December 20, 2020

The What, When, Where and Why of App Clips

App Clips is set to change how a business’s brand shows up digitally for its customers. App Clips will, in essence, allow users to have a native app experience available in critically contextual moments without requiring a download from the app store.

So now I’ve got you thinking: “What could I do with this type of opportunity? What are the key activities that users do in our app that could be offered up in this manner?” Hold that thought. We’ll get back to that in a bit. 

First Things First, What Are App Clips?

App Clips are “clips,” or parts of a full native app, that are exposed to users via almost any touchpoint that can distribute a URL. They contain a specific flow and are meant to enable users to conduct discrete pieces of business when those bits of business are most relevant. They can be accessed via QR codes, map cards in Apple Maps, links in iChat, web links in the Safari browser, NFC touchpoints, and Apple’s new proprietary Clip Codes, which combine the utility of QR codes and NFC. As of this past September 16, iOS 14 became available to download.

App Clips are one of the most important advancements to come to mobile from Apple in multiple technology generations. As more and more brands enable this solution, users will come to expect these functionalities throughout the physical environments where they eat, shop, vacation, get educated and relax. Adapting to their existence will be critical for brands to be on the forefront of mobile technology in the short term, but they will become table stakes very quickly.

When Might an App Clip Make Sense for My Business? 

A business may wish to consider developing and releasing an App Clip when it has a component in its app that has high context and utility or is very useful in a specific place. Experiences like ordering or purchasing outside the home, signing up for loyalty programs after transactions, ordering services at a table or other location, checking in to a place, or controlling a secondary device like a room lock or an internet connected device are all very likely candidates for exposure via an App Clip. If a business has seen fit to develop a function in its app and it is dependent upon context, it’s worth giving it a good long look with App Clips in mind.

And let’s not forget positioning is critical. An App Clip is, essentially, a call to action one step removed from the device, so users need to know why they would want to interact with it. Businesses need to ask two critical questions: What functions do they want to expose, and where do they place access points?

Determining function is a matter of understanding the value a brand provides its customers. What are the main value propositions of the business, and how is that value accessed through its app? The most critical and context-dependent elements of a business’s app are prime candidates for exposure.

Where Might an App Clip Be Helpful for My Consumers? 

When a business has decided what functions in its app it wants to expose, it should then consider the context where that function is most useful. Is that function most useful in transit to that business’s location? Placing a link in the business’s card in Apple Maps is probably the best way to go. Will users need to interact with a piece of hardware in the physical place of business, such as a kiosk, a lock, a locker or other device that wants some level of authentication or personalization? Then a Clip Code, QR Code or NFC touchpoint is the way forward. Perhaps a business wants to extend purchasing capabilities or enable loyalty interactions after purchase? Clip Codes located near the merchandise in question or NFC touchpoints at Point of Sale may be the ticket. If a business needs to leverage physical marketing in a specific place to enable interactions or purchasing, Clip Codes are the answer.

In the hierarchy of personalization, an app installed on a user’s device is the gold standard for brands seeking to interact with their customers digitally. It’s a generally acknowledged fact of commerce that a known customer is more valuable to a company than an unknown one, but customers at a point of sale are typically disinclined to stop and fill out paperwork, and they don’t always enter into a transaction having already joined that brand’s loyalty program.

Why Would My Brand Want to Create an App Clip?

By leveraging an App Clip as a part of a mobile-pay or ordering flow at the point of sale or even the point of browse — a new moment enabled by digital extensions attached to products — businesses can transition easily into a loyalty signup experience that is enabled as long as the clip persists on the user’s device. Given that clips persist for at least eight hours, users can re-engage at their leisure, and businesses will even have access to a special class of notification to assist with reuptake.

Brands also gain access to greater demographic and analytic data about the efficacy of their marketing and the associated utilitarian aspects of their app.

QR codes are an early and, let’s be frank, unattractive means of extending the physical into the digital. In typical Apple form, Clip Codes are their answer to QR’s limitations. Clip Codes, at the very least, do no harm to a brand’s marketing materials and enable greater utility than the brochureware on a website typically attached to QR codes. This is only true if brands ensure their marketing materials are explicit in the value and utility they advertise, and they deliver on that promise. If the brand has cleared that hurdle, then attaching precision analytics to that well-formed marketing is the logical next step.

Businesses need to ensure they track not only conversion rates of unknown to known users, but also pay attention to how often they enable even anonymous commerce. The right of users to engage in commerce anonymously is fast becoming something brands ignore at their extreme peril.

The following is my personal philosophy, and reasonable and intelligent professionals can and do disagree: It is more important to enable utility and commerce than it is to harvest user data or convert an anonymous user to a member of a brand’s loyalty program. The frictional overhead introduced by demanding user information as a condition of access is anathema to the design principle underlying App Clips. Apple explicitly contraindicates login or signup as a condition of use, and the zeitgeist is generally opposed to personal and demographic information as the coin of the realm at this time.

