Personalization In Action In Google Now

Smart mobile marketing isn't solely about what we normally think of as 'campaigns' - push notifications or in-app messages that are delivered outside of the core app experience. Effective as these activities can be (and at Swrve we know all about that!) sometimes it's the intelligent optimization of the 'native' app experience itself that can make all the difference. After all, app businesses are lucky: they have almost perfect insight into user behavior and are in a great position to push back to those users the experiences that they know will make their app more engaging, more essential, and simply less likely to face the dreaded delete button in the near future.

That truth was brought home to me in a conversation with a co-worker about the ways in which GoogleNow has responded to her daily routine to deliver in-app prompts (as part of the experience, rather than as independent messages). Specifically, having presumably observed a daily commute that is - of course - unchanging, the service has automatically suggested setting an alarm for 2 minutes before her usual last stop on the homeward tram in the evening:


There's plenty going on here, but most importantly the service is learning over time that the user makes a specific journey each day, and is secondly learning when that user boards the tram (as clearly the journey will not be made at the same time each day). When that happens, the offer to set an alarm for 2 minutes before the stop used each day is made. And accepted if our user doesn't want to fall asleep and miss their stop! Note the invitation takes the form of a subtle interface tweak (in the image on the left) rather than a push notification or message. That is all that is required.

What's happening behind the scenes is equally interesting - the service has been built to support customizable elements based on changing circumstances, and thus can respond in real-time to user behavior without having to worry about app updates, engineering commitments or app store approvals (not that the last should be a problem for Google...). The content the app delivers is dynamic, and capable of being optimzed and personalized in real time. As a result, compelling experiences like these ensure it will never fall out of favour.