How to Get Customers to Opt-In to Push Notifications

Apps that provide a useful reason for push notifications fare better than apps that send too many.

push notifications

Push notifications are core to the mobile app experience. Most mobile users have their phone on them at all times, and the ability to get their attention in a meaningful way can make or break your app, especially on iOS-powered devices. A report from Kahuna, a mobile engagement analytics startup, explains why consumers turn off push notifications so often, and how to combat opt-out.

According to their data, only 39 percent of social media app users sign up for push notifications in some categories. Food and beverage industries seem to fare better, with 60 percent of users opting in. Nearly 80 percent of ride-share app users opt in to push notifications.

The authors of the study write:

[Users] only want to receive push notifications that are relevant, time-sensitive and valuable. Our data shows that consumers have innate assumptions about what an app will offer based on the app’s industry. As a result, an app’s ability to bridge the trust gap greatly impacts push enablement rates.

It seems that users trust certain categories more than others. Sure, it makes sense to have push notifications when you’re waiting on a ride from Uber or Lyft, but it doesn’t make sense to allow notification-heavy social sites to drain your battery all day. The key difference is timeliness, and if an app delivers that users, they will trust it to send them useful notifications.

Not every app is lucky enough to be so time sensitive. So how do you boost opt-in rates generally? The report identifies three key strategies:

  1. Mind the First Impression: Educate your users on the benefits of your app, and note how push notifications will enhance their user experience.
  2. Know When to Ask: Asking at the wrong time, or presenting the opt-in question before users see value in the app leads to poor rates. Consider pre-asking users, and then giving them time to evaluate the app before asking again.
  3. Maintain the Relationship: Once users have agreed to push notifications, keep the content relevant, personalized and targeted. While opting in is great for your app, sloppy notification practices could easily drive users away from your app completely.