“Progress is a beautiful thing” and the iOS 8 actionable notification center is pure progress. Apple announced another huge step forward in mobile communication today at the Worldwide Developers Conference: interactive notifications, available in September as part of its new mobile operating system, iOS 8.
Demoed only a few hours ago, commentary has largely centered on what this means for Apple’s mobile users. But what about the implications for app developers and mobile-focused brands?
Key Takeaways for Brands:
Push is a core communication channel: Apple continues to iterate in the area of mobile messaging, and these new interactive notifications signal that push will continue to play a key role. As more and more brands leverage the power of push, Apple is doing its part to refine the value proposition and improve the push experience – from both the perspective of the brand and the consumer.
Two-way communication is the future, and it’s not just for messaging apps: iOS 8 push notifications make two-way communication possible for all genres of apps. Shopping, travel, media, sports, social – user interaction is a key tenet of practically every mobile application. Product and engineering teams track engagement carefully, and product iterations are based on this data around user interaction. Apple is offering brands and marketers the same valuable opportunity, by allowing users to interact with push notifications in the same way they might with text message or email. Giving brands the opportunity to forge two-way communication with their mobile users will undoubtedly increase long-term engagement and loyalty.
Product and marketing teams rejoice, strong marketing equals better user experience:From the perspective of the end user, a key element of these interactive notifications is the idea of more information, less disruption. Users can read and respond to notifications without switching apps, thereby facing less distraction while still having the opportunity to read, digest and respond to valuable information. Josh Constine at TechCrunch says it well “Actionable push could go a long way towards making our phones seem less overwhelming… The ability to efficiently respond increases our bandwidth for receiving alerts because they won’t constantly interrupt us.”
More than ever before, brands will have the ability to optimize the product experience while simultaneously communicating with their users. Although this opens the door to a number of new, creative use cases for push, it is important to remember that message content will always be king. There is no format that can make up for an impersonal or blast notification. It will be interesting to see how much the tolerance will increase – Kahuna will be tracking push opt-out and uninstall rates in response to these interactive notifications as soon as they are released in September. Stay tuned.
Use Cases for Mobile-Focused Brands:
Inspire 1:1 conversations by gathering user feedback: Interactive notifications give users an even easier way to respond to the brands they love. Leverage this by offering your mobile users the chance to rate or provide feedback through a notification – customers who write reviews are much more likely to stay engaged with your app, since they feel part of the brand experience. You will know, at a very granular level, what unique messaging appeals to each user. Another idea: Use interactive notifications to send surveys and gather immediate user feedback in a way that does not pull them out of their current activities.
Grow organically by encouraging social sharing: Interactive notifications mean no hurdles to social sharing. Brands should take full advantage of this growth marketing strategy. This “one click, no interruption to share” model will make it easier for apps to grow by leveraging their current user base. This makes personalized messaging even more important, since spamming someone then asking them to share will not end well…
Inform without disruption: Get the best of both worlds – communicate in a way that your message is assured to be seen, without appearing distracting to the user. Push is already the best way to send time-sensitive information (such as expiring promo codes or low inventory alerts) and interactive notifications strengthen brands’ ability to stay top of mind without annoying their end users.