It’s been a few weeks since iOS 9 hit the market and it’s already on more than 50 percent of devices. There are some key new features that mobile marketers must pay attention to. Here are three things in iOS 9 that are key for mobile marketers to understand.
Apple has enabled users to download apps that can block ads on the iPhone’s browser and it has led to a lot of hand-wringing in the media. The inclusion of ad blocking in iOS 9 does mean mobile marketers may have to adjust their tactics. Mobile marketers could look toward native advertisements (which can’t be blocked) for more effective results.
Brands also must place a stronger emphasis on their engagement strategy through owned channels like push notifications, email and in-app messaging. Advertising will remain a powerful way to attract new users but a proper engagement strategy is the only way to ensure those users remain long-term customers.
Smart Search Spotlight
Another nifty feature of iOS 9 that mobile marketers should be aware of is the enhanced search spotlight that brings smart suggestions to your search screen. In particular, mobile marketers will be interested to know that this interface offers app suggestions that can quickly enable the user to launch a recently-used app.
Apple’s iOS 9 makes app engagement even more important because it creates the potential for a compounding virtuous cycle. The more often people use your app, the more often it will appear on their device’s shortcut screens, which leads to more app usage.
Apple has also tweaked the way the Notification Center works, as messages now come in chronological order instead of grouping notifications by app. For mobile marketers, this now means your push notification is fighting for relevance with every other app on the user’s phone. If your brand doesn’t send a message to a user at the time they are likely to engage, your notification can get buried and forgotten.
A subtle new feature in iOS 9 that you may not have noticed is the inclusion of a system-wide back button. Let’s say you launch your email client and click a link that opens up Safari. There will now be a “Back to Email client” icon in the top left corner. This back button will also appear in an app that you launch after clicking a push notification.
It’s too early to tell what impact this has on app re-engagement—the icon is barely noticeable unless you’re paying attention—but this is another attempt by Apple to make the user experience as seamless as possible. We’ve all had that short-attention span moment where we’re doing something in an app, get a notification that we check out and then halfway forget what we were originally doing. The new back button makes it easier to use multiple apps in a smooth flow. Likewise, mobile marketers should ensure a seamless user experience by including deep linking within their mobile communication. This will get the user where they want to get faster, and will better fit into the overall experience of iOS 9.