How cool would it be to get your hands on one of those spiffy new smartwatches?
Sure, while they’re not exactly a household item just yet, but it’s looking likely that we’ll be adopting these types of wearable technology and using them to access the Internet in the next couple of years.
The Smartwatch and Local Search
We’re guessing the smartwatch is much easier to use than Google Glass. They also seem pretty similar to a smartphone, with a screen-based UI interface. Personally, I’m reminded of Dick Tracy and his watch, with his two way radio and such.
While you may not be interested in looking like a spy or a private detective, as a marketer you’re probably thinking of how this will impact local search. The real question is, what kinds of marketing opportunities exist, and will it change the way people navigate local search?
While we can’t really tell how it will change the search landscape now (unless you’re a fortune teller!), we can only do our best to guess what is going to happen.
Brand Alerts and Messaging
Having a tiny screen, users are going to want more concise content. Not only that, but they’ll want content that is truly relevant for them and information they want to see only.
I imagine there being opt-in messaging and alerts so users can choose what they want to see and when. Perhaps for these local searches, brands and business will need to make it easy to opt-in and out of messages, particularly if they only want local information for a short while (if users wanted to know about local events during their vacation, for instance). These messages also need to have relevant keywords that convey the core of their business. With this type of permission-based marketing, businesses have to be more aware of the types of real-time local marketing in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Going along with that, smartwatches might favor models for customized search, such as Google Now. Users might not want to put so much effort into getting the information they want (given the small screen and all). So the more users can get their search criteria pre-filtered, the better. Local business have the opportunity here to create apps that are hyper localized and relevant to get found easier. I can also see local businesses collaborating together on creating customized search apps.
More Location and Proximity-Triggered Interactions
One advantage smartwatches might have over smartphones is the increased use when triggering location and proximity-based interactions. The fact that users would simply have to look at their wrists or wave their wrist over a sensor to accept a coupon, for example, means that it’s more likely people will respond to these types of interactions given how easy it could be.
If it can be that much easier to gain a user’s attention, then local businesses would be wise to start implementing some sort of location or proximity-triggered interactions now. That way, by the time smartwatches increase in popularity, these businesses can fine tune their content marketing to get found much easier than their competition.
It’s a no-brainer that location-specific keywords are going to be more important with smartwatches. If a user is accessing information on the go (and on a smaller screen no doubt), surely users want information targeted to their location.
Given that location is one of the most important factors that influence real-time consumer behavior, businesses need to focus more than ever on relevant local content (think offers and opportunities) and local search optimization. And all this content needs to be based on where the customer is.
Users will most likely rather digest content in app form, since apps tend to be easier to use than scrolling through website content, and especially on a screen so small. Location-based queries will still reign supreme, I predict, but I think that users will also want to search for apps that help them digest information faster.
What does this mean? Simply put, brands might want to consider creating apps that give concise, streamlined content and tools, rather that it mimic their website. As well, smartwatch users will most likely skip the app store and search for apps using a voice command using the watch’s built-in search engine.
While we won’t really know how well these smartwatches will take off, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the changes that it will have on local search. Businesses need to realize that they need to diversify their local marketing strategies beyond mobile and searches done on a desktop computer. Smartwatch users will probably look for different type of content altogether.
The lesson here? Figure out what digestible information your customers want. Do the research now, or risk being behind later.
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