Your Most Watched Messages

The Apple Watch is here, and with it a number of new opportunities for engagement. Several employees have been wearing their Apple Watches for a couple of weeks now, and enjoying the experiences our customers have created. From the ability to follow news stories from our wrists to finding the nearest coffee shop, our Apple Watches have become great companions.

The Apple Watch gives apps a new venue to reach their users, but messaging must be tailored to the new device. Since the Apple Watch is a companion to an iPhone — and a Watch app is simply an extension within a standard iOS app — the Watch doesn’t really have its own standalone app or get its own notifications. This creates some issues for how we think about reporting and segmentation with our apps. Sending a notification to a user with an Apple Watch doesn’t guarantee that the notification will not be viewed on their iPhone. When a user adds an app to their Apple Watch, you don’t get a separate device registration.

Thinking about this issue prompted us to put together some guidelines for identifying Apple Watch engagement with our customers’ notifications, and segmenting users with an Apple Watch for future messages. We compiled our ideas in a new Quick Start Guide, which explains how to use Custom Events and Tags — longstanding Urban Airship features — to identify how many notifications have been viewed on an Apple Watch, as well as create separate messaging segments for Watch owners and other users.

This approach helps our customers identify when users are engaging with their notifications on Apple Watch. They can send different messages to users who have an Apple Watch from those they send to the rest of their users, and they can compare different levels of engagement. We think this is a good way to stay on top of this exciting new device, and get some feedback on new messaging strategies for their early-adopting users.

Once you implement these events, you’ll be able to see Apple Watch engagement right in our Event Tracking report. Below is a report for one of our internal apps, showing that a few of our colleagues have been enjoying our notifications on their Apple Watches already! These events also show up on the individual message reports, so you can see which messages people have seen on their wrists.

You’ll also see Apple Watch tags in the composer, which you can use for segmentation. You can explicitly include or exclude users who have previously interacted with a message on an Apple Watch from your messages. Take a look at our Smartwatch notification inspiration guide for messaging ideas for your audience.