Measuring and Optimizing for Wearables: Take Your App to the Next Level
Wearables have come a long way since Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio or Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. Such connected devices were once little more than fodder for comic strips and sitcoms; now they make up a serious line of mobile technology that requires serious measuring and optimization to enhance the way consumers interact with wearable tech.
By far, the most popular wearable is the smartwatch. Everything about smartwatches is changing the way brands approach mobile marketing. From their short interaction times — or micro-moments — to their simplistic navigation, wearables like the smartwatch are forcing app developers to think outside the box in an effort to enhance the customer experience.
Wearables also possess precious little real estate in terms of screen size, so if your app doesn’t resonate with customers, they are going to make room for something else. Let’s focus on how your brand can measure and optimize the customer experience across wearable devices by looking at one of the most popular wearables on the market: The Apple Watch.
Points of Visibility and Interaction for Your App
Before you can connect with your customers via a wearable app, you first must understand the different ways customers are going to see and interact with your app. While our example focuses on the Apple Watch interface, the following use case speaks to a process that would be applicable on other wearable devices as well.
- The Home Screen: Apps are found on the home screen, where placement occurs automatically once the app is installed on the mobile device. The home screen is used for multiple watch-app icons that can launch simple information screens or controls. It also presents a honeycomb layout where your app will be competing for attention with several other app icons. Here, value is low because an app on the home screen shows no signs of customer loyalty. In fact, your customers may not even know your app is there.
- Glance View: The Glances feature is used by swiping up from the bottom of the watch screen. This feature is used for single-screen information and controls. Because the Glances feature on compatible apps has to be manually enabled, the likelihood of your app being chosen is moderate. Enabling your brand’s app for Glances is crucial, because the business value for these interactions remains high.
- Complication: While complications may appear small, the business value is off the charts. Complications give users access to frequently used data directly from the watch face, meaning your brand has the potential to make an impression on your customers every time they check the time. The downside? Because of the limited real estate that’s competing with the clock, the weather, and other popular complications, the likelihood of placement is low.
Apple Watch: Analytic Tips
How can analytics help to improve the user experience across your wearables app?
- Capture How the Watch App Is Launched. Which app users are more valuable to your brand: users who launch the app from the complication or Glances, or users who launch from the home screen? Placing launch points — such as home screen, Glances, complication, or push notification — into conversion variables (eVar) can reveal how users are accessing your app.
- Glance View: Send Event and eVar of the Type of Content Shown. How many glance views are shown, and how many of those lead to launching your watch app? Do certain glance-view content types lead to more watch-app launches? This information can help your brand hone in on content that is connecting with users — while eliminating content that isn’t.
- Capture eVar to Distinguish the Watch App From the Phone App. This allows you to view reports and see the relationship between the phone app and the launch app. It can be accomplished with the a.RunMode context variable that is automatically generated from the software development kit (SDK), where “Application” = Phone, and “Extension” = Watch.
- Look for the Effects of the Watch App on the Phone App. Since watch apps and phones apps have a child/parent relationship, it’s important to keep users satisfied with both experiences. Positive examples include less app churn for phone users, more content consumed, and more time spent in app.
Apple Watch: Testing and Optimization Tips
Adobe Target and Target Recommendations can help brands test and optimize experiences across wearables to suggest content that will motivate your customers to respond.
- Use Target Recommendations for Best Use of Glance Views. You can use Recommendations to drive the message based on past activity. For example, a news app shouldn’t just show a generic top headline. Instead, a headline for a news subcategory — such as tech, sports, or finance — can be created based on the greatest time spent by the user on that subcategory within the phone app.
- Test What Content to Show Upon App Launch, Depending on Launch Source. If your app has specific content launched within complications, you can test on app launch to determine whether other content is more useful to the user. Adobe Target can be used for wearable-app optimization by testing and determining what would be the best experience to deliver to the user based on the launch source. For example, one medical app shows the next scheduled medication time within a complication. For them, a target — based on the launch of the app via a complication — is to test whether you show a list of potential food and drug interactions with the scheduled medicine, or you show a schedule of upcoming medication times.
- Use Rules-Based Targeting to Personalize What Content Is Shown When. Ensuring content is delivered at the right time for the user is key to wearable-app optimization. For example, a stock-trading app should display current quotes with trading options during market hours only; any other time devalues the information. Before and after trading hours, the app can be customized with daily stock news, wrap-ups, and insights regarding the day ahead, creating high value for app users around the clock.
Interested in learning how to analyze, test, and optimize your brand’s app for over-the-top (OTT) devices? Then be sure to check out my previous post.