When it comes to the dance between consumers and marketers, Apple can always be counted on to put the consumer first. It’s a formula that has worked well for their brand and its shareholders. Yesterday’s Apple event had a lot of news for consumers, but understanding the implications for marketers requires a bit of speculation.
The introduction of Apple Pay was clearly the big breakthrough for the advertising industry. Apple Pay is a contact-free technology that will allow users to pay by holding their iPhone near the reader using NFC. First, the new system reduces friction to the simple tap of hardware, and we all know people love convenience. Second, it’s a secure way to make purchases, which is good news for retailers who need to win back consumer confidence after a recent string of identity thefts. The card details are encrypted on the phone, hidden behind a fingerprint scanner and only a one-time token, not even the customer’s name, is shared with the merchant. Third, it should help close the loop and allow for better attribution of paid media in e-commerce.
The iPhone 6 delivered on the market’s love for larger screen sizes, moving Apple into two sizes of iPhones that are larger than previous models with the introduction of new 4.7″ and 5.5″ options. This puts Apple’s phone lineup on par with many of the most popular Android phones.
Marketers will benefit from more consumers having an Apple Pay-ready device, and as iPhone users do more data-driven activities on their phones than Android users, consumers that switch over will be more reachable on mobile than they were previously. Larger, high-definition screen sizes also give more display space through which to engage people with compelling visual content.
The x-factor is the Apple Watch. It’s clearly a strong entry into the wearables market for Apple, but key questions that will impact adoption (like battery life) still remain.
This is where the implications for marketers are the most uncertain. While iOS 8 will bring actionable notifications to the iPhone and Apple Watch, it’s unclear how the need to balance user experience will be struck on a more intimate device. And while health and fitness tracking can generate data for other apps, it’s unclear how well they will be able to use that data to trigger relevant advertising offers. It’s also unclear if consumers with an Apple Watch will be more likely to use Apple Pay. One thing we can expect, though, is further fragmentation of attention when people are watching video and TV.
While focused on the consumer, Apple’s big day yesterday was not without creating new opportunities for savvy marketers. Those that wish to take advantage should follow Apple’s lead on craftsmanship, attention to detail and putting the consumer first.