Five Tips to Make Sure your Apps are “Watch Worthy”

With Apple Watch shipping today, the time has come for brands to ensure that their mobile engagement strategy is Watch Ready. As a new world of actionable glances to the wrist takes hold, expectations will rise around what types of brand engagement are Watch Worthy.

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” (Brief: Smartwatches Need Glanceable Moments, Forrester Research, Inc., 12/3/14).

“The Apple Watch app enables users to choose which iPhone apps are allowed to send actionable notifications through to the Apple Watch face,” said Brett Caine, president and CEO, Urban Airship. “As a brand, you're going to have to carefully consider engagement strategies for both iPhone and Apple Watch. App users must opt-in to iPhone notifications in order to have the option of receiving them on Apple Watch. This alone means only the best engagement strategies will keep your brand on users’ wrists."

Sign-up for Urban Airship’s webinar on “Activating the New Glanceable Moment” with Forrester Research and get a copy of its Watch Notifications Inspiration Guide to understand how to move beyond standard notifications to glanceable moments on smartwatches.  Some key tips:

1. Personalization is at the heart of success
People aren’t content to let their mobile devices be a broadcast channel for brands, and smartwatches are even more personal. Brands need to offer sophisticated personalization that capitalizes on explicit user preferences, implied needs based on behaviors, past and present location, proximity, and other contextual cues.

2. Look at the Watch as an interconnected device versus a standalone experience
Smartwatches are not islands. 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.

3. Design for glanceable moments
The engagement sweet spot for wearables
 is about 3 seconds—not 30-second smartphone experiences. This shortened attention span demands content that is more relevant and immediately actionable. This means hyper-shortened messaging— headlines, symbols, alerts and more—anything that helps the user digest information instantly.

4. Embrace interactive, actionable messaging
Button-enabled notifications give consumers powerful controls to respond to messages, set their preferences, and execute actions within a brand’s app and other apps, all through simple taps on the Apple Watch face. Smartphones can stay in pockets or purses, offering greater convenience, while buttons taps give businesses a new way to learn what makes their most loyal and early-adopting customers tick.

5. Use single-click navigation
People won’t tolerate browsing or searching on a tiny smartwatch screen. Use customer journey mapping to identify simple tasks that can be done on smartwatches with actionable notifications and anticipate a user’s next steps with contextual data to guide them through their next likely action.