Apple announced the gorgeous new iPhone 7 yesterday and they also announced that iOS 10 will be released to the public next week on September 13th. We have been working hard for the last few months to get Pulsate ready and I'm excited to give everyone a sneak peak of some of the features that we will be releasing to take advantage of the iOS 10 release. We have spent most of the summer working with iOS 10 and figuring out how we can provide the best possible experience and enable marketers to take full advantage of Apple's upcoming update.
Rich Media Notifications
Push notifications are one of the most powerful tools available to build engagement with your app users and iOS 10 includes a host of updates to make push more immersive and useful. The headline update is that you can now add media attachments to push notifications. Now you will be able to add images, gifs, video and audio attachments to push notifications and users will be able to view them right on their lockscreen.
At Pulsate, we have always known how important it is to add rich media to enhance marketing campaigns. That is why we built our intuitive campaign builder that allows you to craft beautiful rich media campaign cards. We have taken all of the lessons we learned building the Pulsate campaign card builder and used them to produce a best in class drag and drop push notification builder that is really easy to use and full of features.
Simply drag and drop an image, gif, audio file or video file into your push notification and we will take care of the rest. We will also allow you to search for a GIF and insert it into your push notification for those times when the only way to get your point across is with a dancing cat.
Pulsate's push notification builder also allows you to add rich media attachments by pasting in a URL of where the asset is hosted if you don't have a local copy. Apple have also introduced Content Extensions that enable you to add custom views from your app on the lockscreen. This could be a map showing you how close your Uber driver is or a snippet of a calendar app that could be updated if the user accepts an invitation. We are already testing some innovative ways that we can incorporate Content Extensions with Pulsate so look out for that in a future update.
New Text Fields
One of the biggest problems with push notifications is the limited amount of space that you have to get your point across and engage a user. Whilst this will always be an issue and require careful crafting of push notification text, Apple have helped marketers by adding optional extra fields for Title and Sub-title that you can add to your push notification as well as the existing notification text. These extra few letters can make a big difference and really help you to get your message across.
We have integrated the new text fields directly into the new Pulsate push notification builder so that you can add or edit a title or sub-title for your push in just one click. As always, make sure you add a clear call to action to your push notification and ensure that the message you are trying to get across is as clear as possible for all users.
iOS 10 should also help more people to see your push notification as the user's screen will now turn on when they pick up their device. These extra few milliseconds could make the difference between your push notification been noticed or missed by users. Widgets have also been removed from the Notification Center which will hopefully mean that more emphasis is placed on notifications.
Action buttons have actually been with us for a while but it is only now that we think they are going to become really useful. Action buttons allow you to add custom actions and/ or destinations to your notifications. So on top of the default push notification action, you can add other buttons that allow users to interact with your notification on the lockscreen. These new buttons could be as simple as a Share button for your notification or a Yes/ No question for the user to ask them to accept or reject the premise of the notification.
For the first time, iOS 10 will allow users to expand a push notification on their lockscreen and display up to 4 action buttons. We knew that our customers would love this extra freedom so we have added action buttons right into the push notification builder. You can also add a custom destination or in app event to any of these buttons. You can bring users to a deep link within your app (see here for last week's blog post on using deep links), a URL or you can direct them directly to the Pulsate feed directly from any of these action buttons.
Using in app events, you can record what action a user takes and automatically add those users to a pre-defined segment and send them future campaigns based on that answer. To illustrate this point, a luxury department store could send a push notification to users asking them what their favourite designer is and give them 4 different choices based on their purchase history. Depending on their answer, the user could be automatically added to a segment and sent campaigns based on that designer's clothing. We believe that action buttons will be a really powerful feature for engaging users and we are excited to see what our customers do with this new feature.
iOS 10 also enables users to reply directly to notifications from their lock screen and we will also be enabling this feature for campaigns and messages for customers who use Pulsate Converse. For the first time on iOS, we will also be able to track when a user dismisses a notification and we will be adding this to Pulsate to give you even more data on how your push notifications are doing.
Of course we are aware that some of this functionality has been available on Android for some time. We will also be adding Android support for whatever features we can. And don't worry Google fans, we have a few Android N surprises up our sleeve too that we will be announcing soon.
We are super excited to release this update to coincide with the launch of iOS 10 and we will be also releasing a Pulsate Academy video on how you can use these new features to help your mobile marketing campaigns so keep an eye out for that soon.