The year 2020 was full of uncertainty for most of the business and economy around the world, but Apple’s WWDC event and introduction of iOS14 was a cathartic and dynamic reprieve. Apple recognized the tangible changes to our daily lives in this pandemic situation of Covid-19, especially with regard to consumer behavior — how people access necessities on demand, behave socially, and perceive of the importance of health over anything else.
Despite this ominous backdrop, WWDC 2020 — and iOS 14 in particular — did not disappoint.
The new iOS is impactful, packed with an array of special features, from the redesigned home screen, app library, threaded messages, picture-in-picture video to more meme-ojis and reduced friction for phone-call notifications. The common thread of these changes revolves around bringing context to the users in a more personal, easy, and private form. And it will not be long before iOS 14 takes over this fall.
To meet the users where they are, here are the key features that product teams can leverage with iOS14:
1. Acquisition and activation using App Clips
Downloading an app is not seamless. It can be full of friction and additional overhead, often causing less frequent use. According to a recent study done by TechCrunch, more than 51% of users download 0 apps per month.
App Clips are Apple’s answer to solving this problem, allowing users to complete a specific task without downloading an app – similar to Google’s Instant apps. App Clips are light-weight, easy-to-use extensions of the app that can be invoked by users in the moments that they need them. For example, check out the menu below at a cafe.
This is like Apple has given you a way to essentially taste an ice cream flavour before buying it.
Why should developers leverage this? Speed!
More streamlined experiences will enable users to get things done within seconds instead of minutes, thus allowing for lesser distractions and a more focused customer journey. By combining it with features like ‘Sign In with Apple’ & ‘Apple Pay’, a five-step checkout process can easily be simplified down to two clicks. On the onboarding side, measuring time to first value will also improve drastically since the acquisition is tightly integrated with the user’s intent at the moment.
If done correctly, overall app downloads might decrease, but the conversion and activations — which is the sweet spot every marketer values will increase from those downloads.
Next step for product marketers: Start with identifying and aligning the team on the core-action that the user must take to get value out of the app.
2. Retention using widgets on the home screen
Let’s face it — just having the user download the app is not enough. Downloads are a long-forgotten vanity metric. In fact studies show that 25% of apps downloaded around the world are only ever used once.
In iOS14, Apple has designed widgets to be part of the user’s Home screen, right along side apps. These widgets help the user by introducing both context and action, rather than forcing the user to look for it. These widgets can be customized for sizes as well, based on device intelligence available from Apple to surface the right content at the right time.
Why should you leverage on this?
Exploration based on the content of these widgets will largely impact the retention & engagement of the apps that take advantage of these widgets. These widgets allow for a discovery component that might not have brought in traffic previously.
Next step: Identify the most frequented actions that users take in the app for consumption and plan for a widget around it. You can also get help from our experienced team.
3. Being transparent about data & privacy
Lastly, be sure to provide your users with the transparency that they deserve around data asks. The last thing you would want is the user to churn out because of unfair data practices.
Apple has always been a strong proponent of user privacy and in iOS 14 they have added a variety of features to bolster user safety and confidence, which are critical to including for mobile apps and products in the future.
Consent – Apps will now require your consent before tracking users across apps and services.
Privacy information on the App Store – Apps will now be required to self-report information about their data handling on the App Store so that users can read through and make an informed decision of the permissions around app use.
Limited access – Apps need to allow users to allow access for approximate location rather than a precise location to avail location benefits. Similarly, starting iOS14, users can choose to provide limited access to selected photos to the app rather than giving access to the entire photo library.
Recording Indicator – iOS14 will now display a recording indicator whenever an app is using the Mic or the Camera.
Next Step: Connect with legal and data teams to plan an update around this. These will be mandatory and not providing these might create an obstacle for you from uploading an app for iOS14.