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How Mobile Marketers Should Prepare for iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iOS11

Danielle Blumenstyk Peterman Sep 14, 2017

September started out rough for a lot of us. A painful return from summer vacation for some, the lack of new Game of Thrones episodes for others. It’s been hard. Thankfully, Apple came through with something for us to look forward to before the holidays – iPhone season is upon us!

At its latest event on September 12th, Apple revealed a bevy of new products, including three new iPhones – the iPhone 8, 8+, and the one iPhone to rule them all – the iPhone X (make sure you pronounce it iPhone ten, like the cool kids do). In addition, the new devices will sport the new iOS11, which we first learned about back in June, and will also be available on older devices soon after the launch.

While Apple fanboys and girls ‘round the world are rejoicing and most Android users couldn’t care less, many mobile marketers such as yourselves are wondering how these new announcements will affect their marketing efforts. To make it easy for you, we’ve listed the top features and changes that you need to be aware of in order to adapt your marketing efforts and make sure you and your campaigns are ready.

The future of apps is AR (?)
iOS 11 and all three new devices were clearly created with AR in mind. According to Apple’s guidelines, “With augmented reality, apps can deliver immersive, engaging experiences that seamlessly blend realistic virtual objects with the real world.” This means you as savvy mobile marketers can (and should) also put these new features to use in your marketing efforts.

In its previous WWDC back in June, Apple presented its ARKit, which adds augmented reality tools into the iPhone 8/8+ and X. We can therefore expect a jump in AR-powered games, which in turn might create a surge in AR-powered playable ads.

But Games are only the beginning. We have no doubt developers and marketers alike will quickly find new and exciting ways to utilize these new tools and abilities to create exciting mobile experiences across all verticals. Animoji, arguably the biggest star of Tuesday’s WWDC, is just one example of the incredible things marketers and developers can now create to delight and excite their users.

The old App Store is dead, long live the new App Store

  • The revamped App Store Apple created is clearly focused on increasing discoverability, and generally creating a more seamless experience for users. As always, there’s a mixture of both positive, long-awaited updates, and some more challenging changes for marketers. Here are the top updates you should be aware of:
  • App names – App names are now limited to just 30 characters, as opposed to the previous 50 character limitation.
  • Subtitle and promotional text- A new short subtitle field will appear below your app name, giving you an extra 30 characters to feature key offerings. Promotional Text gives you an additional 170 Characters which will be featured at the top of your app description. You can use this section to let users know about new features, without having to upload an entirely new version of your app to the store.
  • App previews – In addition to five screenshots, you can now also add up to three 30-second videos to give users a better feel of your app.
  • App ratings – Up until now, app ratings were reset every time you released a new version, only displaying ratings of the latest version on the App Store. The new App Store will display an average rating of all of your app’s versions.
  • Bye bye 32-bit – Apple will officially no longer support 32-bit in the new App Store. Most apps have already made the move to 64-bit architecture long ago, but as of iOS 11, 32-bit architecture apps won’t work, and will not be featured in the App Store. This is another way Apple will be cleaning up shop and making good apps more discoverable to users. So if you haven’t made the switch yet, it’s time to get crackin’.

(BTW, to make sure you always know what you should and shouldn’t be doing in the App Store, it’s always a good idea to regularly check with the App Store Review guidelines.)

In-app purchases shining brighter than ever
Apple has announced it is making in-app purchases more discoverable in the new App Store, and they will now appear on app product pages and in search results. In addition, they can be featured by editors in all three of the new tabs in the store – Today, Games and Apps. “Customers can now start their in-app purchases on the App Store and be taken directly to a developer’s app or game to complete the purchase”, according to Apple’s announcement.

Since in-app purchases are major revenue drivers for many apps, this could be a game changer. Take the time to consider how you can take advantage of this update to optimize your offerings and increase your revenue:

  • You can create tailored creatives and images for your in-app purchases, targeting users who downloaded your app, presenting them with attractive offers that can show up when they search for other games. You can also tweak the creatives and create different ones to be displayed on your product page and in the search results, Today, Games, and Apps tabs.
  • Consider building unique user acquisition campaigns, targeting prospects with starter packages for a discounted price that they can buy while downloading your app (since you can now send them directly to an in-app purchase, even if they haven’t downloaded your app yet)
  • It’s still very early in the game, but there will likely also be an ASO element to keep in mind. It’ll be interesting to see how this new feature will affect where your in-purchases appear in the various search results.

New screen size and design guidelines
While the width of the iPhone X display in portrait orientation is consistent with iPhones 6-8 at 4.7″, its height is 145pt taller than the previous 4.7″ display, meaning there is about 20% additional vertical space for content, according to Apple.

This clearly has ramifications for your apps, but also opportunities for your ads. Think about how you can use the new space to optimize your apps. Some AB testing for your ads may be in order, make sure you get to it sooner rather than later. Visit Apple’s iPhone X overview which includes specific guidelines and other relevant info to ensure you’re on the right track.

The new iPhones all have improved retina displays, with the iPhone X boasting the most impressive screen to date, the Super Retina HD display. Apple has invested many resources in creating this advanced display (reportedly one of the reasons for the Phone X’s much later release date). This means it’s a good idea to take the time and resources needed to create higher quality videos for your ads, to offer you users a more powerful experience.

Some tech writers have also voiced a concern that the lack of a home button could create display problems for apps with navigation at the bottom of the screen, so make sure to test how the new display affects your app, and optimize accordingly.

Mobile payments
Mobile payments are still not quite where they could be, especially when it comes to user adoption, as opposed to their status in Asia for example. With the new and improved Apple Pay options, Apple is trying to take another step forward on this front, using Face ID as an additional layer of protection.

As security continues to be a major challenge to all mobile payment players, it looks like Apple is hoping FaceID will help reassure users that mobile payments are just as safe (if not safer) than traditional payment methods, and encourage wider adoption. This is good news for marketers too. If users have an easier and safer way to spend money on their phone, they’ll be all the more likely to purchase apps and make in-app purchases. If you’ve tried running retargeting campaigns promoting in-app purchases in the past that haven’t hadn’t taken off, it might be because many users are still reluctant to put their credit card number into their smartphones, since they don’t feel it’s safe enough. This might be a good time to see if your users are more open to handing over their CC info with the added protection of FaceID.

Bottom Line
As always, every new device and iOS brings on new challenges and opportunities to marketers. While there are many new regulations to adhere to, and adjustments many of you will need to make, now more than ever savvy marketers have the chance to harness these new features and tools to optimize, and potentially revolutionize their marketing efforts. This is especially true for the new AR functionality. It’ll be exciting to see how mobile marketers and developers will use the AR tool kit to create enthralling new experiences for consumers. These are uncharted waters, and we can’t wait to see how deep you’ll swim.