual content. The format of wearable tech as well as the way in which it is used means that reading large blocks of text simply isn’t feasible. Instead, images, infographics and video look set to grow. 

The popularity of micro content is already making waves, with tools like Snapchat, Twitter and Vine and this ties in nicely with the nature of wearable technology. 

We haven’t yet reached the stage where wearable tech looks set to enter the mainstream, however it isn’t far off, with the market value of wearable tech expected to reach $10 billion by 2015.

When we consider how long it took businesses to perfect content for mobile devices, I’d advise that marketers start thinking about wearables now to ensure they don’t lose out.

Ben Austin is CEO of Absolute Digital Media.

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