The biggest things (for the iPhone) that came out of last week’s Apple event were the official announcement of two new iPhone screen sizes and the announcement of ApplePay. There were obviously other important improvements to the iPhone, like longer battery life, faster A8 and M8 processors, a better camera with more features and improved data speeds through new WiFi and Cellular chips. Not all of these features affect the marketers and developers among us that are looking to drive growth, improve retention or increase conversions, but some of them will give us both headaches as well as great opportunities.
Clearly the Apple Watch was huge too, and I'll be posting my thoughts on how that will affect mobile strategies shortly.
Check out my thoughts below on the five main ways that the new iPhones paired with iOS 8 can be leveraged for growth.
1. Easier demographic targeting
More variations in devices mean greater self-selection into demographic groupings. People who purchase an iPhone 6 vs. people who purchase the 6 plus are different. They clearly have different purchasing behaviours and will consequently have different needs from your app. Gone are the days of the iPhone ecosystem being essentially single SKU. Over the past couple of years, culminating with last week’s announcement, Apple has created a whole host of options from which iPhone customers can choose.
If someone wants to buy an iPhone today (well, starting Friday if you’re going to be a stickler), they have a choice between the iPhone 5C, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus and all of these come in various configurations with different amounts of storage.
If your A/B testing tool gives you the ability to segment your audience by device type, you may need to know little else to be able to meaningfully segment your audience. Taking this one difference in account, you will see a difference in your users’ purchasing habits and as such, you can deliver different tests and different experiments to optimize the conversions for each of these segments.
2. More real estate to play with
Bigger screens mean more screen real estate and for the 6 Plus new display options in custom horizontal formats. Now these are still mobile devices so you have to be careful with how much information you give someone at any one time, but with more space you can potentially get more creative with how you present information.
Given that you are using an A/B testing tool that lets you segment by device type and screen resolution you can deliver tests very specifically to people with 4.7 or 5.5 inch screens. These experiments could test creative ways of displaying your tutorials or explanatory material. This is a great opportunity to get creative with your first-time user experience and improve retention. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus could be your catalyst for changing the game of your app’s retention, which let’s be honest is one of the biggest problems for most apps.
3. More touch points to engage
We didn’t hear much more about extensions and notifications in last week’s event. That’s unfortunate, because I think extensions has the potential to change the way users interact with their apps. The fact that your app can now make meaningful use of the notifications screen to provide functional widgets is a tremendous opportunity for increasing engagement.
The first step for you and your app is definitely just to make use of this new opportunity. With the release of iOS 8, if your app uses push notifications, you should be releasing an update to take advantage of interactive notifications. You should also be releasing an app widget for your users to engage with outside of your main app. What does this mean for A/B testing, well, getting your users to engage is always an education game, and widgets will be no different.
It will be all about experimenting with different ways of communicating how and why your users should be installing your widget in their notification center. If you can get your users to load it up and use your widget, you have just found a way to break through the crowd and increase your app’s touchpoints.
4. Understand where users come from
The new continuity features in iOS 8 and Yosemite can potentially change the game on how, when and why we launch apps. Now that you can resume where you left off, when using your computer, on your iPad or iPhone with Handoffs there are so many more reasons to open up a native app. Whether finishing off a document or continuing to research theatre options for a movie later while running out the door, it is clear that Handoffs will be another way to increase engagement with users.
Since you know that users are coming from their computer through a Handoff specific session, there is a great opportunity to segment these users. Deliver specific experiments to users that take advantage of this new feature to get them to complete the task they are working on.
If like in my example they are researching theatres for a movie while running out the door, this a perfect opportunity to test different ways of presenting your ticket purchase option. Or if they decided to go from your retail site to your iPad app for a more personal shopping experience, test different ways to make it even more personal. Get creative with how you’re targeting your users and what type of experiment to run.
5. Easier ways to sell
Last but not least is ApplePay. This one touch, authenticated payment method for both offline purchases as well as in-app purchases reduces the friction of buying goods. If you are a retailer, you should be giddy at the opportunities here because we all know the dropoff rate of traditional online shopping carts is horrid. With an authenticated, one-touch payment solution you can effectively get rid of the biggest friction point in your app instantly.
Best of all, Apple is taking their cut from the credit cards, banks and payment processors, so there is no reason not to use it. As with everything though, you should roll out your new ApplePay integration as part of an A/B test. That way you can see very specifically, apples to apples, how the new checkout process changes user behaviour. It’s never been easier to run this type of test on your user base to see how a change like this affects them, so why pass up the opportunity to learn.
A conclusion isn’t necessary, but I figured I might as well sum things up neatly. As with every other platform update from Apple the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 present amazing opportunities to engage with your users in new and different ways. As an app developer, marketer or designer I hope you’re as excited as I am about these updates and what they could mean for the success of your app.
If you have any thoughts about how the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 are changing things for you and your app, feel free to share them in the comments section below.