Apple Watch to Feature Apps For Facebook, Pinterest, Yahoo News

Publishers, Media Buyers Unclear on Wearable Ads

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Apple will release its first wearable device, Apple Watch, early next year.
Apple will release its first wearable device, Apple Watch, early next year. Credit: Apple

Apple's smart watch won't be released until early next year, but the company is already stocking up its wearable app store.

Facebook, Yahoo, Pinterest and Twitter are among the companies developing apps for Apple Watch, which the company unveiled on Tuesday. While those four companies operate ad-supported businesses, marketers shouldn't rush to prep campaigns for the companies' even-smaller-screen apps.

Apple VP Kevin Lynch only showed the ability to receive and act on Facebook notifications, but gave a slightly more in-depth look at a couple other social networks' wearable apps. Twitter's Watch app will let people check their timelines and tweet. Pinterest's Watch app will take things someone has previously pinned on desktop or phone app with a location and show them that pin when they are physically near it as well as directions for how to get to it.

Apple didn't demo any apps from Yahoo, but a Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed the portal has created a Watch app for its news-summarizing app Yahoo News Digest.

"With Apple Watch, we've been able to reimagine Yahoo News Digest for the wrist, leveraging the great content already available from our technology and editorial teams and adding new features such as notifications and breaking news updates," Yahoo's spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. She did not respond to a question asking whether the company plans to run ads in its Watch app.

A Facebook spokesman said it was too early to comment on what the social network's app would feature and whether ads would be included. A Pinterest spokesman said the company has no immediate plans to run ads in its Watch app.

It's difficult to imagine how any of these apps might incorporate advertising. "You will not see a traditional banner" on Apple Watch, said MEC Global's head of mobility Rachel Pasqua. But that's not to say marketers don't want app developers to figure out a way for them to advertise on the wearable device.

Brands would be attracted to the device in part because of its diminutive screen size, said 360i president Jared Belsky. Unlike a desktop site that's littered with ads, the 38- and 42-millimeter-tall Apple Watch won't be able to fit all that many ads at once.

"There would definitely be an interest," said Mindshare chief strategy officer for North America Jordan Bitterman. "Just as advertising on a smartphone is different than advertising on desktop, the form marketing will take on an Apple Watch will likely grow have its own unique qualities over time."