In summary…

All that is to say, provide utility and value first, and conversions will come. Users that have a good experience with a brand and feel like they got use out of its App Clips will retain the clip on their device longer with re-use and are more likely to convert to full users and permanent members of that brand’s user base over time. 

This article was published in the December 2020 issue of InBusiness Magazine.

December 14, 2020

Bottle Rocket Launch Apple App Clip For Caesars Ent.

A leading digital experience company, Bottle Rocket, on Thursday announced the launch of an Apple App Clip for its Caesars Entertainment partner.

Without installing the Caesars Rewards mobile app, this innovation enables on-site guests to quickly and easily find their hotel room and book restaurant reservations. The App Clip also leverages Caesars’ engagement partner Airship push alerts.

Guests may simplify locating their space or booking restaurant reservations by tapping or scanning App Clip Codes across two of Caesars’ properties.

Rajesh Midha, Bottle Rocket’s Chief Experience Officer said: “With App Clips, Caesars is now able to offer guests a contextual, powerful utility at their point of need.

“We are proud to have partnered with Caesars to design and develop this new engagement channel that has the power to drive immediate business value.

“With App Clips, Caesars is now able to offer guests a contextual, powerful utility at their point of need while also driving app downloads and usage among current and prospective loyalty members.”

App Clips, released earlier this year are simple, strong, native app experiences that give users the ease of performing a particular task without downloading a mobile app. App Clips are highly contextual in nature, accessible via QR codes, NFC touchpoints, or brand communications connections, and can help remove friction from the consumer journey while also enhancing the discoverability of the complete native mobile experience of a brand.

Jeffrey De Korte, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Caesars Entertainment said: “Via Caesars’ App Clip, we are able to offer guests a frictionless means of navigating their way through Caesars Palace Las Vegas and an ‘on the spot’ ability to book a restaurant reservation at Flamingo Las Vegas with ease and convenience.

“Simultaneously, we are enhancing the overall brand experience for our guests, driving trial of our loyalty app and removing barriers to commerce in ways we never could before.”

Bernardo de Albergaria, Airship’s Chief Commercial Officer added: “Caesars’ smart use of transactional App Clip notifications is a great demonstration of the proactive and personalised experiences customers can expect from their full loyalty app.

“App Clips address some of the biggest and most expensive marketing challenges of the past decade — app discovery and user acquisition — while helping marketers prove the value of notifications before asking for the opt in.”

This article was published on Inkedin.com

December 9, 2020

Developed by Bottle Rocket with Notifications by Airship, Caesars Entertainment Unveils Enhancements to its Guest Experience with its First Ever Apple App Clip

DALLAS, Dec. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Bottle Rocket, a leading digital experience company, today announced the launch of an Apple App Clip for its partner Caesars Entertainment, the largest casino and entertainment company in the U.S. This innovation allows on-site guests to locate their hotel room and book restaurant reservations quickly and easily without downloading the Caesars Rewards mobile app. The App Clip also leverages push notifications from Caesars' engagement partner, Airship.

"With App Clips, Caesars is now able to offer guests a contextual, powerful utility at their point of need."

"We are proud to have partnered with Caesars to design and develop this new engagement channel that has the power to drive immediate business value," states Rajesh Midha, Bottle Rocket's Chief Experience Officer. "With App Clips, Caesars is now able to offer guests a contextual, powerful utility at their point of need while also driving app downloads and usage among current and prospective loyalty members."

Launched earlier this year, App Clips are simple, powerful, native app experiences that give users the convenience of accomplishing a specific task without downloading a mobile app. Highly contextual in nature, App Clips are accessible via QR codes, NFC touchpoints, or from links within brand communications, and can help eliminate friction from the customer journey while also improving the discoverability of a brand's full native mobile experience.

"Via Caesars' App Clip, we are able to offer guests a frictionless means of navigating their way through Caesars Palace Las Vegas and an 'on the spot' ability to book a restaurant reservation at Flamingo Las Vegas with ease and convenience," said Jeffrey De Korte, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Caesars Entertainment. "Simultaneously, we are enhancing the overall brand experience for our guests, driving trial of our loyalty app and removing barriers to commerce in ways we never could before." 

"Caesars' smart use of transactional App Clip notifications is a great demonstration of the proactive and personalized experiences customers can expect from their full loyalty app," said Bernardo de Albergaria, Airship's Chief Commercial Officer. "App Clips address some of the biggest and most expensive marketing challenges of the past decade — app discovery and user acquisition — while helping marketers prove the value of notifications before asking for the opt in."

This article was published on PRNewswire.com.

