Over the last few weeks I have released a few other articles describing the power of push notifications and also how to retain users with push notifications. If you would like the read these please do as they give a more rounded insight into push notifications:

How not to ruin  push notifications for the rest of us!

Push notifications are the perfect tools for engagement if used correctly.

How do you convince iOS users to sign up before they start using your app? To be fair, this isn’t easy as you only really get one chance to get this right as users will pretty much never go back and turn on push notifications if they rejected them initially.

As the Opt in rate of 91% for Android shows, users generally won’t go to the effort of turning them off provided they aren’t too intrusive; so in order to entice them you have to convince them of the advantages they will receive in advance, instead of relying on them working it out for themselves when they start receiving them.

The solution is an onboarding process for when users first access your app. They do require a lot of investment and forethought to get right though, as your users will see right through a poorly implemented set of screens and drop out before even completing the process.

In my article from January I reviewed Reflectly, a daily journal app that absolutely nailed the onboarding process and another great example I’ll quickly run though is Fabulous.

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Encouraging user opt-in with Fabulous

Fabulous is one of the new generation of highly polished wellbeing apps that have become hugely popular in recent years, and the app itself is nothing short of beautiful.

The goal of Fabulous is to encourage the creation of good habits by setting daily goals and challenges. Due to the very nature of the app it relies heavily on push notifications to keep the user engaged and to help them keep the promises they make to themselves using the app.

In order to encourage users to allow notifications, the onboarding process takes you through a very brief personalisation process to get your name, and then several screens of positive affirmation (*figA*) where you are encouraged to reply with “Yes”  before you land on a personalised screen(*figB*) telling you why you should allow push notifications, along with a modified yes button message “Yes, I want to succeed” which when tapped, will only then present the iOS push notification message.

A particularly nice touch is that if the user taps “No, I can do this on my own”, it prevents the push notification modal from appearing at all.

This is a great example of how you can encourage users to see the value in push notifications before the sign up for them, in just a few simple screens the user has been put in a positive state of mind and will be fired up to make a positive change in their lives, the push notifications from Fabulous being presented as helpful rather rather than a possible irritation.

I understand not every app is suitable for this kind of onboarding, and if done too much it will quickly go stale but it’s a great example of how push notifications can be made desirable at this early stage in the engagement.

  • Personalise the onboarding process but don’t be too intrusive early on.
  • Clearly present the user with the benefits your push notifications will provide.
  • If they really don’t want push notifications don’t force them upon them.

Summary & Conclusion

“Push notifications are a powerful tool but with great power comes great responsibility. Marketers have a horrible tendency to ruin things for everyone else and push notifications could very easily be confined to the spam folder of tomorrow if we abuse the trust of our users.

However, if used correctly, push notifications will continue to provide our users with the up to the minute information and offers they actually want for their favorite games, brands and products for many years to come; and for the developers and app owners, notifications will continue to drive sales and keep users engaged in a crowded market where everyone is fighting for attention.