Haptics refer to technology that communicates with a user via sense or touch (haptikos in Greek means able to grasp or perceive). For example, when a smartphone keyboard vibrates when you type, that’s haptic technology, or haptics, at work. Devices like game controllers and wearable tech can include haptics, too. The Apple Watch, for example, uses haptic technology to deliver notifications via gentle vibrations on the user’s wrist.
For marketers, haptic technology offers an intriguing opportunity to integrate touch into their content. Words, photos, and videos are well-known digital marketing territory. Integrating touch could open new doors for engagement—and more compelling content.
Stoli vodka is betting that haptic-enabled spots will grab users’ attention in a more engaging way than video alone. In new, brightly animated mobile ads, users actually feel their phone vibrate when a woman shakes a cocktail or a dog pees.
The spots only work on Android phones, however, meaning iPhone users are left in the lurch.
Limited research has shown that such haptic-enabled content gives brands a boost. Haptic feedback can improve user experience and satisfaction, especially on mobile devices, according to Immersion, a haptic technology company, and the ones behind the Stoli spot.
The tech also appears to improve brand recall and engagement. Ad platform MediaBrix reports that brand awareness for products in ads featuring sound and haptics jumped as high as 100 percent. Such sensory elements in ads also lifted mobile reward opt-in rates by 16 percent and mobile share rates by 14 percent, according to a press release.
It’s easy to see—and feel—the potential of haptic technology when integrated with compelling video content. To drum up buzz for season four of Homeland, Showtime released a haptic-enabled teaser through its Showtime Anytime app (again, in partnership with Immersion). Users feel vibrations when glass breaks or bombs explode. The vibrations are timed with music and become stronger as the tension builds, heightening the dramatic effect.
The unique user experience paid off: Showtime landed a click-through rate of five times the industry average and a 12 percent increase in mobile full episode premiere views, Google reports.
While haptics could bring video alive in unusual ways, the marketing applications don’t stop there. In the future, haptic feedback from an exercise app could cue a user to increase their exercise intensity. Wearable devices could notify you of incoming rainy weather with rain-imitating vibrations. And as haptic technology becomes even more nuanced, consumers could virtually “feel” products as they shop in just a few taps.
As marketing becomes more technology- and data-driven, marketers are becoming more reliant on IT departments for success. Indeed, Foundation Capitol predicts spending on software/technology will increase from 1 percent of marketing budgets in 2015 to 10 percent by 2025.
Initiatives like haptics demand that marketers work seamlessly with IT to integrate and manage technology. For better digital marketing results, marketers should embrace their IT counterparts in a few key areas:
IT and marketing departments need to be on the same page in order to give customers a consistent experience across all touchpoints. Consumers have high expectations when they interact with a brand on a variety of channels: mobile, social media, customer service, email, live chat, Web, and others. Technology systems are required to enable these types of interactions and engender customer data. When marketers work closely with IT, they can facilitate better engagement between consumer and brand.
The more data marketers can acquire from their customers, the better. Data collection, marketing automation, and segmentation depends on IT expertise. Moreover, data control and security are critical. Marketers need to work closely with IT to vet new marketing technologies and ensure data within those systems is secure while also accessible to both marketing and IT stakeholders in real time. According to Econsultancy, more than a third of marketers say they do not actually have access to customer data. Given how data-driven marketing is becoming, that’s a big problem.
IT can also help marketers evaluate which marketing applications will work seamlessly with existing technology systems while fitting with security standards and regulations. Marketers and IT professionals need to work together to analyze the benefits—and potential drawbacks—of marketing technology applications. If data from an application can’t integrate with existing business platforms, it may not be worth it.
For more digital marketing insights, check out Skyword’s webinar onew digital media strategiesfor increasing audience loyalty.