Best practices for increasing mobile opt-in rates

From brand trust and transparency comes a coveted catch in the digital world: the opt-in. Every brand wants their customers to provide useful data, but simply being honest with consumers isn’t enough to convince them. If they’re ever going to opt-in, you first need to grab their attention.

This statement may seem obvious, but with attention spans plummeting, retention and engagement rates have never been so hard to retain. Let’s consider the mobile app market as an example.

Here are the facts: 1 in 5 users will only open a mobile app once. On top of that, conversion rates are nearly 3 times lower on mobile than they are on desktop applications [1]. Brands in this market rely on retention and maintaining an open line of communication with their users – preferably a personalized one. The solution to their struggle? Push notifications. This tactic keeps the app present in the mind of their consumer, encouraging them to return to the app regularly. There’s just one problem: they need permission.

This is where the opt-in becomes pivotal. For every mobile app on the market, opt-in rates are a key metric to determine user engagement. Since Android devices are set to automatically allow notifications, their opt-in rates are much higher than iOS systems. But with the ever-changing technical landscape, businesses can never consider opt-ins guaranteed.

Whatever your business is, here are some hot tips for catching and keeping consumer opt-ins.

1) Be user-friendly on all fronts.

If you want the consumer to opt-in, you need to make it easy for them to do so.

Although all mobile devices have a settings section where notifications can be turned on or off, you should never leave that as your user’s only option for notification control. This area is too generalized, not to mention overwhelming. With countless apps to scroll through, the consumer is less likely to find yours for a delayed manual opt-in. If they declined your original opt-in request, there has to be an easily accessible route to changing their mind.

The solution is simple – for you and your users. Build a notification preference control within your system and the consumer will automatically be closer to opting in. Make these controls clear, concise, and readily available for the user. A Flybits Fortune 500 customer in retail banking has done just that, and seen a 43% increase in user engagement as a result. With the freedom to turn notifications on or off within an app or digital platform, the customer will trust your brand, pay more attention to your value proposition, and hopefully opt-in.

2) Value is a consumer’s kryptonite.

At the end of the day, consumers will only do something if it benefits them. This is the age-old secret of business marketing and the core attribute to successful opt-in rates. Offer a consumer a member discount, and receive an email address in return. It can be as simple as that.

If you offer customers a two-way street, they will most likely drive down it. Push notifications and data usage requests should be designed to improve their experience as much as they improve your engagement rates, whether it’s through helpful messages or fun features.

Users of a banking app, for example, can get notified of suspected fraudulent activity when their credit card is used abroad while they are in their country of residence. Or, if a fan has promoted their team on social media at a sports game, they can receive a box upgrade in real-time as part of a random draw.

When asking a consumer if they would like to allow push notifications or data usage, such as location settings, it’s important that you tell them in a clear and transparent way exactly why they should. Show the value in opting in and the user won’t think twice about saying yes.

3) Timing is everything.

In most cases, it can make or break an opt-in. A user will usually only say yes to opt-in requests if they are asked at the right time. In other words, a time when they need the added benefit.

Say a sports fan is an avid user of a hockey highlights app, but has previously not opted in to push notifications. What might be the best time to ask for that opt-in again? Why not the hours leading up to the game? During the game? Maybe even right before the nail-biting final period?

By analyzing user data and understanding how consumers interact with your brand, opt-in requests can be timely, relevant, and personalized in a way that answers to the user’s needs. If requests are sent at inopportune times, you’ll lose not only opt-ins, but invaluable brand trust.

For all businesses, mobile app or not, retention and engagement are constantly in question. Personalized, relevant, and transparent opt-in requests could be the answer. If they are sent at the right time, with the right message, and with a simple way for users to control them, your brand might just master the mystery of opt-in rates.

Sources Used

1. “Infographic: The Push Notification Benchmark.” Accengage. Retrieved May 31, 2017 from

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