What the New iPhone 5 Means for Marketers
The iPhone 5 new feature announcements along with the iOS 6 operating system upgrade have left many talking about the additions, changes and, most importantly, their implications. For marketers, while there's no single game-changing feature, the iPhone 5/iOS 6 launch is a clear signal to any holdout marketers that we've now reached a point where the need for mobile strategy can no longer be ignored.
While the iPhone has less than 20 percent of the worldwide smartphone market share versus nearly 70 percent for Android-based phones, the iPhone along with its cousins iPad and iTouch tend to have greater influence over decisions made by marketing and operations executives.
With this in mind, here are a few new features of both the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 that marketers should pay particular attention to:
1. Increased screen size. With the new 14 percent larger four-inch screen, marketers will have a bit more screen real estate to convey their copy, calls to actions and images on marketing assets such as emails and web/landing pages. A key design aspect highlighted by Apple is the new 16:9 aspect ratio, which was designed to fit the thumb better. This puts further emphasis on the belief that the finger is the new mouse and, now more than ever, that marketers must first design for touch.
2. Facebook integration. As part of the new iOS 6 operating system, Facebook has been integrated into many applications, enabling consumers to share a brand's content to their Facebook news feed without actually having to launch their Facebook app. This development should encourage marketers to reconsider and potentially increase their content marketing activities. Whether it's a company-developed app or content on a news app, improving the "shareworthiness" of your content may pay even bigger dividends in the future.
3. Siri update. Siri will now be able to launch apps, retrieve sports scores, look up movie times and ratings, and help find and book a restaurant. A focus and strength of Siri is local search — e.g., when someone is looking for a nearby gas station or perhaps even a tree service or passport photo shop. If you have a local service business, it's critical to have listings on sites like Yelp and to optimize your web pages with specific tags and code that make it easier for Siri to find your business and present detailed information. As marketers are just now coming to grips with designing content for the finger, they also need to look ahead and begin considering "designing" web content for voice-activated search.
4. Speed! iPhone 5 users will have faster download times thanks to 4G LTE wireless speed. With less concern about how long it will take for assets to load, marketers can consider incorporating richer initiatives such as video into landing pages as well as the use of additional, larger images and animated gifs into emails, landing pages and ads.
5. Passbook. Designed to act like a digital wallet, Passbook will be of great interest to marketers who will now be able to deploy coupons, tickets, shopping loyalty cards and other traditional print assets directly to a user's iPhone. To enable Passbook, however, companies must have an iOS 6 updated iPhone app that includes "Add to Passbook" functionality. At the time of writing this article, only 11 apps were "Passbook ready" in the App Store. One noteworthy aspect of Passbook is that users will be able to see their tickets, gift cards, confirmations, coupons, etc. from behind the lock screen, underscoring the importance of designing simple and easy to act on marketing and transaction-oriented assets.
These new feature announcements further confirm that marketing has hit a digital tipping point. As people upgrade to iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 begins to land in the hands of consumers, it's important for brands to optimize marketing content and assets for this popular smartphone.
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