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Brief Published: 3 Feb 2016

Mobile Marketing with ‘Thin Media’

Poncho weather app

In a recent post on blog platform Medium, US weather app developer Poncho coined the phrase ‘thin media’ to describe its hyper-focused content strategy. “Most people don’t actually want to know what the weather is going to be. They really want to know if they are going to get rained on when they step outside. And we know that people don’t want to open another app – they just want to enjoy their evening.”

Initially, Poncho delivered its micro-forecasts to subscribers via text or email. Its new app will now make them available via iOS notifications. As the company explains: “We think your personal forecasts should fit into your life seamlessly. That’s what we mean by thin. Giving you more information than you need puts more pressure on you to choose, filter, select, optimize. And that’s our job, not yours.”

This is a great lesson to learn for any brand, especially if you are collecting customer data to create more personalised marketing. As consumer digital behaviour shifts from social platforms to more “dark social” networks such as chat and messaging apps, thin media will become an increasingly vital way for brands to communicate with customers.

Poncho is also a useful example when considering the notification screen as the new battleground for consumer attention. Last month, global ad agency Leo Burnett published its predictions for the year ahead, and emphasised this point: “Research suggests most people don’t use more than a few apps regularly, so simply being on someone’s home screen won't be enough for brands to stay top-of-mind. The mobile battleground in 2016 will be the lock screen.” It added that “2016 will see an explosion of notification aggregators led by Facebook as it rolls out its Notify app worldwide”.

For more on marketing on mobile, see our State of Mobile: Winter 2016 report.

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