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Marketers gamble on Apple Watch app success…

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As the Apple Watch goes on sale, new research from digital marketing agency Greenlight, reveals that one in three marketers (32%) are thinking about building an app for the Apple Watch this year, while almost one in ten (8%) are already making plans to do so. Greenlight found that one in five marketers (19%) have ordered or plan to order a smart watch, while over half (57%) have no plans to buy one.

Marketers expect consumers to use the Apple Watch to receive notifications (62%), make contactless payments (56%), access email or messaging apps (48%), and remotely control functions on their smartphone, such as music (40%). Less than a third (29%) think consumers will use smart watches to shop online, while just one in four (26%) expect consumers to speak into watches to search the web.

The research makes a stark comparison to marketer’s adoption of mobile. Despite this week’s ‘Mobilegeddon’, which saw Google alter its search algorithm to favour sites that are “mobile-friendly,” less than two-thirds (65%) of marketers have already optimised their website to cater for mobile users, while just over a fifth (22%) have built a mobile web app.

Following Google’s action, brands with poorly optimised mobile sites may see steep dives in their visibility that could push them into relative obscurity for their key target terms. Despite pressure to maintain SEO visibility, just over half (51%) of marketers who don’t have a mobile website, plan to build one this year.

“The Apple Watch may be shiny and new, but it’s also completely unproven. There’s no telling how consumers will use it or if it will even take off. Building apps for it may pay off, but it’s a massive gamble; and one that most marketers aren’t willing to take,” said Andreas Pouros, COO and Co-founder at Greenlight.

“By comparison, Google estimates that around 50% of searches are conducted from mobile devices, through mobile browsers and its own search apps. Despite this, less than a fifth (18%) of marketers plan to optimise their website this year. With so much at risk, even marketers who have already developed a mobile website would be better off putting their money into improving the user experience and targeting mobile users than building a smart watch app that could be dead in the water within months.

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