How Apple iOS 7 Affects Mobile Marketers

Apple iOS 7

Apple’s iOS update has been the talk of the town, with majority of iPhone users giving Apple the thumbs up to the newly updated design and integration of new features. Let’s look at the update in a bit more detail.

Why They Updated It

The new iOS was first announced in June and was met with a large applause as Apple opened the curtains on what could define a new era in the world of smartphones and their usage. Although the design was the main highlight from the update, there are plenty of new features that have fallen under the radar.

Other great introductions are the contact blocker and iBeacon, for example, along with a new sharing featuring called AirDrop. But what do these updates mean for businesses wanting to market or increase their communications to iPhone users?

The Design

Firstly, iOS has introduced a complete redesign, offering a simplified, cleaner look with more focus on typography and icons. The redesign helps drive content, and strip away the fluff to give a more integrated experience This could potentially mean a change in user behaviour, leading to marketers shifting from obtrusive mobile banner ads to native advertising such as sponsored content.

Block Contacts

Apple has also presented a new feature which can block contacts. Blocking a contact takes a matter of seconds and prevents the person from being able to call you, send you text messages/iMessages or contact you using FaceTime. The idea is to give the user more control over who can contact them and allow them to block companies who are intrusive.

As a result, companies must become smarter and carefully think about the marketing messages that they are sending their audience. Are they familiar with your product/brand? Hassling your contact over a call or SMS if they’ve never had a relationship with your company will likely lead to being blocked, preventing you from making contact with this person in the future.

iOS In The Car

A new standard introduced by Apple allows car manufacturers to integrate the functionality of an iPhone. Siri, telephony, music control and iMessage are all likely to be integrated into many new car modes in the near future, and Mercedes, Ferrari, Kia, Volvo and Jaguar are some of the car manufacturers said to be supporting the technology.

There is no mention of allowing third party apps to connect to your car dashboard through iOS, but it may be a possibility in the future and app developers will certainly be intrigued by this development, so watch this space.

The biggest opportunity at the moment is the ability to contact the user on the move in their car. Imagine sending your customer a money-off voucher to their car dashboard via SMS, allowing them to grab a bite to eat on their journey. That’s just one way companies could take advantage of the technology. Apple have put the wheels in motion, but it’s now down to car manufacturers to ensure iOS integration within cars heads in the right direction.

Apps Near Me

Apps Near Me is an app store feature which enables users to discover popular apps in their surrounding location. If a user is in a particular city, town or point of interest, they’ll be shown a list of apps to add to their current collection The feature allows marketers to consider a new channel for app discovery and the location based discoverability makes it easier to find the most relevant apps to your area.

AirDrop

Samsung has long been in favour of its own NFC capabilities to share content between devices. Apple has now implemented a similar feature, without the need of NFC. Instead, content can be shared using a direct Wi-Fi connection making sharing content incredibly easy and quick.

It’s unclear whether an API will be made available to allow third party apps to take advantage of the ease of sharing over Wi-Fi, but it will open up a huge opportunity for app developers if it is. For example, companies could allow consumers to receive vouchers in store via their own app.

iBeacon

Last but by no means least, iBeacon is a new feature which has the potential to open up a range of possibilities to marketers and brands. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), iBeacons are wireless sensors that transmit data to iPhones when nearby.

Location-based marketing has been tipped as the future of mobile marketing, and the introduction of iBeacons could be key to its success. For example, the technology could be used for marketing to nearby iPhone users, making contactless payments, indoor mapping and check-in coupons. The whole purpose of the iBeacon is to produce a personalised and localised experience.

The MLB has already started experimenting with the technology, placing beacons around the New York Met’s Citi Field. The MLB app then sends out information on nearby landmarks, offers on hotdogs and even helps you find your seats. The list of uses for the technology is a long one, and whilst the MLB has tried and failed with NFC and QR Codes, they have confidence in Apple’s iBeacon functionality but are still wary that timing is key.

MLB’s Senior Vice President of Mobile Product Development told TechCrunch: “We’re baseball, we’re not a small startup. We want to be nimble and quick and take new opportunities, but we also don’t want to roll something out that’s going to confuse fans.”

Apple usually gets it right; however, its reluctance to use NFC and to instead opt for BLE could play a huge role in the direction of location based marketing.

Summary

The introduction of Apple’s new iOS is significant and its new features hold a vast array of opportunities for marketers and brands alike. It’s predicted that most iPhone users will update to the iOS 7, with Apple releasing figures before the major update proving that a whopping 96% of users were operating on iOS 6, Apple’s latest mobile OS at the time. The update is likely to be adopted quickly, and marketers and brands must recognise the opportunities iOS 7 brings, or be prepared to be left behind by their competitors.

James Marscheider

As Head of Marketing for Oxygen8, James supports an extensive range of interactive communication solutions designed to help clients integrate effective mobile strategies that become long-term revenue and profit driving assets.