Aol David Shing Smart Watches

AOL's David Shing on why marketers need to learn the language of push notifications

By David Shing |

June 3, 2015 | 4 min read

AOL’s digital prophet David Shing warns marketers to learn the language of push notifications if they are to exploit the proliferation of wearable technology.

The advent of mobile and consequently wearables is changing the role of notifications.

Whether it’s on a phone or on someone’s wrist, the sheer amount of information being sent to these devices has meant people have developed apathy to all but the most relevant and personal updates. From unchecked push notifications to annoying vibrations on a smartwatch every time a text is received, brands aren’t always leveraging the contextual data they have on audiences to create additive experiences.

The way that data is delivered to people’s devices is going to be very different and that’s something we need to think about. The lack of screen real estate on wearables means less space for brands and so thinking about it as another advertising platform is pointless.

There has to be a reason for someone to pull out their device if is going to deliver them any long-term value. That’s where the utility element of marketing comes into play because the notification makes sense on the device if it helps. It paves the way for the humble notification, once an afterthought of mobile marketers, to become a core part of the customer experience on smaller screens as devices move from visual displays to utility displays.

You’re seeing the power of push come to the fore with the arrival of the Apple Watch. Companies are already considering what type of notifications to push and the right time to send as the prospect of wearable devices going mainstream gets closer.

It’s a daunting prospect for brands and another communications channel they have to consider at a time of such rapid change. But the quickest and best way to learn this new medium is to ask ‘how do we get people’s attention?’ Viewability, clickthroughs and CPMs are all proxies for attention in some shape or form, yet they aren’t necessarily what consumers care about.

The basics of marketing still apply and so rather than thinking about how many notifications can be pushed to a device, the key is to keep the communications grounded in the knowledge of what they really want and why they should care about the brand. We all wear brands so we all consume their products, but digital affords conscious consumption because if people are going to spend time with brands now, they need to provide value otherwise they’ll switch off.

If you can actually access the mindshare of consumers through valuable notifications as part of a broader plan to be more useful in their lives, that might mean market share over time.

Aol David Shing Smart Watches

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