Three Best Practices When Designing Your App Onboarding Experience

By: Kahuna | July 2, 2014 | Campaign Strategy

User Onboarding
Push notifications are one of the most direct and effective ways for your brand to communicate with your customers. However, you can’t start these mutually beneficial conversations if your users haven’t opted into push notifications. Because of this, it’s imperative that your app is designed to encourage push opt ins. Here are some pro tips to get users to opt into push notifications, and the best practices for increasing mobile engagement and retention through user onboarding.

Designing for iOS:

It is important to understand the different ways in which iOS and Android operating systems handle push notifications. With Apple devices, apps are required to ask users explicitly if they would like to opt into push notifications. The official opt-in request message is not customizable. Every iOS app is only allowed to ask this question once via in-app messaging, so it is imperative that you make this one chance count.  Our next user onboarding post will specifically address Android opt-in protocol and app onboarding best practices—stay tuned.

Defining A Successful New User Onboarding Experience:

Consider how your users first learn about the value of your app’s push notifications. In order to help them fully understand why push notifications are important in your app, it is crucial to have a comprehensive new user onboarding when a user opens your app for the first time. Research conducted by Kahuna found that new user onboarding is an incredibly strong predictor of push opt-in rate.  Kahuna evaluated the onboarding experience of our customers’ mobile apps, and compared this against their push opt-in rates.  We found that the apps with the best new user onboarding experience have higher push opt-in rates and significantly lower push disablement rates.

User Onboarding Best Practices for iOS:

1) Give a great first tour:  Demonstrate the value of your app with an innovative, informative in-app tutorial. As the user explores your app, use in-app messaging to guide them through the various features of your app, highlighting how push messages add to the functionality of the app. For example, if you have an e-commerce app, when a user favorites on a product you can send them an in app-message saying, “Enable push notifications to get low-inventory updates for your favorite items!”

2) Show the value of push:  Make a great first impression with a clear and informative splash page, an extra screen that pops up the first time a user opens your app. Use this prime real estate to display your app’s top features, and to demonstrate the value of opting into push notifications. When new users fully understand the value of your app and how push messages will add to their experience, they are much more likely to opt-in to push notifications.

3)  Make the ask:  Ensure that your one shot to ask for push permissions isn’t wasted by first asking for push permissions in a splash page or in-app message, rather than the official iOS page. By diverting the initial question and gauging the user’s interest, you can save your one shot for when the time is right. If the user clicks “YES” in the pre-ask page, prompt them to the official permission page; if the user clicks “NO,” wait until they are more familiar with your app and ask them again later.

When your users begin receiving push notifications, it is crucial to respect this incredibly personal communication channel by only sending your users the most relevant pushes. By sending hyper-targeted, personalized push messages that actually add value, your brand will stand out in their mind as truly looking out for their best interest. Remember the importance of designing your app to encourage these conversations, and always be thankful for the trust your users give you when they opt into push messages by respecting this channel.  For more information, check out our recent post on how to stop spamming your users.

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