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Getting rich push notifications right in Apple?s iOS 10

Of all the new changes announced by Apple this month, none are more impactful for marketers than the availability of rich push notifications, which debuted with iOS 10 this week. This development allows for more attractive, engaging and entertaining communications to be shared by brands with their audiences.
To be prepared, marketing teams need to work together across company departments from engineers and creatives to analysts to make the changes needed to take full advantage of all the new communication opportunities presented by iOS 10. 

Here is a breakdown of the new powerful features and recommendations for adoption:
Push it real good 
Rich media and custom application interfaces are the two new types of content debuting on iOS 10. This means that marketers can now add images, GIFs and audio and video files to push notifications. 

These push notifications will appear as individual cards with a thumbnail preview: far more engaging than list-oriented iOS 9. 

Message retraction is the big game changer here ? push notifications can now be edited, deleted or collapsed ? essentially allowing marketers a do-over option they have never had before.
With these new capabilities, a barrage of cute animals may be pushed to your home screen with iOS 10. But the sophisticated retail marketer will be leveraging rich media to entice customers with products tailored to their personal preferences, and alerting them in a smart way when they are near a store to purchase in person. 

Publishers can now bring breaking news to life with images, video and audio. 

No matter what you are trying to promote, now is the time to meet with your creative and engineering teams to get these images created and ready to roll out.  
Cannot touch this
While the placement of push notifications will stay largely the same, the opportunity for engagement increases on iOS 10. 

IPhone users will be forced to take an extra pause when accessing their phones on iOS 10, as the system requires users must press the home button and authenticate via Touch ID or a manual code, as opposed to iOS 9, where users could unlock their phones so quickly that they would be able to bypass the lock screen and go directly to their home screen.
Additionally, iPhones will now wake up the moment they are raised, making lock screen notifications more prominent. 

In tandem, widgets will be gone from the notification center ? and can be accessed with a swipe ? which means less clutter for users and more attention for notifications.
It may seem subtle, but these changes create a new opportunity for marketers to be seen on the phone screen in a never-before way. 

Training your potential customer to recognize the type of message you are sending will be critical to effective communication. 

Making the biggest splash every time will not garner the results that you are seeking. 

Rather, cultivating a reliable system that customers can look forward to will get them in the mode of recognizing what you are trying to get across at first glance. 

Retailers might use a specific color and consistent headline for sale, discount and promotional messages. 

Publishers might create an approach specific to breaking news and another for features or subscription messages.
Take me where the action is
Now that you have the inside scoop, are you ready to get started on creating engaging messages? 

Plan to use action buttons, for starters, embedded directly into the expanded detail view of rich push notifications. 

Marketers have room for up to four action buttons, which can be used for a mix of basic functions (think, ?confirm? or ?snooze?), more intricate actions such as making a purchase without ever opening the app itself, and even a pop-up onscreen keyboard for replying to the message. 

The functionality of these actions make it possible for customers to have a complete interaction with a brand without ever opening the actual app itself.
WHILE OPEN RATES on a campaign level may decline initially, long-term we expect they will have more conversations and decreases in app deletions. 

Given that only 10 percent to 40 percent of push notifications are opened ? with metrics declining each year ? marketers can harness the power of rich media and the many other new features for iOS 10 to increase engagement rates, and to continue to delight their app audience and loyal customers.
Guy Horrocks is general manager of mobile at customer retention company Sailthru and founder of, a Sailthru company in New York. Reach him at