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Lock Screen Content: Exciting or Exasperating?

Google-backed startup Glance promises (or threatens) to bring ads to Android lock screens in the next few months. Meanwhile, Apple says it’s working on a feature that would let developers deliver content to iPhone lock screens, too. Will the gate between people and their content prove to be more digital gallery or graffiti? Robert Rose has thoughts – and he’s not holding back.

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Aired: July 8, 2022

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Hello everybody, Robert Rose here with the news. It’s what’s new and what’s important in the world of Content Marketing. It’s the news you need to lead in the practice of Content marketing and content strategy.

For the best in best practices – you can always go to

One small item in the news this week is about a Google-backed startup.

According to reports, Glance (a subsidiary of ad tech giant InMobi) plans to launch a new platform on Android smartphones in the United States within the next 60 days.

The new platform? Well, it’s the lock screen on your phone. You know, when you pick up the phone and have to type something in or look at it to access the rest of your phone.

Apparently, Glance is looking to partner with wireless carriers to launch on several Android smartphones. The idea is to serve advertising-driven content on your phone’s lock screen based on your interests and (as the reporting says) to engage deeply with content.

Now Apple has said it will also revamp the lock screen in an upcoming iOS release. Apple’s idea is that users will be able to customize their lock screen via a built-in editor that offers up widgets, wallpapers, and other ideas. It apparently will come with a feature called Live Activities that will allow developers to build out live-updating lock screen widgets with content.

On the surface, these ideas sound similar. But Glance is looking to target content to users based on their preferences – a la advertising technology. Apple (and it remains to be seen whether this will play out) will take a much firmer hand in what content will be allowed on the lock screen.

Related: 4 Trends That Will Shape the Future of Your Content Program

Our take: Our take is that this might be the dumbest new feature masquerading as an app since PointCast in the mid-1990s. That was a screensaver that – when your computer was asleep and you, theoretically, were nowhere near it – would display news stories from all over the web. That’s right, you walked away from your computer. Somebody had the bright idea that that’s the moment to offer valuable content.

This might be the dumbest feature masquerading as an app since PointCast in the mid-1990s, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Now we’ve come full circle to that split second you pick up your phone to do something with it. The assumption is that you will no longer simply swipe away from your lock screen – you’ll engage with that content again deeply.

I picture myself deeply and longingly looking into my phone’s lock screen to see which B2B marketing report I should be downloading today.

If we’ve learned anything about our audiences and their content consumption, it’s to offer content when they want to consume it. Otherwise, it’s just decoration on the wall that prevents them from getting what they want.

And that’s five minutes of news you need to lead in content marketing. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, it’s your story. Tell it well. I’ll see you next week.

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