Marketers welcome Apple launches

11 September 2014

CUPERTINO, CA: Bigger smartphone screens, an elegant smart watch and mobile payment: marketers have generally reacted positively to the much anticipated launch of new Apple products this week and are already exploring how to incorporate them into their campaigns.

Most obviously, the larger screens of iPhone 6 models – 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches compared to the iPhone 5's 4 inches – offer significantly improved opportunities for digital advertising, especially video.

Jason Kint, CEO of trade group the Online Publishers Association, told Digiday that it was difficult for marketers to produce a meaningful advertising experience on a small screen. "Larger screens are an opportunity for brand marketers to be part of the experience," he said.

The Apple Watch, with its HealthKit fitness-monitoring app, is likely to prove an attractive option for brands operating within the health and fitness categories, but marketers face the challenge of producing material for such a personal device that users do not find intrusive. And in any case, Apple is refusing advertisers access to data from HealthKit.

"The question to ask ourselves is not a media-specific question, but rather: How does the watch integrate into the broader ecosystem of Apple products to make life easier from a technology perspective?" Mark Yackanich, CEO of ad company Genesis Media, told Ad Exchanger. "And from there, there are a lot of interesting things you can do."

That ecosystem has expanded to include the Apple Pay mobile payment service, which uses Near Field Communication (NFC) to enable payment by phone or watch, and which some observers regarded as "the biggest game changer of the day".

More marketers will have the ability to "own the entire purchase funnel", noted Forbes, from initial ad to final purchase. "Apple Pay gives brands the ability to close the marketing loop, all on one device," said Will Kassoy, CEO of mobile video ad firm AdColony. "It's true end-to-end marketing on mobile."

And iPhone users are already more interested in this service than most. Experian Marketing Services noted that its latest Simmons Connect study found that 31% of adult iPhone owners would likely use such a service compared to just 23% of Android owners, and it expected the launch of Apple Pay would result in a significant boost to mobile payments.

It also addressed the fact that larger screens and NFC have been standard features of Android devices for some time, observing that one fifth of iPhone owners saw their phone as an expression of who they were, compared to 16% of Android phone owners. Consequently, many preferred to wait for an Apple-sourced solution rather than turn their back on a brand with which they identified.

Data sourced from Digiday, AdExchanger, Forbes, Experian; additional content by Warc staff