Blue Label Labs iMessage App Developers

Jennifer Nelson of Blue Label Labs’ Business Development team tells us more about the upcoming Apple iOS 10 iMessage update and why you should care.

For the first time ever Apple will open up its iMessage app to third party developers. At Apple’s June 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference, much of the conference was dedicated to what changes are coming within the iMessage app. One of the most notable changes was the introduction of sticker packs, allowing developers to create their very own form of enhanced, animated emojis. What’s also interesting, but has been less talked about, is how additional features, including interactive messaging and in-line app attribution, will help to drive more traffic and engagement for your apps and overall brand.

With iOS 10, these are the main changes that you should know about:

Sticker Packs

iMessage Sticker Pack Developer Blue Label LabsSticker packs for one, will help to create engagement by inserting your brand, in a fun and authentic way, into the conversation. If consumers are exchanging over 200,000 messages per second, as said by Apple’s Eddy Cue, then it’s a no brainer to insert your brand into a platform where users are most engaged. Stickers are a fun, expressive way to communicate, and users have adopted the use of emojis in an extraordinary way. More than 70% of users say that emojis help them to accurately express what they’re thinking. With Apple’s iOS 10 update, brands will be able to create stickers to help users expand their conversations beyond the standard emojis. As of right now, emojis are only available through third party apps which have proven to be a clunky experience for users.  Sticker packs will now be downloadable through what Apple is calling the iMessage “App Drawer.” This will keep all stickers and emojis native to the iMessage app, eliminating the need for an additional download and emoji app icon on your phone screen. If you’re a retail brand that sells expressive T-shirts, think about fun stickers that you can share that say “OMG”, or “You Rock.” If you’re a food and beverage company, there’s an endless amount of food stickers that users will potentially find useful for their conversations, further boosting an interaction with your brand within conversations.

Interactive Messages

iMessage Interactive Message Developer Blue Label Labs

The new iMessage update will also provide users with expanded functionality that they’ve never had within their iMessage app. Interactive messages will allow two users, or a multiple group of users, within a conversation to dynamically interact with your app without having to leave the conversation. The best example that Apple has displayed so far is the DoorDash example where users can collaborate on a food order right through the company’s iMessage app extension. Apple also provides an example of the “ice cream” builder, where one user can send an ice cream cone and a second user replies back adding on the first scoop of ice cream. The third user adds on a mint chocolate chip scoop, and the second user can reply back adding on the whip cream. The interactivity can continue until the ice cream is completed with the cherry on top. As basic as this explanation sounds, it’s a framework for what will be possible for developers (and brands) trying to foster more organic interactivity and engagement through group collaboration. Essentially what interactive messages is doing is allowing users to utilize the tools and functionality of your current app, but this time within a group context. Users will be able to make payments, transfer money to peers, and even shop right within iMessage. This may seem like a way to cancel out or eliminate the need for your main app, but in actuality what it’s doing is increasing brand loyalty for your app and developing a wider ecosystem of usage for your app. The new update will also allow iPhone users to opt-in to automatic downloads of your iMessage app extension if they currently have your main app downloaded. This all brings us to the third feature which will be another great traffic driver for your brand: in-app attribution.  

In-Line App Attribution

iMessage In-Line Attribution by Blue Label Labs

In-app attribution, may seem like a very simple add-on, but it will be huge game-changer for brands and developers. One of the problems with apps, emojis and keyboard extensions is that when a user, let’s say, sends an emoji to a friend that friend has no idea what app that emoji is attributed to–leaving the app install halted with that initial user. Now with the iOS 10 update, brands will have the ability to receive attribution, allowing users on the receiving end of the message to know exactly where to go to get that app or emoji sticker for their own use. This update is one of the smaller updates, but one that will provide further promotion of your app and brand, organically, through your own current user base.

So tell us, with all of these new iMessage changes coming with the iOS 10 update, will you be adding sticker packs and iMessage app extensions into your mobile product mix? Let the team at Blue Label Labs know how we can help you start creating in time for the update release rumored to be this September.

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