Marketing Across Wearables And OTT Devices: Should Your Brand Take The Leap?

The path of least resistance will lead to consumers flowing into these emerging marketing channels.

Marketing Across Wearables And OTT Devices: Should Your Brand Take The Leap?

From smartphones and wearables to smart televisions and connected devices, consumers seem to be addicted to anything digital. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—we live in a hyperconnected world, and for the most part, we all seem to love it.

But, even though we have countless connected devices at our disposals, most of us tend to gravitate toward the easiest, quickest, or most pleasurable device to use for a specific need. No one is going to get off the couch during a baseball game to check a pitcher’s earned-run average (ERA) on his or her desktop—especially when there is a highly capable digital device within arm’s reach.

While marketing across wearables and connected devices—particularly over-the-top (OTT) devices—is a relatively new concept, there is already an evolving catalog of best practices we could all learn a thing or two from. It’s also important to consider how the path of least resistance will lead to consumers flowing into these emerging marketing channels.

Marketing Down The Path Of Least Resistance

Imagine for a moment that you are looking out a window on a rainy day, taking notice of the raindrops covering the glass. The raindrops that grow too heavy to stick to the outer glass will eventually drip downward, racing toward the bottom by taking the path of least resistance.

Consumers behave in a similar fashion and almost always follow the path of least resistance when engaging with their digital devices—and that path is growing. According to eMarketer’s first wearables forecast, the number of people using wearables in the U.S. is expected to rise from 39.5 million in 2015 to 81.7 million in 2018, effectively doubling over a three-year period. A similar forecast from eMarketer, this time covering OTT-video viewership, shows 181 million Americans will watch video via OTT-video services in 2016, rising 3.3% from the previous year.

It’s easy to see why consumers are embracing wearables and OTT devices at breakneck speed. Such digital channels connect consumers with the content they want, when and where they want it. Sooner or later, your brand may develop an app for a wearable, OTT, or both. Brands working right now to create apps for wearables and OTT devices are getting a head start on the competition while establishing valuable footholds across these expanding digital channels.

Comparing Wearable And OTT Devices

At first glance, the differences between wearables and connected devices are striking, but one look below the surface reveals key similarities between the two device types where it really counts: the customer experience. You are probably already aware of the vastly different interaction times between the two device types as well as disparities in screen size, how each device is controlled, and how many users connect with each device.

The similarities between wearables and OTT devices, however, tell marketers much about the customers they are seeking to engage. Today’s consumers crave simplicity, and both OTT and wearable devices give them everything they want with minimal obstacles to disrupt their journeys. Consider the simplicity of the grid layout delivered via OTT device or the ability to send and receive quick updates and responses across a wearable device. By embracing the simplicity of navigation and use cases across wearables and OTT devices, marketers are connecting consumers to the content they want while working to eliminate resistance in the process.

Should Your Business Make The Leap?

Deciding to venture down the road of developing a wearables app, an OTT app, or both is a big decision that should never be taken lightly. Before determining whether wearable- and/or OTT-app development is the right move for your brand, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is there value in providing customers with quick, simple, and hyper-relevant actions and updates? This is where wearable-device marketing excels. Delivering breaking-news headlines, order-status updates, or contextual experiences—such as vibrating alerts that notify smartwatch users that their rides have arrived—are helpful and memorable ways for brands to engage customers across wearable devices.

2. Is there value in connecting content and customer interactions to deliver engaging experiences? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend over half their leisure time watching television—almost three hours each day. That’s a lot of opportunity for engagement, especially across connected devices. With OTT devices, information and action options can be overlaid on top of displayed content, connecting your content to customer interactions.

3. Are there psychographic needs that could be met through an immersive affinity app? Turning customers into brand advocates begins by connecting with your customers on an emotional level. This could come in the form of a banking app that gives customers financial peace of mind, an online retailer that makes customers feel good about purchases, or a travel agency that ignites a customer’s sense of adventure—to name a few. Although we tend to focus on media when discussing OTT, these use cases demonstrate how transactional companies may benefit from developing OTT apps as well.

Just like raindrops, customers will follow the paths of least resistance. While it’s important to keep this in mind when considering and developing an app for wearable and OTT devices, it’s also necessary to track customer behavior during the analytic and optimization phases.

When it comes to marketing across wearables and connected devices, identifying the customer’s path of least resistance will determine whether your marketing is getting the screen time it deserves.

Do you know which paths your customers are taking?