Marketers embracing the world of wearable tech

There’s a new way for marketers to understand more about reactions to campaigns – and the answer is on the wrist. UK-based Studio XO has created the XOX Sensory Wristband to provide real-time data on the way adverts are received. The wristbands measure biometrics such as heartbeat, breathing and body temperature.

Most recently, the wristband was used at this year’s Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase, where 2,300 people were asked to wear it while watching an ad showreel. The wristbands were fitted with LEDs which would change colour based on their emotions while watching the commercials, providing Saatchi & Saatchi with a quick way to scan the audience for immediate feedback.

Over the past few weeks we’ve discussed the rise of wearable tech on the blog, in particular the Apple Watch. Global retail revenue from smart wearable devices is estimated to reach over $13bn by 2016 and over $52bn by 2019, according to Juniper. Up until now the trend has mainly consisted of health-monitoring devices but now the movement seems set to serve a new purpose, providing marketers with a new way of assessing campaigns.

But more needs to be done before wearable tech like the XOX Sensory Wristband becomes a mainstream way of gaining insight for advertisers in this way. Reducing consumer reactions into coloured lights simplifies feedback to an extent where it is of limited value. It would be much more useful to understand which specific elements of an advert resonate with consumers, the aspects that don’t and the reasons as to why. And to use this insight to iteratively improve the advert  during, rather than after development. Otherwise the value for brands will be too limited. And there is a longer-term issue that needs addressing too. What will consumers gain in return for wearing the device and sharing their data with brands? Unless consumers are rewarded for doing this, either intrinsically or extrinsically, they are unlikely to share their data with brands.

Tailored advertising on wearable tech devices will also provide new opportunities for marketers, particularly once Google – which received 84% of its revenue last year from advertising – works out the most effective way of executing this. But before it becomes a hit, there is still some work for brands to do to figure out not only who this trend will be most relevant for, but the best ways it can be used to engage with them.