The day that companies have been hearing about for years has finally arrived - the time when connected devices have gone from visionary fantasy to market place.
Though far from ubiquitous, the Internet of Things (IoT) has clearly joined mainstream, and with consumers widely embracing everything from connected lighting products to intelligent cars, the market is forecast to reach $457 billion by 2020
“The shift to smart products and devices will transform marketing in many ways; one of the biggest impacts will be on content, everything from how pieces are distributed to what is consumed.”
There are four things that marketers should keep in mind about connected devices when developing their content strategy:
1. Search behavior will continue to shift
The nature of online search has been changing ever since Google Assistant and Siri were first introduced on smartphones, and today, searches are increasingly being spoken out loud.
Ove 20% of Google app searches are currently conducted by voice, and the proliferation of connected products such as smart remotes and speakers is expected to increase this number, with over half of searches forecast to be conducted via voice in 2020.
This is important for content creators because typed searches and voice searches are different, with research showing that voice searches tend to be longer, incorporating more question words and other natural-language elements. To adapt to this new way of searching, new approaches to SEO will have to be introduced, and existing tactics will have to be updated.
2. New opportunities surface for content consumption
While content creation is often thought of as zero-sum game, the reality is more nuanced. Emerging technologies can not only alter existing habits, but also spark fresh behaviours which increase the total time which users spend with content - behaviours such as reading on a mobile device while also while watching television, aka second screening.
A host of new content consumption opportunities are likely to be introduced by connected devices. Examples of this could include small multi-tasking windows, such as recipes presented on kitchen appliances connected to the internet, or other large swathes of time which were previously unavailable, where businesses could connect with consumers via Internet-enabled, self-driving cars.
Deloitte Consulting, in a paper exploring the future of mobility, posits that smart platforms could soon be turning commutes into lengthy opportunities for consumers to engage with content.
“[Platforms will] extend the media experience to the vehicle, seamlessly integrating content libraries, streaming subscriptions, and social networking into each and every ride.”
3. Content will augment reality
Virtual reality (VR) tends to get most of the buzz, but augmented reality (AR) - the enhancing of real life rather than the simulation of it - arguably has more potential for content creators in the near-term, because the technology is more mature. Expected to grow from $11.8 billion this year to $60.5 billion by 2023, the AR market is growing exponentially, and companies like IKEA and Google are already delivering sophisticated AR experiences via smartphones.
The next step in the evolution of this technology will be to expand from smartphones to other connected devices - something which is already being explored with developments such as smart windshields that can display details about surrounding landscapes and directions.
Uniting the IoT and augmented reality has major implications for content creators, enabling information-layering onto real life - including ratings, explanation videos, addresses, related social comments, and prices. Rather than being siloed, content will be able to be integrated into the world around us with the right mapping and user experiences.
4. Contextual targeting will become essential
One of the major challenges content creators will face with connected device is that consumer tolerance for irrelevant pieces could become even lower. While nowadays, people can skim past content they aren’t interested in on web pages or mobile apps, ignoring unwanted or uninteresting content will be more difficult when looking at smart objects like helmet visors and shower curtains.
Good contextual targeting will be even more important in this case. The right piece of content presented in the right place at the right time will be valued, while irrelevant elements will not be forgiven as easily. Content creators will have to become more sophisticated with their data collection and utilization
The rise of connected devices has the potential to fundamentally change the way consumers behave, and though adapting to the changes will require hard work and creativity, those who embrace the revolution will no doubt be handsomely rewarded with new and powerful opportunities to engage their audiences.