Search Watch…

If Apple Watch is the game changer that makes wearables indispensable for consumers, how will this next wave of curating online data change the way we search? CPM sees three existing trends getting a major boost once we’re all sporting smart wrist-bound devices.

1. Personal health data will become the holy grail of self-improvement

The pump is primed with the Health app already on every new iOS device, surreptitiously counting every step we take and every flight we climb. A bevy of competing wearables, connected scales and diet and fitness apps are building a growing army of step and calorie obsessed early adopters. Watch is where all these platforms should find their mojo, as it removes major convenience barriers (like fumbling with an iPhone 6 Plus while running). Of course, this opens the floodgates for condition- and treatment-specific apps for everything from diagnostics to health monitoring to dosing adherence.

The first opportunity for pharma marketers is to make patient-centric content and adherence tools discoverable. From a search perspective, we see a sea change as consumer search interest shifts rapidly downstream from top of funnel “general condition” searches. It used to be that search queries were voluminous at the symptoms and diagnosis stage, forcing marketers to cast a “wide net” but the proliferation and “at a glance” access to personal health data opens up many more opportunities for “conversion-ready” interactions with informed and engaged consumers.

2. With a tiny screen, inbound marketers need to hit the bull’s eye

As we’ve seen with mobile tail already wagging the search engine dog, limited screen real estate and adoption of voice commands are precipitating more than a little tinkering with the algorithms. Long-tail terms are increasingly valued (due to voice search) and there is a huge premium for top 3 positions on the mobile SERP. Limited screen space detracts from the democratization of search, which means we pick our keyword battles and play to win. With Watch potentially representing a tidal wave of even smaller screens, the battleground becomes even more pitched.

3. Watch users are definitely not sofa-bound

Mobility is another existing phenomenon taken to a new level by Watch. Profiling users by screen size – from desktop to laptop to tablet to smartphone to Watch – at each rung of the ladder the user is less likely to be tethered to the couch, multitasking with the TV on. Tablets and even smartphones are perfectly serviceable for stationary browsing alongside their larger-screen brethren – but with all those options at home, Watch becomes little more than – well, a watch.

So as marketers, we finally have the closest thing to a pure play device type that is nearly 100% about the “where”, “when” and “why” of the search, not just about the “what”. This kind of consumer-relevant strategic context is what makes a good targeting strategy great. Watch forces us all to play our A-game.


Brett Landry