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More Freedom, More Personalization: Mobile Marketing is a-changin’

When Google and Apple announce product roadmaps, most marketers start nervously twitching; what kind of tweaks will brands’ mobile marketing strategy require and how much harder, smarter and faster will marketers have to work to stay ahead of the pack? We checked

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It might happen every year, but when Google and Apple take to their respective stages to announce their product roadmaps for the coming year, most marketers get the chills. How much revising, revamping and reimagining will their mobile marketing strategy require before the year-end, and how much harder, smarter and faster are they going to have to work to stay on the front foot?

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The good news? This year’s announcements across the board met our collective expectations as privacy and personalization remained firmly under the spotlight; if you’ve been busy fine-tuning your mobile marketing strategy in line with intensifying industry focus on both of these elements, you’re now in a very good place to comfortably take the upcoming changes in your stride.

Here’s our breakdown of the latest upgrades from each event, what they mean for your mobile marketing strategy, and how to prepare your campaigns for success.

Google I|O frees developers

This year, Google honed in on its ecosystem, and the need to adapt quickly to rapidly evolving consumer preferences. The result; a focus on giving developers the much-needed freedom to build apps that function seamlessly across multiple platforms. We were also introduced to the much-hyped upgrades to their uber-popular Pixel Portfolio, and upcoming major upgrades for Flutter, their open-source framework that allows a single code base to be deployed across Android and iOS.

For mobile marketers, there were two key announcements that require a closer look when it comes to fine-tuning your mobile marketing strategy; push notifications and app store optimization.

1. Push and privacy

The change: With personalization becoming the critical element underpinning brand success, the last 24 months have seen both Google and Apple shipping upgrades that put app users firmly in the driving seat. Google this year continues its mission to give power to the people by providing app users with the choice to either accept or disable push notifications at the point of installation.

The strategy: Compelling app users to accept push notifications means demonstrating the value that these notifications are going to bring. Is it regular offers and discounts? Is it access to time-sensitive access to new product drops? Or maybe alerts for priority access to limited content? Whatever it is, follow our push advice above, get creative with your copy and compel new users to opt-in.

2. Play Store and optimization

The change: After iOS 15 upped the ante last year for apps listing in their App Store, Google was bound to follow suit – and so they have, in spades!

First, mobile marketers now have the opportunity to create a whopping 50 Custom Store Listings alongside dedicated URLs, driving traffic straight to them, and reaping the rewards that come with smart audience segmentation.

On top of that, the much-hyped LiveOps service allows developers to create multiple events, embed a deep link within each, and in the process greatly enhance the visibility of their app across the Play Store for both new and returning users. Even more impressive (in our humble opinion) LiveOps cards will incorporate analytics, giving mobile marketing teams even deeper insights into their audience, and campaign impact.

The strategy: With more than 60% of apps being downloaded following in-store searches
App store optimization is critical when it comes to audience capture. Add to that the growing focus on personalization and these latest updates give marketers the perfect opportunity to capture the attention of their various audiences with pitch-perfect content. Smart segmentation is key here; once you’ve got it right, finely-tuned campaigns that speak directly to your target audiences will become far more effective.

WWDC – when push comes to shove

Hot off the back of I|O, Apple hosted its annual developer conference, WWDC 2022, and introduced iOS 16. But unlike the previous year’s big announcements such as the App Store’s custom product pages, and in-app events updates, 2022 had one key focus for marketers; the Lock Screen.

3. Personalization and an enhanced sense of ‘ownership’

The change: We all predicted big changes coming to how app users are exposed to push notifications, and this year Apple upped their ‘user privacy’ game again with changes to their Lock Screen where push notifications are displayed. Continuing their ongoing focus on giving users the power over their digital experience, iOS 16 users will be given the tools to “change the appearance of the clock, pin small widgets to the front screen and minimize notifications to the bottom of the screen”.

For mobile marketers, this updated placement of push notifications, along with the new ‘Live Activities’ feature – lock-screen functionality that will “display notifications associated with an event”, such as real-time updates on a food order, or a sporting event – reminds us of the importance of message content, and getting it right to drive engagement.

The strategy: Push notifications appearing at the bottom of the user’s Lock Screen as they’re received means they’re going to be far less prominent and marketing teams may find engagement rates taking a hit. Although users will be able to expand or collapse notification lists as they choose, it’ll pay to keep your focus on ensuring your messaging is compelling – and optimized to drive engagement:

  • How can you make notifications more eye-catching?
  • Will you need to consider shorter, more succinct messaging that encourages users to click (a mix of hyper-personalization, crisp, clear, compelling copy)
  • Revisit the ways in which you currently achieve optimum opt-in rates – what can you do to enhance these further?
  • When are your users engaged with your app? When do you never see them? Timing campaigns to land with users at the pitch-perfect moment – that sweet spot when the chance for engagement is optimum – will be critical to boosting open rates.

Creating campaigns that are hyper-personalized so users want to receive and open your messages every time, will be a priority for every mobile-first brand; this is where your analytics platform needs to be as brilliant as your campaign creative. And when push no longer cuts it, you’ll need to look at brushing up on your in-app campaigns – about to become more relevant than ever to respond to user content & notification preferences as increasing numbers of users realize they can filter out the noise of notifications that offer no real value.

Entering a two-way street

Overall, both WWDC and Google’s IO events delivered a ton of great updates designed to give consumers some much-needed say in how they interact with the brands they choose to connect with. But it’s not just a one-way street. These updates will also massively benefit mobile marketing teams by giving them both the tools and the data needed to make better, smarter business decisions that have the potential to massively impact the bottom line. To find out how we’re helping enterprises connect with customers, let’s get the conversation started.

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Bob Lawson

Bob Lawson is Director of Mobile Offerings at Optimove. He joined Optimove early in 2022, when it acquired Kumulos, the company he co-founded. Kumulos was a market-leading Mobile and Web Messaging Platform serving a broad range of industries. Bob has spent more than 18 years in technology, particularly Mobile MarTech. He has held commercially facing roles in start-ups, scale-ups, and large enterprise businesses, particularly in Mobile Technology. Before working in the Tech space, he spent 15 years in Financial Services, most recently as Marketing Director of one of Europe’s largest Fund Management Companies.