Getting smarter about smart devices

This post also published as a guest column on

It wasn’t long ago that the ability to drive to your local video store to rent a movie changed entertainment. Watch any movie you want, whenever you want?! Awesome! But smartphones have changed that even further: now it’s watch what you want, when you want, where you want. And smartphones can do much more, ultimately acting as a remote control for all your entertainment programming, much of your real-world wants and desires, and connecting to all kinds of other devices.

This shift has not only raised consumer expectations, but it has changed the game for tech marketers as well who need to inform consumers about these fast-changing products. In a recent study, only 24% of people claimed to own a connected device, when two out of three people actually own one—they just didn’t know it! Tech advertisers have a huge opportunity right now to better engage (and educate) consumers to influence their upcoming purchases this year.

Let’s face it.

Connected devices are everywhere, accomplishing more than people ever imagined—and this is only the beginning. There are tons of products to choose from (TVs, refrigerators, lightbulbs, and washers to name a few), decent interoperability (with plenty of room for improvement), and a wide variety of price points. But marketers face a big challenge: how do they show consumers all that their new devices can do, while making sure it’s simple enough to drive adoption?

In many cases, people are not associating their smart entertainment devices with being a connected device—because why wouldn’t you be able to watch a program on your TV through the internet? This lack of awareness about the connected device market provides an opportunity for tech advertisers to educate consumers.

What’s a tech marketer to do?

Get better at storytelling. In fact, content marketing is one of the biggest areas of opportunity for these brands today. Consumers are eager for information, and tech advertisers have a chance to create compelling content that alerts potential customers to the wide range of connected device offerings and what this can mean for their everyday lives. In some cases, smart devices have become second nature, but content marketing is a great way to dive deeper and show what sets one product apart the others. Plus, 32% of consumers cited online advertising as the top way they learn about connected devices.

But great content means nothing if consumers don’t see it.

With native ads, tech brands can seamlessly distribute their content marketing to the places their customers are most likely to see it. Combine this with the abundance of data and powerful targeting now available, and advertisers have the insights needed to successfully reach their customers with the products and messages they’re most likely to relate to.

And don’t forget about measurement.

Measurement tools can lead to even greater knowledge of who is most interested your products. These insights can help inform your future content marketing or other advertising efforts.

Connected devices are becoming more prevalent, so it’s essential for tech brands to step up their efforts and find creative ways to educate consumers on the available offerings. Because, while video stores might be a thing of the past, we’re only at the beginning of the story when it comes to connected devices and consumer adoption.