Remember when everyone said wearables were going to be the next big thing? When Google Glass launched in 2012, it was primed to be the future of connected devices. But at its consumer launch Google’s eyewear didn’t live up to expectations – not even close.

Google Glass was only available to early adopters known as ‘Explorers’, and it set them back $1,500. Users described wearing Glass as uncomfortable and complained that its capabilities were limited. After just a couple of years on the market Glass was discontinued, with Google insisting that the product was still in development.

However, despite the rocky beginnings, it appears it’s only the start for wearables. Research firm IDC has released its latest forecasts for the wearables sector, estimating that the market will see 213 million units sold by 2020.
As the range of product functionality grows, the motives behind consumers’ interests appear to be broadening too. For some, wearables have been seen as no more than high-tech fitness trackers, with Fitbits and Jawbones proving popular. However, Eriksson’s recent global consumer lab research ‘wearable technology and the internet of things’found, surprisingly, that fitness trackers and smart watches weren’t top of consumers ‘most wanted’ lists. In fact, consumers appear to be thinking of practical functionality first, with the most sought after wearable being a personal safety SOS/panic button.

The predicted trajectory of this tech entails many opportunities for advertisers, for instance in real-time geo-targeting. But more immediately we are faced with a series of challenges. It is yet to be determined how buying intent, engagement and other key signals could be measured, let alone how ads would be served.

As consumers increasingly adopt wearable tech their media consumption and relationships with other platforms will inevitably change with it. This has big implications for advertisers; as smartphones are checked less often, brands will need to ensure their messages can be consumed at a glance. There will be a heightened need to provide a seamless cross-platform experience for consumers as brands look to deliver short-form engaging content that translates effortlessly across all touch points.

Looking at behavioural trends within the wearable tech market, signals suggest to strong opportunities for brands who are clever in positioning themselves to help consumers get what they need at exactly the right moment.
Developers have to work hard to evolve the technology from novelty accessories to essential products that are fully integrated into consumers’ lifestyles. Developments for technologically integrated fashion, jewellery, glasses, and even contact lenses have to keep the consumer in mind.

As with any channel, brands who put the consumers first and focus on adding value through convenience will likely become pioneers of successful wearable advertising campaigns.