By: Mary Nevin Gauthier
The Health & Wellness space is poised to be the next trillion dollar industry, with the fitness and mind + body exercise segment accounting for $390 billion of this projection*. While this area has long been associated with cheesy infomercials and frantic summer bikini body promotions, the industry is providing marketers with the opportunity to execute some of the most sophisticated digital strategies in the marketplace and consumers
are taking notice.
Wearables will continue to grow, with advertising not far behind
With the growth of the IoT (see our article “digital marketing trends 2016”), wearables are more relevant than ever. While there was a time where everyone rolled their eyes at that relative who demonstrated their newest gadget at every family function, these days if you’re wearing it, you’re trending. Wearable technology, like fitness trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, and GPS enabled gadgets, continue to see substantial growth year over year. In 2015, 39.5 million U.S. adults 18 and over will use wearables, including smartwatches and fitness trackers. That's a jump of 57.7% over 2014. While penetration among U.S. adults is just 16.0% this year, eMarketer expects that to double by 2018, to 81.7 million users.
This projected growth presents marketers with an ideal opportunity. While the consensus among those in the space is to hold off on large scale advertising until a market leader emerges, things are quickly evolving thanks to increased app development and mass adoption. Once there is enough data and scale to gain an understanding of consumer habits across multiple devices, advertising through native ad formats will follow. The key will be for the ad to not interfere with the user’s experience—think a timely push notification as opposed to a full takeover.
Influencer marketing is the best way to connect
Social Media is an ideal point of contact for brands, with 74% of adults using social networking sites and 90% of today’s consumers putting their trust in peers, experts, and trendsetters to guide their purchase decisions (see our article on influencer marketing). With so many turning to social media to be inspired, challenged and motivated, influencers have become an especially impactful group in the health and wellness space. Kayla Itsines is a trainer who built her Instagram following from several hundred users to 5.2 million over the past several years, and she’s turned her minimalist e-book and app into a multi-million dollar fitness company, fueled purely by the Social Media community. On the other end of the spectrum, wellness veteran Deepak Chopra launched his own wellness app June 9, with the goal to “reach and connect one billion people, and help them lead healthy, spiritually fulfilled lives”. The Jiyo app seeks to implement successful components from other leaders in the health space, such as live stream classes, content around topics like personal growth, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and relationships and social sharing within the app itself. The continued positive consumer response to influencers and effective ROI that brands receive via word of mouth across key social platforms makes this approach integral to an effective digital health campaign.
Utilizing big data to personalize the consumer experience
While the question of how to best use big data continues to be top-of-mind in the digital space, some companies are already ahead of the curve. Under Armour has emerged as one of the best examples, heavily investing in both product and tech, and combining these innovations with a concise data strategy. Over the past several years, the company has made a number of key acquisitions, and last year assembled a digital fitness community across its four mobile platforms: UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal. Their unified health dashboard provides users with personalized experiences across all health touchpoints, from health related content and tools for workouts to activity tracking and nutrition. With a community of over 170 million users, they’re truly leveraging their data to be innovators in the space. Recently, they included purchase suggestions within the UA app that would recommend yoga gear versus running shoes, based on the type of workouts a user logs. The brand also recently partnered with the NBA, and rolled out an app extension that combines the UA platform with the NBA’s resources like training videos and tips from NBA and WNBA players, as well as strength and conditioning coaches, all in one place. By allowing data to influence their design across their diverse initiatives, they’re seeing organic growth and brand loyalty by engaging a wide range of users in an authentic way.
Wellness has transformed from a hobby to a lifestyle, which provides brands with a unique opportunity to use the digital space to reach their audience in ways that inspire and educate. MNI will continue to stay at the forefront to provide a suite of online advertising solutions to evolve along with the health and wellness industry trends.