May 03, 2021

Mobile Marketing Part 2: Increase Opt-Ins Through Push Notifications

Jacob Richardson

Jacob Richardson

Mobile Marketing Part 2: Increase Opt-Ins Through Push Notifications

In 2020 and 2021, Apple initiated the new modern marketing landscape with some major changes to their App Store policies on user data and privacy. The most significant change was modifications to their Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) policy. Previously, this identification was sent anonymously for all iOS users and provided tracking and attribution data to marketers, who used it to build customized user profiles. iOS applications must now request permission from the user to send this personal information. Now that users have been made aware of their data use, many have reservations about allowing it to be shared.

But not all is lost in the mobile marketing landscape. There are a few new Apple policies for marketers to be excited about. Push notifications can now be used for marketing campaigns, and Apple also updated the user permission model to allow for app-specific location tracking. This presents a variety of use cases for marketers, from store-arrival logic to strategically timed advertising. To effectively take full advantage of these advertising opportunities, marketers and developers must have a renewed respect for the privacy and emotions of the user in order to provide the user with convincing reasons to opt-in and share their data.

Maximizing & Increasing Opt-Ins

The first and most crucial step when designing a mobile app advertising campaign is the opt-in. According to LeanPlum, only 42% of iOS users opt in to push notifications, leaving enormous room for improvement. The primary objective of every mobile marketing campaign should be to maximize their opt-in rate in order to reach as many users as possible. There are many useful strategies that designers can use to this effect. 

Let’s ponder the decision to opt-out or in from the user’s point of view. When the user receives the request, two questions will immediately cross their mind: 

  1. Will opting in provide some benefit to my user experience? 

  2. Is my privacy being respected?

If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” a quick opt-out is likely. In order to alleviate users’ concerns, marketers need to be transparent with the benefits provided to the user in exchange for their attention and data. Before requesting permission for notifications and location tracking, make it clear how this will improve the user experience. 

The app should also be designed to request user opt-ins at landmark steps in the user experience when notifications’ value is easier to demonstrate. The user should be given the opportunity to understand why they should opt in, in order to maximize the likelihood that they will. 

Credera partnered with the casual dining restaurant Chili's Grill & Bar to implement a curbside experience through the Chili’s mobile app. Push notifications guide the guest through the pickup process and location services allow them to be auto checked-in, which gets their food out to them much faster. When the guest is prompted to turn on location services and push notifications, they are reminded that the primary function is to improve their experience. This motivates many more opt-ins. 

Some examples of good opt-in placements and value messaging include: 

  1. An ecommerce checkout confirmation page where the user can opt-in to receive updates on related items.

  2. An account loyalty page where users can opt-in to receive daily or weekly offers relevant to them.

  3. When searching for a brick-and-mortar location to opt-in to receive location-specific offers when near a store.

A monetary incentive can also increase opt-in motivation, as you can tease the user with a discount or promotion for an item they are viewing or have added to their cart. Some retail companies utilize location tracking and push notifications for curbside ordering. They have had opt-in success by waiting until the guest has placed the order and been shown how tracking and notifications can improve the pickup.

In all these scenarios, the user is shown a clear benefit for opting in before we ever ask. Once they’ve opted into this feature, you can then continue to send them notifications for your marketing campaign, but this should be done with care as the user can always opt-out later if they find the notifications are no longer worth their attention or data. 

Minimizing Opt-Outs

Optimizing a marketing campaign for opt-ins also means optimizing to avoid opt-outs. Once a user opts out, it can be difficult to get them to change their mind. Every push notification must be intentional, succinct, and relevant to the individual. If you’d like more information on best practices for push notifications, check out Driving Mobile Engagement Through Notifications.

Even relevant notifications can become an annoyance if they are too frequent, so it’s important to understand that individual notifications and the whole campaign should first and foremost benefit the recipient, not the company. You’re not selling the user a product; you’re showing the user how your product can improve their life. If the user is not consistently getting value out of your notifications, they will eventually opt-out.

Your marketing and technology teams should expect opt-outs and have a fallback strategy for winning those users back. Again, the key is to make the clear benefits of opting in as clear as possible to the user. 

Below are questions the user will need satisfactory answers to before changing their mind and opting back in:

  • What is the user missing, now that they’ve opted out of sharing data or notifications?

  • If they do opt back in, will they be able to control the frequency of notifications themselves and feel that you are respecting their time and their privacy? 

Opting Back in

Marketers must develop initiatives to drive re-opt-ins in their mobile strategy. In many cases, the best option is a loyalty account for your company, under your terms of service. Loyalty programs in your mobile marketing strategy encourage users to keep coming back to your service, and over time this will help build back trust in your product and your company and provides numerous in-app interactions that can gently encourage them to opt in to notifications. Keep in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and strongly encourage but do not require opting in to maximize the likelihood of winning them back. 

Strategic use of emails or other ads may also help win the user back, but keep in mind that you will ultimately need to drive the user to your app (rather than a mobile website, for example) in order for them to be able to opt back in to mobile notifications.

Put Increasing Opt-Ins Into Your Mobile Strategy

Apple’s shift to more customer privacy is great for end users but does pose some new challenges to marketing teams that cannot be ignored. The request for marketing notifications and location tracking permission is frequently denied, but strategic placement of opt-in calls-to-action and a long-term approach to your mobile marketing strategy roadmap can maximize the likelihood your users will eventually opt-in.

Implementing an effective opt-in process in your mobile apps can be a significant undertaking, which is why it’s essential to have a good partner on your team. Reach out to us at to find out how we can help.

To continue learning about this topic, find Part 1 of our Mobile Marketing series here.

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