Lin Pophal

The app market has exploded over the past several years with app developers competing for eyeballs and opt-ins like never before — especially as marketers prepare to adjust to a post- IDFA world. What does it take to build opt-ins? While apps may be all about coding and technology, app opt-in best practices revolve around good, old-fashioned marketing communication best practices.

Communicate Value Transparently

Rex Freiberger is CEO of The Call Of, a travel and lifestyle guide. He says: “The absolute best thing you can do is tie value to the opt-in and communicate that value clearly.” Be compelling, but transparent, he advises. “If you want people to turn on app notifications, give them a reason to do it. Let them know they'll be getting alerts on flash sales that aren't accessible in any other way, for example. This gives them a reason to do it without tricking them.”

Ravi Prikh, with agrees. “The minute you become annoying is the minute people stop wanting to hang out with you. This is the same with app opt-ins,” Prikh says. “The best thing you can do is be transparent with your intentions and app's value and purpose. Then give the user clear guides to turn notifications on and off and how to modify the app to their liking.” 

Avoid the “Hard Ask” 

Consumers have always been generally averse to hard-sell tactics, but this has become even more the case since the coronavirus emerged. Marketing communicators need to exercise caution and consideration when prompting anything—apps are no exception. 

But taking a soft ask approach doesn’t have to mean only making an offer once, says Caroline Lee, marketing director of cocosign. “One of the essential tips I used to build my app opt-ins is adopting a soft ask,” she says. App developers, she says, should “serve the opt-in to the app users several times at varying places within the app.” 

Lee says she used to try to send multiple push notifications but says “it didn’t work to my advantage.” Overdoing it, she says, led to more than 30% of users opting out. Instead, she suggests, set up a frequency cap to limit the number of notifications users receive. In addition, she recommends serving up opt-in opportunities at multiple touchpoints, not just at the start of the app.

Timing is Everything

Dmitry Avetisov, Android Developer at Orangesoft, says “It is important to show requests right before using the requested functions.” 

“For example, a request to access geolocation should appear only before opening a map but not at the first start of the app,” he adds. Avetisov also recommends giving users the opportunity to make a decision later by including a “Not now” or “Remind me later” button.

And one final, foundational, word of advice: Know your audience. That’s a tried-and-true marketing must-do that stands the test of time.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay.