Loyalty & Rewards

Apple Watch Is Coming (And The Ad World Prepares)

Apple’s much-anticipated wearable may have plenty of health-monitoring features, but mobile marketers know what the Apple Watch is really good at: putting digital ads on potential customers’ wrists, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mobile ad network TapSense has already announced its own ad platform for the Watch, which will display full-screen (on the watch face) ads and use GPS on the user’s connected iPhone to get in-store or near-store notifications and geotargeted ads. It will also eventually allow users to pay in-store with Apple Pay and use coupons directly from the phone.

The company said it’s working with both app developers and brands to line up advertising that will use the new format, but TapSense and its partners “have nothing to publicly announce right now,” TapSense CEO Ash Kumar said.

Meanwhile, midwestern grocery chain Marsh Supermarkets is preparing to roll out its own Apple Watch integration with its in-store networks of iBeacons. The 81-store chain, whose stores are in Ohio and Indiana, is working with mobile shopper marketing company inMarket to prep its systems so they’ll be ready by the time the Apple Watch becomes available sometime this spring.

Marsh’s Apple Watch integration is intended to go beyond ads and quick-hit promotions delivered by beacons, though. The chain plans to fully integrate its loyalty program with wearables, Mobile Commerce Daily reported.

The iBeacon/Apple Watch program will let Marsh reach the 2 million shoppers who pass through its doors each week with its own app, as well as the numerous shopping apps that are part of inMarket’s network. InMarket reaches 18 percent of all U.S. mobile users, or 31.5 million per month, according to comScore. Its apps include Key Ring, Epicurious and ShopSavvy.

The integration will focus on both ads and CRM-related functions that will fit well on the Apple Watch screen, said inMarket CEO Todd Dipaola. “The first integration is a shopping list — you can do it hands free,” he said. “Suppose a shopper is pushing a shopping cart, has a baby in one hand and is using the other hand to pull items off the shelf. It is hard to have a paper list in front or to hold a phone. This makes it easier.”

As for Apple itself, the device-maker operates its own iAd advertising sales division, but hasn’t announced any plans to deliver ads to the Apple Watch — at least not yet.



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