Getting the opt-in: Securing user consent on iOS 14.5+
This blog has been updated since its original release in August 2020 as the Adjust team has been working hard to build solutions and provide the most up-to-date advice for mobile marketers and advertisers on iOS.
It’s been more than two years since Apple officially announced the release of iOS 14 and over a year since the industry-defining changes were rolled out with iOS 14.5 in April of 2021. The ATT framework and working with SKAdNetwork (SKAN) has given users more control over their data privacy and more transparency into what happens with it, and has dramatically changed how advertisers target and measure users on iOS. For app marketers, success on iOS can be unlocked by balancing user-level, consented data and aggregated SKAN data to understand their user journeys, build robust conversion value strategies, and optimize for predictive analytics.
The more consented data there is to work with from the outset, the better. That’s why Adjust has spent countless hours researching successful opt-in prompts/pop-ups to help app developers to create opt-in strategies optimized for success. In this blog, we explore how to define your UX strategy and design persuasive internal prompts—what we refer to at Adjust as a ‘pre-permission prompt’
Defining your UX strategy
To define your UX strategy, we recommend clients start by creating a map of the micro behaviors their users go through. In a gaming app, for example, this could be the journey to an in-app purchase event. Having a clear idea about where in the user flow you want to ask for consent is necessary for testing different placements and evaluating their efficacy. This could be during setup, when other permissions are requested, or after a certain trigger, such as spending a certain amount of time in your app or accomplishing a task.
We highly recommend brands use a pre-permission prompt to request consent prior to triggering the iOS pop-up. This prompt is entirely yours, so you can customize, design and word it to best fit your app. Essentially, it works as your own internal consent form. You can see how this works in the example below.
Designing a persuasive pre-permission prompt
After you’ve looked for opportunities to ask for consent in your app’s overall user experience, you can now identify chances to apply persuasive methods at the interface level. For this, we’ll make use of Stephen Wendel’s CREATE framework that describes the necessary preconditions to persuade your users to act.
Cue: Your users need to encounter something that triggers them to start thinking about giving consent. This can be for example a meaningful salient headline, an easily understandable illustration or an animation - as illustrated in the example below. To support this, you can try the following:
- Cue the action - Clearly tell your users that they should give consent.
- Enhance the power of the cue - Clearly communicate where to give consent.
- Remove distractions - Get rid of possible distractions on the app screen.
Reaction: Your users will intuitively react, deciding whether to give consent or not in a split second. Users' intuitive reaction will take into consideration whether the task is pleasurable, interesting or important. You need to design for overcoming the reaction without your users rejecting the consent prompt. A positive outcome would be triggering a positive feeling from the notification center of your app. To support overcoming a negative reaction, you can try the following:
- Engender confidence - Design an aesthetically pleasing screen which demonstrates that giving consent is the right decision.
- Enhance trust through social approval - Communicate social approval by embedding the decision as part of a social act, like joining a larger community, as in the example below.
- Prevent automatic rejection - Speak to your users honestly, using clear language.
Evaluation: Your users will consciously evaluate the pros and cons of giving consent. The action and necessary steps of giving consent must be more favorable than other actions the user could undertake at that point. For example, your users might decide to give consent because they know they’ll have fewer distractions in the form of random, unpersonalized ads - you can see one way of communicating this in the graphic below. To support the evaluation process, you can also try the following:
- Frame motivation - Before users arrive on your pre-permission prompt screen, prime your users with relevant associations.
- Enhance motivation - Compare your users with the decisions of other users.
- Limit alternatives - Avoid too many alternative decisions.
Ability: Your users have to be given the opportunity to perform the action in that moment. You need to communicate effectively what your users need to do, how they can overcome obstacles and that they will succeed. An example would be to show a simple animation that communicates the act of giving consent that could show a simplified preview of the iOS pop-up and a finger clicking on “Allow”. Here, you can:
- Default as much as possible - Default the preferred action if you can.
- Lessen constraints - Reduce the effort on the user.
Timing: We also recommend communicating the value of consenting now rather than later. You could for example emphasize that giving consent is more important for how users experience in this moment than weeks later. Here, you could also leverage the effects of loss aversion and communicate what your users might miss out on if they don’t give consent.
- Frame urgency - Write the copy to focus on the short-term benefits.
- Enhance urgency - Remind your users of previous dedication to give consent.
These prerequisites should be designed so that your users will Execute the act of giving consent. And in cases where users have to go through multiple steps to give consent, you should check whether all of the conditions are fulfilled for each step along the way. You can also experiment with combining multiple aspects within the same prompt, as in the example below.
The importance of testing
After you’ve made a decision on your UX approach with when, where and how you want to get your users to give consent, the work shouldn’t stop there. Every app is different along with its user base and context of use. We advocate for rigorous testing and trialing with common approaches used in design research such as A/B testing and randomized controlled experiments.
We’re working closely with clients and partners to implement data-driven approaches to opt-in strategies along with next-generation solutions for succeeding on iOS and working with SKAN. As we’ve done for the past two years, we’ll be continuing to share our learnings in blog posts, e-books, webinars, and at in-person talks, sessions, and events. As always, you can get in touch with us here to request a free demo or find out how we can help drive success on iOS for your app business.