How Brands Can Leverage Apple’s Live Activities Feature


In recent years, Apple has made the task of engaging with consumers much more conditional on third parties on its platform, although a host of updates and added features this year has at least given brands more of a chance to get noticed. The tech giant’s iOS 16.1 Live Activities update is the latest example, giving brands the option to be pinned to an iPhone user’s lock screen for 12 hours at a time.

Live activities were launched at the end of October and allow third-party apps that track activities in real time be pinned to the lock screen for eight hours of live tracking and four hours of idle use. The new feature has the potential to give brands a major boost in visibility and ease of access, Mike Herrick, senior vice president of technology for software company Airship said in an email. at Marketing Dive. Whether it’s food delivery apps informing consumers of the status of their order, fitness apps highlighting live workout stats, ride-sharing platforms sharing accurate information about location of drivers or even news sites sharing election results, all before consumers even unlock their iPhones.

“Live Activities arguably gives third-party apps the most visible user experience ever on iPhones. This is especially true given the minimal – sometimes zero – effort required from customers using apps to benefit from it,” Herrick wrote. in a blog post.

The feature appears to be the marriage of push notifications and Widgets functionality, a tool that provides a continuous presence on consumers’ home and lock screens. Live Activities feeds on push notifications in order to stay up to date, and while it lives on the lock screen, the tool will only last for a limited time past its allotted usage window. Perhaps a welcome upgrade to the push notifications themselves, which create a new location on the lock screen per update, Live Activities will keep all updates through a single pin.

The addition of Live Activities follows other announcements from Apple that show a similar investment in ease of visibility, for example, the tech giant in September unveiled its latest generation iPhone which are equipped with options for an always-on display as well as a live island, an interactive activity and notification tab located near the front camera of the phone which can also integrate live activities.

The new features may help increase the positive sentiment felt by brands at a time when many are trying to recoup losses from Apple’s App Tracking Transparency integration last year, which gave users ‘iPhone the ability to opt out of certain data collection actions. Live activities could give brands another opportunity to make consumers swoon, which in turn could lead to increased access. Airship’s global survey of 9,000 consumers found that 36% are willing to allow cross-app and website tracking in pursuit of personalized interactions, although the data collection method is a type of information they’re least likely to want to share, Herrick said. Marketing dive.

“The more useful an app is to a user, the more likely they can be persuaded by proper integration to grant tracking permissions,” he said. Since the launch of live activities, Apple would have already made plans to improve the tool with its next update to allow for shorter time intervals between updates to maintain consumer engagement.

Some mobile marketers have already explored live action for themselves, including the Airship Fotmob client, a sports-focused app that provides live scores and stats for football matches around the world. Sport has the potential to be among the most loyal to the new feature, especially with the rise of legalized sports betting, giving fans a chance to see live score updates spanning multiple games that could be happening simultaneously. .

There appears to be no maximum number of apps that can be pinned to the lock screen with Live Activities, although each app can only have five simultaneous Live Activities, Herrick said. For brands using the tool, Apple urges them to avoid displaying ads or promotions and only display information related to the live activity feature. There’s no clear line yet on what promotional efforts would be considered too much, Herrick said, however, the determining factor is likely not in Apple’s hands but rather in the hands of consumers.

“Brands need to make sure customers find these new top experiences rewarding and valuable,” he said. “Without this respectful attention, brands risk low usage and possibly even deletion as customers seek apps that focus on better meeting their needs.


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