Advertisers prepare to invade smartwatches

“Advertisers are getting ready to invade your new smartwatch’s screen,” Olga Kharif reports for Bloomberg. “Anticipating a boom in wearables after the introduction of the Apple Watch, digital advertising agencies are rushing to create ads and marketing messages for the nascent industry.”

“In the past few months, about 15,000 people using the Golfshot app on their Android-based smartwatches saw a message take over the screen for five seconds,” Kharif reports. “It started with ‘sponsored by.’ It’s among the first wearable ads to go live, and in the future, no product with a Web-connected screen will be safe, from home coffee makers to cars.”

Smartwatch ads are coming
Smartwatch ads are coming
(photo illustration: MacDailyNews)
“Smartwatches let advertisers grab consumers’ attention immediately, no matter what they are doing. And it’s not just about screen space. Extra sensors that collect data such as the pulse, movements and even skin temperature could help marketers better target their ads,” Kharif reports. “User-tracking policies for smartwatches are still in flux. While most mobile apps block cookies, the pieces of code that track users on their PCs, some smartwatches such as Pebble allow them.”

“Apple Inc.’s watch, which can notify users of incoming messages and motivate them to reach their activity goals, is predicted to be a game changer in the industry and help boost sales of wearables fivefold this year to $12.1 billion, based on data from researcher IDC,” Kharif reports. “Apple has been keen to protect users’ privacy. The watch’s developer guidelines don’t provide clear instructions for advertising, Greenberg said, though many ad executives believe they’ll be able to send sponsored notifications or offers to the device via apps. Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s leadership and commitment to privacy should serve Apple Watch users well.

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.</em

Apple CEO Tim Cook, September 18, 2014

Related articles:
Apple CEO Cook: Unlike some other companies, Apple won’t invade your right to privacy – March 2, 2015
Apple thinks different about privacy – September 23, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Why Apple really values your privacy – unlike Google, Facebook, or Amazon – June 25, 2014


  1. I barely tolerate ads on my iPad or iPad and avoid whenever possible by paying for apps. I won’t tolerate ads on my wrist- I hope Apple tightens this up.
    In positive news, got my Apple watch yesterday, one day before the promised start of the delivery period (5/13- 5/29). I ordered about 12:06 on the first day.

    1. First — no company is always right.

      Second, don’t you know that Apple runs a huge advertising agency? All those iAds on your iPhone were put there by our favorite company — and I hate those ads with a passion. Why can’t we try out iOs apps without ads !?!?!?!?!?

  2. I truly hate the uninvited intrusiveness of the advertising world. I am sure that they must be working hard on how to invade and post ads in our dreams while we sleep…

    Ad slime – maybe we need a horror movie about that – “no refuge” from advancing sludge.

    The mobile experience has been greatly damaged by the ad world. I especially hate trying to read a news article on a page that is designed to make it next to impossible to know where to click to go to the next page of the article (with many big “next” buttons on the page that take you to ads), and which often causes the page to jump around so that you unintentionally click on an ad instead of scrolling in the article you are reading or trying to navigate to the next page.

    Their tactics make a compelling argument for disconnecting digitally, adding to the argument/truth that the best connections with people are in the real world, face to face, not through texting or posting and reading Facebook, etc.. I always find it frustrating being in a room with people who are supposed to be visiting each other, but are all glued to their phones, texting away to someone not in the room.

  3. Let us get things clear here.

    If Apple remains consistent with their current privacy strategy, you will NEVER see an add on Apple’s own AW apps (or anywhere within the system).

    HOWEVER, app makers will be given the opportunity to monetise their software through advertising, the same way you have iAd toolkit that allows for displaying advertising inside third-party apps. You as the user will have the ultimate control whether you want to see ads or not. If you don’t, like the ads, delete those third-party apps that show ads (or buy premium versions that don’t use advertising).

    I don’t think this is any different from the iOS apps of today. If you are a person who doesn’t want to see ads, you will never see them, as long as you don’t download ad-supported apps.

    Bottom line: Apple will NEVER push ads on you, but they will allow third-party app developers to do this if they so wish. Users will decide (with their wallets) whether they want ads or not.

    1. Amen, delete any app that arrogantly foists a ad on the watch. Then let others on MDN know about the app and give it horrible reviews in the App Store. And whatever you do, do not have any apps from Gaagle on your phone or watch.

  4. FYI – is anyone else having trouble posting comments from the MacDailyNews app?

    Today, no space key available on the pop-up keyboard (works in all other apps), making a post impossible.

    Last attempted post before that never posted – just came up with an error screen.

    This post is from my iMac.

  5. This is how advertising should work:

    There needs to be a universal wish list of products people want to purchase. Adding items to the wish list should be as easy as one-click. For example, I just watched a YouTube video about the new Lily drone. I want to purchase this product sometime in the future. YouTube needs to have an “add this to wish list” button. All websites, in-app advertisements, physical publications with QR codes, Facebook, Twitter, in-video advertisements like on the Apple TV, etc. should provide a method to easily add items to a personal wish list.

    Smart Watches should be tools that provide taptic and visual notice when in range of wish list products. For example, imagine a consumer is walking near the shoe department in a large store. This person had previously added a soon-to-be-released pair of bunny boots to their wish list two months ago. These shoes are now available for sale and when the consumer is near the shoe department they get a taptic nudge and a picture of the product on their Watch. They click the image and a store map appears which leads them to the exact shelf where the product resides.

  6. Why aren’t Apple users upset about the advertising invasion of the iPhones — which Apple itself condones and participates in doing?

    The iOS App Store would be so much more desirable if there was an option for limited-time trialware instead of the 3 current options (ad-supported / in-app payments / full pay). There is no free software. Even Apple is collecting information on you when it offers you “free” software. Read the user agreement.

  7. This is an important and brilliant strategy on Apple’s part, they need not worry about loss revenue by banning ads from their watch nor losing developers. It will be an important differentiator between Apple and Android. Apple believe people will abhor ads on watches wasting battery life as well as interfering with a very personal device.
    Where doe that leave Google over the next few years should the smart watch gain more importance. Will they come out with a Chrome Watch?

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