In their zeal to enhance their user experience, Apple recently unveiled several key changes to reduce interruptions and manage screen time well. One of them being, push notifications. While that’s definitely good news for users, it’s another challenge that app developers and marketers will need to overcome in reaching out to their users at the right time.

What is new to push notifications on iOS 12?

1. Push notification delivery to notification center

iOS 12 gives its users more options for controlling how push notifications are delivered to them. They can instantly manage their notifications and get them delivered straight to their notification center instead of their lock screen with ‘deliver quietly’. Also, if certain push notifications are annoying a user, they can turn them off right from the lock screen.

sonic forces notifications

2. Smart push notification suggestions by Siri

Even Siri can now intelligently make suggestions for notification settings based on what the user has previously interacted or not interacted with. Basically, if I don’t interact with some notifications from an app, Siri recommends me to turn them off for good. These include quiet delivery of push messages or turning the alerts off.

siri recommends push notifications

3. Grouped push notifications

The new software also introduced Grouped notifications to make it easier for users to view and manage multiple notifications, all at once.

You no longer have to browse through all the Twitter like notifications one by one, for instance. They’ll be clubbed together here on.

4. Hidden push notifications on iOS 12  

A new set of well being features will hide notifications from users at particular times to avoid distracting them. For instance, when ‘do not disturb at bedtime’ is on. In this case, users will not be able to see any notifications during the night or just as they get up in the morning.

Combined, these changes will encourage more developers to adopt the Siri integrations, because they’ll be losing a touchpoint with their users as their ability to grab attention through notifications fades.

Impact of App Limits on user retention

To further combat smartphone addiction, Apple also introduced new tools like App Limits at WWDC, its annual developer conference. The new feature allows you to set a limit to how much you’re making use of certain apps or app categories (like games).

Simply put, if you’re spending a lot of time playing games and you have setup an app limit for the game category, your phone will automatically send you an alert saying “5 minutes left for games today”. Once the limit is reached, a “Time Limit” screen comes up to prevent further user.

how app limits works

And yes, they are taking the timer very seriously. You can’t use any of the games till the time check says so.

app limits getsocial 2
Here’s how it impacts your game.

1. Decrease in number of app sessions

The new feature will give the users more control over their distractions and enable them to set time limits for each activity. Simply put, no user will walk away at the end of the day saying Candy Crush or a similar game distracted them way too many times from work.  

2. Decrease in app session length  

Decreased number of app sessions are definitely going to lead to lower app session times. With timed activity, users will have only limited time for every app and game on their phone. Which means, if you have set a limit of 15 minutes for Instagram, you will no longer be able to browse through videos after videos for even a minute more.  

3. Decrease in user engagement and retention

With controlled number of app sessions and app session lengths, apps and games will see a drastic dip in their user engagement rates. This will lead to seeing a dip in retention rates for most apps and games as well.

4. Decrease in control over churn

Now that users will be able to see what apps and games they are spending more time on, identify what’s distracting them and which of them are they really not making use of, app developers will experience lesser control over the churn rates.

Impact of new push notification settings on lock screen

With a higher chance of your push notifications being ignored in totality, app developers and marketers will need to focus more on strategizing this communication channel. Here’s how it will impact your push notification strategy:

1. Increased focus on personalization  

The only way to not make a user quieten your notifications or turn them off altogether, is to ensure that you are adding value to them. App marketers will need to focus on personalizing their push messages further based on a user’s in-app activity and interests.

2. Increased focus on timing

All this while, app marketers and developers were asked to focus more on finding the right time to send push notifications. Now, it’s a strategy to be taken into serious consideration. With GetSocial push notifications, you can create push message campaigns for different segments at times that they are more likely to be active.

Simply put, the idea is not to send push notifications when the user has turned on ‘do not disturb’, for instance.

3. Increased focus on user segmentation

Some users will always find more value in your app than others. But then there will also be some users who interact more with push messages that offer a discount on an in-app purchases than those that are just reminders. Now marketers will need to focus on user segments or personas even more than before!

4. Increased focus on push notification frequency

Now that push notifications from the same app will be grouped together, apps and games will need to make sure that they don’t look spammy. At the same time, they will need to plan out their push message campaigns better to ensure that the top most message isn’t something that nudges the user to turn off the notifications completely for being ‘irrelevant’.

Make push notifications on iOS 12 work for you

Apple has always been a lot about paying attention to the smallest of details that could enhance their user’s experience. Let’s just say that the only way to make push notifications work for your app or game, is to do the same.

While the changes to push notifications might seem like a deterrent to user engagement and retention, they are the for the good. They will significantly reduce notification clutter and also improve the overall quality of notifications that users will receive.

The one strategy that is sure to work here, is to make your push notifications high relevant, timely and engaging.

Keeping the user’s interest in mind before yours, is the trick to making push notifications on iOS 12 continue to work for your app or game.