Majority Of Americans Have An IoT Device — And They’re Open To Advertising

From fitness trackers to connected TVs to smart watches, consumers are rapidly embracing the Internet of Things. And an IAB report finds they're amenable to ads on those screens.

The Internet of Things has quickly gone from experimental gadgets for early tech adopters to mainstream consumer items, as a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau finds that two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) say they at least own one IoT device.

And a sure sign that consumers have deeply embraced products such as connected TVs, smart watches, fitness trackers, internet-enabled appliances, is the willingness of 65 percent of consumers who say they are interested in receiving marketing messages on their IoT devices.

Location Tech At The Center of IoT

That validates the ideas of many location-based marketing platforms, especially those that traffic in geo-data from connected devices and proximity tools like beacons for in-store communications between brands and consumers.

For years, the promise of these tools is that consumers have relied on their connected devices to satisfy questions about where to go to find products they want to buy. As devices allow for greater personalized marketing, consumers are saying they accept it.

Furthermore, the profile of IoT owners is one that has wide appeal to a broad range of marketers, as these people are likely to be parents ages 18-34, with college educations and household incomes above the national $50K average.

Zebra IoT

The Marketing Use Case For Usefulness

Nevertheless, the interest in IoT goes beyond a single demographic, as the survey also found that pretty much everyone — 97 percent — of survey respondents are aware of IoT devices.

And while most consumers have no idea what a beacon is, they do want their personal devices to have the ability to get them the products they want. And that’s the basis for accepting ads, particularly if they’re customized according to place and time, which paves the way for an even wider role for location marketing technology.

But the message to advertisers about what kind of marketing consumers are willing to receive is just as clear: the word “usefulness” tops the list of reasons why a person owns a connected device. Other reasons, such as “convenience” and “coolness” are fairly low on the list.

“Vigorous growth in familiarity and IoT usage is fueling interest among consumers—and brands need to pay attention,” said Patrick Dolan, EVP and COO of the IAB, in a statement. “To access the coveted IoT audience that is already open to receiving ads on their devices, advertisers need to consider ‘added incentives’ for their messages. As adoption continues and marketers learn to weave the Internet of Things into their strategies, tomorrow’s prospects for IoT as a marketing platform will be very bright.”

Among the other topline findings in the report, which was conducted by MARU/VCR&C and included over 1,200 U.S. adults in August 2016:

  • Connected cars (37 percent)
  • Wearable health trackers (32 percent)
  • Internet-enabled home control devices/systems (31 percent)
  • Internet-enabled voice command systems (31 percent)
  • Internet-enabled appliances (30 percent)
  • VR headsets (30 percent)
  • Smart watches (27 percent)
  • Smart glasses (21 percent)
About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.