Weighing in on Wearables

Posted by WhatRunsWhere on January 7, 2016
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Were wearables on your holiday shopping list this year? Perhaps it was a purchase to kick off your New Year resolution of getting into shape? Even if it wasn’t on your wish list, there were 13.5 million health and fitness trackers sold last year, making it a booming industry, with numerous brands competing for spot on your wrist.

Major players making up the $700 million wearables industry include Fitbit, Jawbone and Basis.   So what made them such a hot commodity this holiday season? First, it’s a trendy gift to get for a family member, friend or maybe even yourself. Second, for those looking to kick off their New Year with some healthy resolutions, fitness wearables can help consumers get on track.

Now that everyone is settled into the New Year, we were eager to find out what kind of consumers top wearable brands were targeting over the holidays. Were brands interested in driving sales through holiday gift shoppers? Or did they see an opportunity to target the ‘New Year, New Me’ resolutioners? Find out below!

To determine what kind of consumers were being targetted by wearables, we analyzed the desktop and mobile display advertising strategies of Fitbit, Jawbone and Basis from the past 60 days in the United States. Here’s what we found:


First up in our investigation is Jawbone. After analyzing their strategy over the past 60 days, it was clear they focused on consumers shopping for holiday gifts vs. New Year resolutioners. WhatRunsWhere uncovered banner ads that each ran for one day in mid-November 2015. Given this campaign didn’t run into December or January, it’s likely Jawbone was not targeting New Year resolutioners.

WearablesThe creative also suggests a holiday gift shopper focus since they both feature the product image alongside an ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015’ logo. Since 2002, Oprah has released her list of noteworthy products each year around the holiday season to inspire gift ideas. Being on this list, gives Jawbone exposure to the millions of fans that look forward to Oprah’s Favorite Things every year. Therefore, it was a key logo to leverage during the holiday shopping season.




Analyzing Jawbone’s desktop distribution strategy revealed that one ad was placed through a direct media buy while the other was placed through Google Display Network. Below you can see the landing page these ads led to. You’ll notice it also includes the ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015’ logo which further confirms their focus on holiday gift shoppers.



Looking at Jawbone’s mobile display ad strategy, we also uncovered a campaign that targets holiday shoppers but with a different strategy.  The first difference was in the type of ads used. While their desktop strategy only used banner ads, their mobile strategy used a combination of banner and native ads, one of the major digital trends being used to serve holiday campaigns this year.

We also saw the use of different creative. For their mobile banner ad, instead of featuring ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015’ logo, we see the headline ‘Gifts for Every Body’. Although the communication is different, their mobile messaging still appears to be targeting holiday  gift shoppers. This ad ran from the beginning of December until December 23rd. 2015, which is prime time to target those last minute shoppers.


The native ad uses a different headline, ‘Shop UP by Jawbone’, to drive audiences to click. Although this isn’t a holiday specific message, the creative is similar to their other holiday ad and was also served during prime holiday shopping time; December 6th, 2015 – December 23rd, 2015.


When it came to distribution, Jawbone used Google Display Network to place their banner ad and Yahoo! Gemini to place their native ad.

After analyzing Jawbone’s desktop and mobile display strategies over the past 60 days, it’s clear they focused on targeting holiday shoppers. Let’s see how their competitors’ strategies compared.


Fitbit currently leads the wearables industry, and a look into their display advertising strategy could indicate why. Looking at their campaigns in the US from the past 60 days, we uncovered the banner and native ad below. Research indicated that the banner ad has been running since February of 2014 and is still running today. Therefore, this ad is targeting holiday shoppers, New Year resolutioners, and regular consumers all year round. The long run of the campaign indicates that Fitbit has seen high conversions with this ad, which is why they have run it consecutively for almost two years.


Going behind the scenes of their native ad, we discovered that the ad ran from mid-November 2015, up until New Year’s Eve. This, along with their landing page headline, ‘Get Fit In Style’, suggests they were targeting New Year resolutioners. Fitbit is encouraging those who are looking to get fit (for the New Year), to do so in style.



Looking at the distribution channels for Fitbit’s desktop strategy we see a diverse strategy, especially compared to Jawbone. The majority of their ads were placed through DataXu (58%) and Google Display Network (40%). A small portion was placed through direct media buys (1%) while their native ads were placed through Yahoo! Gemini.



Analyzing Fitbit’s mobile display strategy, we uncovered the two ads below. They both ran between mid-October 2015 and January 4th, 2016. The start time of the campaign, holiday shopping season, indicates they were targeting holiday shoppers, while the end date, January 4th, 2016, indicates they were also targeting New Year resolutioners.  Both ads were placed through the Google Display Network, a less diverse strategy compared to their desktop distribution.

Wearables Wearables



The final wearables competitor in our analysis is Basis. So far we’ve seen two different consumer targeting approaches from Jawbone and Fitbit. Time to find out whose wrists Basis was targeting in their campaigns.

Looking at the ads we uncovered from Basis in the past 60 days, you’ll notice they used both text and banner ads. Therefore, while all three advertisers used banner ads, Basis differentiated their strategy by incorporating text ads and Fitbit differentiated their strategy by incorporating native ads.



When it came to the timing of these campaigns, the banner ad ran from mid to end of November 2015, while the text ad ran from mid-October 2015 to January 5th, 2016. Therefore, we can come to the conclusion they were targeting both holiday gift shoppers (with the banner ad) as well as New Year resolutioners (with the text ad).

Another key indicator of the New Year resolution target market is Basis’ text ad headline, ‘Get Fit, Sleep Better. Stress Less’. Three bold statements that can be considered common goals for a ‘healthier New Year’.

The final difference we noticed when comparing strategies was in Basis’ landing page, which focused solely on selling the product. This differed from the other two competitors as Jawbone’s landing page distinctly promoted holiday gift shopping with ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015’ logo. Fitbit’s landing page hinted at getting fit in style for the New Year. Having a neutral landing page allowed Basis to target both holiday gift shoppers and New Year resolutioners.


Basis’ text and banner ads were both placed via Google Display Network, a distribution network we saw used by both Jawbone and Fitbit.

Let’s recap what we learned from this wearable industry analysis.


Evidently these advertisers chose different strategies over the past 60 days to target both holiday gift shoppers and New Year resolutioners. In order to fight for a spot on your wrist, these contenders differentiated themselves by using various types of ads, diverse distribution strategies and unique headlines and creatives.

So what can you learn from their strategies?

The holiday season can quickly become a battle of the brands. While you have the opportunity to grab the attention of both holiday gift shoppers and New Year resolutioners you need to ensure that whatever you strategy you choose is for good reason.

What were the right strategies for the wearables analyzed?

Jawbone had a clear opportunity to target holiday shoppers by flaunting that their product was one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. Fitbit’s year-round, high-converting campaign allowed them to fight for the attention of both holiday shoppers and New Year resolutioners. Incorporating text ads allowed Basis to go after resolutioners in a space that Fitbit and Jawbone didn’t invest in.

Using competitive intelligence to understand the strategies of your competitors’ holiday and New Year campaigns will help inform your strategy. By understanding how you can successfully compete, you’ll reduce your risk of spreading yourself too thin. Focus on what will work for you instead of what might work for you.


Topics: Digital Advertising, Native Advertising, Banner Ads, Data Driven Marketing


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