Report: Here come tiny ads on smartwatches

Advertising runs the web and mobile platforms, and ads are coming to the smartwatch in a big way according to analysts.


No matter where you go on the web or what mobile devices you use, you are confronted with ads. We may not like it but ads are the grease that keep the web turning. Firms are always looking for new ways to run them, and for new places to push them in front of the public. That's why they may be coming to the smartwatch in a big way.

A report by Juniper Research has forecast that $68.6 million will be spent on smartwatch ads by 2019, up from about $1.5 million this year. It attributes the increase to new brands of devices coming to market, with Apple in the forefront.

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The tiny screens of the smartwatch will necessitate new formats for ads that will catch consumers' eyes. That won't be easy, as advertisers will find that smartwatch usage patterns will be a formidable challenge to create effective ads. While smartphone users are looking at the screen for minutes at a time, smartwatches will only be glanced at for a few seconds. It's hard to flash a catchy ad that will grab a user's attention in such a brief time period.

This has to be done carefully, as smartwatch users will not react kindly to ads that interrupt a simple glance at the screen. When a buzz on the wrist drives a glance at the watch, a displayed ad in the way will quickly frustrate the user. Marketers will probably figure out how to avoid this, although based on existing ads they don't seem to care if they aggravate device owners.