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Ken Magill

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Apple Watch: Email's Next Big Challenge?

4/14/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
Just under one in 20 Americans intends to by an Apple Watch after its official launch on April 24, according to a survey conducted recently by cost-per-lead customer acquisition company Fluent.
 
Nearly 1 million people reportedly preordered Apple Watches when they went on sale on April 10.
 
By comparison, it reportedly took the original iPhone 74 days to reach 1 million sales.
 
According to Fluent’s survey of 1,247 American adults on April 7 and 8, 4.7 percent said they would buy an Apple Watch.
 
If Fluent’s survey is accurate, it means more than 15 million American adults plan on buying some version of the first iteration of the Apple Watch.
 
Of course, it remains to be seen if the product will take off. Power Mac G4 Cube, anyone?
 
But early numbers indicate an appetite for the product. According to Fluent, 6.3 percent of respondents said they would buy a future release of the product. That’s another 20-plus million.
 
When asked what their primary activity with the watch would be besides telling time, 30 percent of the respondents said health monitoring.
 
Also, 18.6 percent said they would use the device for shopping.
 
But arguably most importantly for readers of this newsletter, 13.5 percent said email and chat would be their primary activity with their Apple Watches besides telling time.
 
Yet one more device on which email marketers may have to consider how their messages will render.
 
“It’s way too early to tell. These things haven’t even shipped yet,” said Jordan Cohen, chief marketing officer for Fluent. “But I’ve seen screenshots of what email is going to look like and email becomes a text-only medium again. Big emphasis on subject lines and preheader text as opposed to image heavy.”
 
Cohen said one aim of the Apple Watch may be to help people be more productive.
 
“With the smart phone we’re all looking down at this screen 400 times a day, refreshing our screens to see when things hit,” he said. “With the watch, because it’s wearable, I could set a filter and say ‘only alert me when [something specific] comes out.’ If that takes hold, I start looking at my phone less urgently because I know I’ll get the information in real time,” he said.
 
“If you know you’re going to get that alert in real time you don’t have to waste time looking for stuff anymore. It could train entirely new behavior,” Cohen added. “The consequences for email marketers could be significant. I do not envision that many people tuning their watches to say: ‘Ping me every time get something from a merchant.’
 
“I am not predicting a death knell for email,” he said. “But there will be a decent amount of email being registered on watches and that means having killer subject lines and preheader text.”
 
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