Winning the lock screen


The mobile phone lock screen. A new battleground for marketers.

“Hooray! Here’s another way to annoy consumers with an ill-thought-out morass of messages”

seems to be the thinking behind some brands and app makers, judging by the flood of annoying notifications I get on my lock screen.

I feel like I’m always turning off notifications for some apps as the messages from my friends and family are getting lost in a fuller and fuller notifications list. The ‘New styles added’ — ‘Find more friends’ — ‘New levels to explore’ types of messaging are no different to what consumers are currently using ad blockers to avoid.

Breaking news is currently winning my lock screen, whether that’s Sky Sports or the BBC I don’t mind, because they’re being useful or entertaining, like all good content should be. But it’s the brand apps that need to up their game before it’s too late.

Use it before you lose it.

Marketers will always seek to colonise every bit of real estate on which a consumer’s eyeballs may fall.

In an incredibly saturated, multiscreen world, where our attention is more fragmented than ever, studies show that we check our phones 85 times a day on average (I’m sure I do it more than that). Thus making the lock screen on our mobile phones a very valuable opportunity for brands to connect with their target audience. It’s becoming the new newsfeed. Let’s not ruin it. Especially as the original Facebook newsfeed becomes impossible to communicate through without big media budgets.

Surely there’s a better way?

Surely the lock screen can be a great way to engage with your audience. An audience who have already chosen to engage with your brand or content by downloading your app in the first place.

It was the below notification on my phone, from The Lad Bible, that got me thinking…

It was a blessed relief from all the other apps trying to sell me things or trying to get me to be friends with someone I’d never heard of.

It turns out this is becoming a smart and important part of their marketing mix.

Notifications should be a way to continue to build a relationship with your audience. Not piss them off. Because once they’ve turned off the notifications from your app, you’re never getting them to turn it back on. Ever.

It seems like an incredible waste of a powerful opportunity to connect with your audience. Especially after they once showed they liked you because they went to the trouble to download your app — which is pretty hard to get them to do in the first place.

I like what The Lad Bible are doing, being human and exercising restraint. There is no reason why brands can’t do this too.

So let’s not ruin this potentially rewarding medium (for both brand and consumer) and piss more people off. Let’s make the most of this new ‘newsfeed’ and make it a great place to build stronger relationships with our audiences.

Alex Fennemore. Strategy Director. Red Bee.

Red Bee help brands navigate the multiscreen world. Experts in video, social TV, content and design. See what we do and come say hi.@redbeecreative