August 22, 2019

WWDC 2019 Keynote Recap: This is Only the Beginning

One thing is for sure. Apple is working on something big. We’re not even exactly sure how big just yet.

Read more

June 26, 2018

Bottle Rocket’s 7th Annual Rocket Science Hackathon

Rumblings of newly released features and tools from WWDC and Google I/O have subsided, but that doesn’t mean we’ve moved on from them. Quite the opposite, really.

Each year, we set aside two full days of work to explore emerging technologies, challenge ourselves to learn something new, collaborate with our co-workers, and make something amazing. Bottle Rocket’s annual two-day hackathon, Rocket Science, is a chance for all Rocketeers to explore new technologies or interests while creating something fun for the office or potentially life-changing for its users.

With nearly 30 projects this year, this recap would be a little hefty if we were to cover them all. So, here’s 5 that we can’t stop talking about.

hands holding an iPhone displaying current location on map

Project Title: CF Alert
Tech Explored: Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

Cystic Fibrosis is a devastating disease afflicting more 30,000 Americans with more than 75 percent of those diagnosed before turning two years old. As if that weren’t enough, children with Cystic Fibrosis cannot be within approximately 20 feet of each other due to the risk of transferring bacteria that can lead to serious infection in other patients. With that in mind, team CF Alert built a proof of concept PWA that would notify parents when another parent of a Cystic Fibrosis child was within 20 feet of them. This PWA concept was simple, elegant, and easy to use, and could potentially be life-saving for families coping with this serious condition.

Russell Mirabelli presents the Metal Detector App

Project Title: How Metal Am I?
Tech Explored: Create ML and CoreML

Leveraging Machine Learning for image and audio frequency analysis, this team looked to answer just how METAL something was. Simply snap a photo or let the “Metal Detector” app listen to the sounds around you and it will provide a Metal Quotient for how hardcore it is. While showcasing the app in the photo above, Russell took a selfie which resulted in a 34% Metal score, which is probably largely due to the Led Zeppelin shirt.

Project Title: Empathy Lab
Tech Explored: Analog

Several accessibility experts at Bottle Rocket worked together to create a truly interactive experience to help others empathize with those that are not able to use traditional inputs for technology that we interact with on a daily basis. For instance, how do you tap on a touch screen when you are unable to use your hands? This team set out to convey those struggles. Seen at the top of this page, the blue bar in the image is actually a form of crosshair that will move across the screen and stop when a Switch is triggered. From there, another horizontal line will appear, and the process is repeated. The user must time their taps to intersect the blue lines over the icon or button they want to click. It’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to have to use these devices in everyday life, but this experience definitely shed some light on the importance of designing with these needs in mind.

MacBook and Google Home sitting on table

Project Title: Device Manager Voice App
Tech Explored: Google Assistant and Firebase

As Digital Voice Assistant adoption continues to rise, we continue to look for applications of the devices that go beyond simple “questions and answers.” Just as the name says, this team was able to use a Google Assistant App to manage our Quality Assurance device cabinet (which by the way currently includes over 400 devices). Instead of picking out a device, walking up to the checkout system, entering your name, scrolling to find the device (you get the picture), Rocketeers can now walk up and have a conversation with Google to expedite the checkout process.

NERF gun altered to include Arduino hardware

Project Title: BLAST'EM
Tech Explored: Image recognition, Arduino, Machine Learning

Tired of Imperials marching across your lawn? BLAST ‘EM has a solution to rid you of those pesky Stormtroopers. By combining Machine Learning and Arduino supplies, this team was able to create an automated Nerf gun that could recognize a Stormtrooper and fire after finding the target. The best part? They saw about a 25% success rate when using a paper mask, but nearly 100% success rate once Founder and CEO, Calvin Carter, ran over and grabbed his homemade Stormtrooper helmet.

CEO, Calvin Carter, is shot by NERF gun while wearing stormtrooper helmet

As this year’s 7th annual Rocket Science comes to a close, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention just a few other notable projects that our Rocketeers conceived and created over the course of 48 hours.

  • AR Smile: An Augmented Reality app that would place emojis where it detected smiles and frowns in a room
  • Mix Up: A PWA for creating and rating cocktails
  • OWL Stats ML: A Machine Learning model that attempted to predict winners of Major League Gaming competitions
  • AR Multi-Player Piano: An Augmented Reality app that allows multiple people to place virtual keyboards in the real world – then play them and record the audio from their session
  • Kegerator 3.0: A team that created a display for the “Double Tap” Kegerator with an app that allows Rocketeers to see what beers are currently available along with the ability to rate them

Our “favorite fail” of the year goes to a team that attempted to teach a computer to play Mario Kart on an iPad, only to find out the emulator and Machine Learning model required different versions of iOS.

Want to learn more about the technologies used in this year’s Rocket Science and how they can benefit your business? Contact us today.

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