(B)logging on to the internet of things.
Analyzing the devices that analyze us.
The internet of things (IOT) is a term that can be loosely interpreted as a “dumb” device becoming “smart” through increased ease of connectivity to the internet via Wi-Fi. The most obvious example of an IOT device is a cell phone. Prior to the advent of the modern iPhone, cell phones didn’t serve as much more than a landline you can carry in your pocket (or in some cases couldn’t – think Zach Morris on Saved by the Bell). Today, cell phones track and provide a world of data, from how many steps a person takes to the number of minutes it takes to get from point A to point B, and they serve as a central hub to store an array of personal information. But beyond glorified pedometers, IOT devices stand to serve a far more meaningful purpose in terms of data extraction and analysis, particularly for digital marketers.
Real-time data availability and adaptability.
As an advertiser, imagine being able to alter your copy or graphics in real time based on sensory-like data inputs and analysis. That fantasy is now a reality. The internet of things transforms previously two-dimensional media into a multidimensional interactive experience that reacts and responds to consumer cues in real time. To illustrate, Lexus recently unveiled a billboard campaign that sends unique messages to passing drivers based on data gleaned from the vehicle’s make, model, and even color.
Advanced ROI through fully integrated devices.
Digital advertising is commonly measured through web analytics based on actions like link clicks, product page views, or contact form submissions. Return on investment (ROI) is then determined based on how increases in these metrics relate to sales or lead generation. This method does well in establishing correlation, but it cannot always pinpoint causality. The internet of things presents a solution to fill the ROI gap by providing purchase-intent data through integrated devices. For instance, let’s say a smart-coffeemaker, with built-in storage for coffee grounds, senses when coffee runs low, which triggers an alert and an accompanying advertisement to appear on the owner’s smartphone. The owner, a coffee lover, would rather die than spend a morning without coffee, so she replenishes her stock by simply clicking the ad. The sales conversion path can be directly traced back to the advertisement triggered by the coffeemaker.
Broader access to consumer engagement measurements.
In the realm of social media data and analytics, the term “engagement” is more popular than a Kardashian selfie. Deriving value from typical engagement metrics however – likes, shares, comments, follows – is commonly debated among experienced digital marketers; some value comments while others value likes, and so on. These engagement metrics provide a level of insight related to brand sentiment, product opinions, and other emotional factors, but measurement is typically limited to the digital realm. The internet of things grants the potential for measuring consumer engagement in the real world, through real-time interaction with smart products and usage behavior tendencies.
Our devices are learning more about us than we know about ourselves. The world is no longer divided into digital and physical, but instead it is becoming a singular, fully integrated environment, presenting along with it a breadth of opportunity for digital marketers. It certainly is a brave new world we live in, and we marketers should be ready to embrace it.