Apple Watch Requires Mobile Engagement to Go From Good to Great

With the Apple Watch now available to consumers around the world, it’s more important than ever for brands to ensure that their mobile engagement strategy is Watch Ready.

With the Apple Watch now available to consumers around the world, it’s more important than ever for brands to ensure that their mobile engagement strategy is Watch Ready.

“Glanceable moments,” (think ‘the time it takes you to sneeze’) will become the new currency of mobile engagement as 40 percent of consumers are tired of pulling their phone out of pockets or purses to see what just happened—something they do 150-200 times per day.

This new world of actionable glances to the wrist will quickly take hold and with it, expectations will rise around what types of mobile engagement are Watch-Worthy.

It’s not just us that believe this to be true, according to Forrester Research, Watch apps “…require compelling ‘notification intelligence’ — something that most firms and, we fear, all marketers don’t yet fully understand. If customers turning off all notifications — the so-called nuclear opt-out option — is catastrophic on a phone, it’s suicide on a watch. A smartwatch without notifications is just a geeky clock.”

We know from our Mobile Engagement Benchmarks study that high-performing smartphone apps achieve average opt-in rates that are 45 percent higher than the rates medium-performing apps see. We also saw average opt-in rates slightly decline from 45% to 43% overall. With actionable notifications coming to Apple Watch as one of its two fundamental user experiences (Glances being the other), it is essential that brands think through how consumers want to engage on smartwatches and not simply port smartphone messaging strategies to the wrist.

Apple Watch introduces new levels of consumer control over notifications. People opting out of a brand’s smartphone notifications won’t receive them on Watch. Even if they do receive smartphone notifications, they can turn off a brand’s corresponding Watch notification through the Watch app.

So, what are the key takeaways that brands need to consider when developing for the Watch? How can they take customer engagement from good to great?

  1. Personalization is the heart of success

People are not content to let their mobile devices be a broadcast channel for brands; let alone for smartwatches, which are even more personal. To add value, brands need to tailor notifications to be as relevant as possible, capitalizing on explicit user preferences, implied needs based on behaviors, past and present location and proximity, and other contextual cues.

Highly targeted notifications get four to seven times the response rates of broadcast messages sent to most or all of an app’s users (Good Push Index: Targeting, May 2014). While your broadcast notifications may get higher response rates than your other marketing channels today, don’t be lulled into complacency as the channel is only becoming more competitive. Personalization is a critical first step in tipping the scales from good to great results.

  1. Look at the Watch as an interconnected device versus a standalone experience

Smartwatches are not islands and they were never meant to be. Rather, they will be integrated into the customer’s larger device ecosystem, acting as the gateway to more robust experiences across a brand’s app-based properties and its physical footprint.

It’s crucially important for brands to consider the interplay between consumers’ devices, designing not only quick and convenient interactions for mobile’s first “carry-on” screen, but deeper experiences that Watch can trigger on smartphones when consumers have the time to “de-board” their phone from their pocket or purse.

  1. Design for “glanceable moments”

The engagement sweet spot for wearables is about 3 seconds — not 30-second smartphone experiences according to Forrester Research. This shortened attention span demands content that is more relevant and immediately actionable. For example, presenting guests with a real-time check-in message upon entering a hotel.