Android 13 Update – What it means for your mobile opt-in strategy

Mobile application push notifications are a very powerful channel for marketers, and should be part of every digigal marketing mix.

But it’s not always been easy to maintain an equal experience for your customers between the two main mobile platforms: Apple iOS and Android.

Now Android are closing the gap in terms of how they handle opt-ins, which you need to be aware of as it will have an immediate impact on your Android customers.

The story so far

Up to today there has always been a conceptual difference how Android and iOS handle opt-in for push notifications: 

  • iOS
    On iOS devices, users have to provide their explicit consent in advance to allow notifications from a mobile app.
  • Android
    On Android devices – running on Android 12 or earlier releases – users are by default opted in for getting push notification from the mobile app. If they want to opt out from getting notifications, they can, but they need to change settings of the app which is relatively cumbersome.

So what’s changing now?

On Android13 – nicknamed “Tiramisu” –  the concept will be changed by Google. Android 13 will introduce a new runtime permission for sending notification from a mobile app.

What does it mean for the user and the marketer? Marketers and mobile developers will need to ask and get a user’s explicit consent for post notifications before the application can do so.

Details

More detailed information can be found on the Android developer forum:

Timeline

Based on information from Android, this is planned to be released after 07/2022:

Changes in Emarsys

Based on the currently available information from Google the new feature will not imply changes in Emarsys Android SDK. We will follow–up the news and new releases from Google and update this article if needed.

What does this mean for your App?

Based on the information available from Google the impact of the new runtime permission will be different based on the target Android version (API level) of the application. This will be true both for newly installed apps as well as for existing applications. 

Applications targeting Android 13

  • Such applications will have more control and flexibility on the new feature. It means marketers and app developers will have the chance to provide preliminary information to the user about the purpose of notifications, explaining to them the benefits of opt-in. Providing such insights and context increases engagement and increases the user’s willingness to grant the permission.

Applications targeting Android 12L (API level 32) or lower

  • For such applications the system will enforce showing the permission dialogue whenever the app is started for the first time. At this point of time the user does not have enough information on the benefits of the app and its notifications therefore it might be quite tempting to press “Don’t not allow” and block the notifications.

What does this mean for your Marketing?

On one hand, there is the challenge for marketers to convince existing users of the app to maintain their opt-in, as well as convince new users to provide their consent.

On the other hand this can also be an opportunity since there will likely be less unwanted notifications and users will be able to better focus on the ones they opted in and engage with those.

Recommendations from Emarsys

As explained above, an application that targets Android13 will be able to provide context for the notification permission therefore it is likely to get more opt-in both from new users (who install the app on Android 13) and from existing users (who installed and used the app already on Android12 or earlier).

1. Update your app

Accordingly Emarsys strongly recommends updating your app as soon as possible to target Android13. Not doing so runs the risk of seeing a significant proportion of your user base disabling push, directly impacting the reach of your marketing campaigns and ultimately your bottom line.

2. Prepare your customers

In addition to the above it is highly advised that marketers start to plan the type of Push priming campaigns that are commonplace on iOS. Displaying the native Push acceptance prompt without context is likely to seriously impact the amount of users who say yes to Push notifications.

Your app may already have hardcoded onboarding screens which take a user through key features and functionality of the app. For Android it would be beneficial to add an additional screen to prime users to accept Push.

3. Make the case for opt-in

It is key on this screen to demonstrate to the customer the benefits of accepting Push and the value they will receive from this. For example an e-commerce app may send Push to alert app users to special app-only discounts or important delivery notifications. By telling customers about these benefits you are much more likely to receive opt-in.

Another benefit is that if the customer says No on these screens the native prompt can simply not be displayed and then displayed at a later date.

4. Action Driven Push Priming

An alternative method is to wait until a user has become more familiar with your app or completed certain key actions before asking for Push acceptance.

For example, a customer may add a product to their basket for the first time and this could be the trigger for an In-app message to be displayed. As per the above this In-app message could highlight the fact that accepting Push will allow the brand to communicate with the customer about their order delivery as well as providing early information on product launches of similar products to those added to the basket.

Again, if the user says Yes to this In-app message then the native permission pop-up can be displayed but if they say No, then it can be delayed and shown at a later time.

Last thoughts

As a final takeaway, although this update will likely see sections of their customers opt-out of notifications, brands can still attempt to win these users back even after they have turned off Push Notifications.

Although you cannot display the permission prompt a second time an In-app campaign could be created, targeted at opted-out users which deep links them through to the settings of their phone and encourages them to turn notifications back on.

Bear in mind that this is a tactic that should be used sparingly and have clear reasons and benefits to switching Push back on clearly communicated to the customer.