Marketing-Friendly Apple Features: Boosting Engagement

Apple iOS 14.5 iPhone 12 feature

Keeping up with technology innovation and version updates at Apple can be a daunting exercise. But savvy marketers know that in order to remain competitive, you need to test and investigate all channels in order to remain engaged with your audience.

Apple recently announced two major technology advancements that hold significant importance for marketers: Live Activities and iOS Web Push. These new features allow companies to optimize their mobile web presence, enhance customer communication on a broader variety of devices, and ultimately, drive conversions and brand affinity.

Leveraging iOS Web Push: Unlocking a New Audience

Push notifications have become an increasingly popular communication channel in recent years. Web push has gone from a new and little-known channel to one used by many top websites. It can deliver messages in real time with express user consent, without the need to install a separate app. Unlike SMS or email, web push has a standardized opt-in and opt-out mechanism that prevents spam and better showcases the messages that users actually want to receive.

Until recently, Apple did not support web push on iOS devices, which limited brands’ reach to only those who had downloaded their app. Now with mobile web push for Safari, 1.5 billion devices worldwide are accessible to marketers without requiring an app download.  Web push only needs to be implemented once and will work smoothly across all browsers and operating systems. Notifications cost nothing to send, making them a highly cost-effective option. With web push support on iPhones and iPads, this has become an even more valuable channel for engagement; nearly 30% of global users are on iOS.

While the benefits of incorporating iOS Web Push into a communication strategy are clear, encouraging users to actually opt in to receive push notifications requires strategic thought and can be challenging. To increase opt-in rates, it’s crucial to have a clear call to action motivating users to subscribe by highlighting the benefits of receiving push notifications. Timing is also critical, as requesting users to opt-in immediately upon entering a website often leads to a high number of rejections. It is often best to allow them some time to explore the site before prompting them to opt-in, so they better understand the value of subscribing.

Extending Customer Engagement: Live Activities

This new feature enables applications to have a presence directly on a user’s screen in Dynamic Island for up to eight hours during any kind of live event: a baseball game, an airline flight, a concert, food delivery, etc. This allows apps to provide always visible, real-time updates on an Apple device’s most valuable real estate.

Live Activities present a number of benefits to marketing teams, particularly helping to nurture customer engagement and retention. By giving users information they want in an accessible, frictionless format, Live Activities make it easier for marketers to use apps for two-way engagement, driving loyalty and buying actions.

Live Activities also offer a more “sticky” app experience to keep customers in a session. In a 30-minute session, the average consumer switches between mobile web and apps five times. Now, however, the app experience doesn’t end once a user switches tasks. Instead, the app sticks to the home screen for up to eight hours, keeping it front and center for the users.

Live Activities also offers greater control over design, visibility and UX. It allows marketers to present real-time updates in a cohesive, personalized way, rather than sending static, transactional messages. Positive, personalized messages help encourage repeat purchases and build customer trust.

Integrating These Features into Multichannel Marketing

Marketers that take advantage of Live Activities and iOS Web Push will find novel ways to enhance engagement and increase the results from omnichannel customer journeys. These new features help to maximize opt-in rates, automate message delivery, collect analytics.

They also allow you to centralize the use of these new channels alongside existing ones (in-app, email and SMS), ideally within a single messaging or engagement platform. By implementing these new technologies, marketing teams will continuously find new ways to attract and retain users, drive traffic and conversions and increase overall ROI.

It’s important to remember, though, that legacy forms of communication should not be disregarded. Personalization is key, and each customer has different preferences. Maintaining multiple, coordinated communication channels will help engage all audiences, while being mindful of each customer’s unique preferences. This will improve their experience and affinity, and provide you with all the benefits that come with enhanced loyalty.

Apple is finally creating more marketing-friendly features that will have downstream benefits for companies that are savvy enough to take advantage of them.

Josh Wetzel is Chief Revenue Officer at OneSignal