The Lock Screen: Marketers’ Most Valuable Real Estate


How many times do you check your smartphone per day? Imagine your lock screen as you take a quick glance at the time or a new text message. A few seconds here or there may not seem like much, but it isn’t long before they add up. On average, we check our phones over 80 times a day. For millennials and Gen Z, that number nearly doubles.

Now imagine what a brand could do with that.

Large brands and retailers have already capitalized on this opportunity by creating mobile apps. This allows them to stay in touch with their customers, inform people about deals and promotions, and make it easy to keep track of purchases. One of the biggest benefits of having an app is that it allows a brand to send notifications straight to the lock screen. And with many consumers checking their phones over 100 times a day, the number of impressions leading to purchases could be huge.

While apps are great, they are not a foolproof mobile marketing strategy. The process of downloading an app adds a lot of friction to the consumer experience, especially because it takes up space and storage. According to the Pulse of the Online Shopper report by UPS, nearly half of the consumers surveyed prefer to use a brand’s mobile website while another third do not download shopping apps because of security concerns. There are far more consumers who are willing to buy in-store than people willing to download and regularly use an app. And what about brands that don’t have an app at all? For many consumer goods, like toothpaste or laundry detergent, an app would not be the most practical nor effective medium to reach and engage consumers. All things considered, many brands are still left struggling to market via mobile, and are missing out on potential lock-screen-driven conversions.

Here’s the good news: the mobile wallet enables virtually any brand to access that invaluable lock screen real estate without an app. If a company already uses coupons, promotions, tickets, or loyalty cards to interact with customers, the mobile wallet can take it a step further. All of these mediums can be distributed, stored, and optimized digitally through pre-installed mobile wallets such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Once saved to the phone, mobile wallet content allows brands to deliver notifications straight to the lock screen. Apple and Google offer an expiration notification based on the time a promotion, ticket, or boarding pass must be used. Let’s say a mobile coupon is expiring tomorrow. The notification might read:


Similarly, if a brand wants to notify customers that a store is nearby, they can design a notification that is triggered by location. Both Apple and Google offer this capability by utilizing pre-installed location services on every smartphone. Whenever the person is near the store, they will receive a notification like:


Additionally, Apple Wallet offers a push notification capability where brands can communicate new offers to their already existing audience. Once mobile content is saved, it remains permanently in the mobile wallet unless the user actively chooses to delete it. When an offer expires, old mobile wallet content can be updated to feature a new promotion, allowing brands to maintain an ongoing relationship with their consumers. A previous offer notification could be updated to read:

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Such reminders and updates have the potential to keep brands top of mind, and engage consumers on their mobile devices—all without an app. Overall, notifications via the mobile wallet are a quick, modern way to reach consumers and a great way to access that valuable lock screen real estate.

So, how will your brand take advantage?

Ariana Alessandri