Urban Airship Urges Companies to Adopt New App Notification Practices with Advancements Coming to iOS 12

New user controls, notification display options, and app and messaging activity reporting create valuable opportunities for app publishers to maintain and grow audience engagement

PORTLAND, Ore., — Sept. 10, 2018 — Ahead of iOS 12’s public release, customer engagement company Urban Airship today released its beta SDK offering full support for Grouped Notifications, Critical Alerts and Provisional Authorization — a historic move by Apple that enables apps to offer a trial of “quiet” notifications prior to obtaining opt-in consent. These new capabilities, along with more granular user controls over notifications, create an urgent need for app publishers to adopt customer-centric messaging best practices in order to accommodate new user behavior, improve notification visibility and maximize the value that their app can deliver.

Users Gain More Control

iOS 12 introduces new controls for the prominence of notifications, enabling the user to select whether notifications arrive with an audible alert on the lockscreen or are delivered quietly to the notification center. In instances where information is urgent — bank fraud alerts, travel itinerary changes, or location-targeted messages — marketers need to educate users on the value of prominent alerts. In turn, marketers should ensure notifications are as relevant as possible and worthy of interrupting users on their home screen; if not, perhaps that message is best sent via an alternate channel like email or in-app messages or message centers where the user is already engaged with the brand.

Notifications Are Displayed Differently

iOS 12 uses Grouped Notifications to condense the display of an app’s notifications on the lockscreen and notification center. Messages from each app can now be grouped together, making it easier to find information as well as dismiss them en masse. To help ensure important messages aren’t overlooked, apps can also create separate groups by message type — educational, promotional and transactional — or major topics.

The display of notifications changes from iOS 11 to iOS 12

With iOS 12 notifications are no longer displayed in chronological order, but are grouped by app or by multiple groups the app sets.

Notifications Can Now Reach All Users

Long known for stringent notification permission prompts, Apple’s new Provisional Authorization allows apps to send quiet notifications to the Notification Center without a sound. Users can experience the value and utility that an app’s notifications provide in a non-interruptive way, and then decide whether they want certain notifications delivered more prominently, rather than being forced to make a binary decision of opting in or not.

Apps can now offer a trial of “quiet” notifications prior to obtaining opt-in consent

iOS 12 enables users to experience quiet notifications with “Keep…” and “Turn off…” buttons, rather than a binary “Don’t Allow, Allow” prompt.

App preference centers are now deep-linked into iOS 12’s notification settings and controls, which marketers can use to keep more users opted in to notifications by allowing them to select the types or topics of messages they want as notifications or to receive in other channels, the frequency of delivery and much more. This tight integration means preference centers will rapidly become a core requirement for apps to maintain and grow audience reach especially with Provisional Authorization users who may not realize they can fine-tune messaging. For ways to customize and style preference centers visit https://docs.urbanairship.com/tutorials/ea-ios-preference-center/.

“Every year, the major mobile platforms offer new enhancements and controls that allow businesses to connect with customers in richer and more personalized ways. Urban Airship’s Day One support and expertise means brands can more easily and quickly take advantage of them,” said Brett Caine, CEO and president, Urban Airship. “iOS 12 continues to position notifications as a core component of our digital lives, which is a realization we expect will grow as more consumers opt in to notifications now that they can have more granular control over how they are delivered.”

From Digital Consumption to Critical Care

To help people achieve a better balance with technology, iOS 12 also provides detailed app usage reporting to track time spent in apps and the number of notifications received with options to set self-selected time limits. The implications for marketers are significant, as apps and notifications must add more value and be more relevant than ever, or risk deletions or opt-outs.

iOS 12 also introduces Critical Alerts, which are meant to be highly disruptive, playing a loud custom app sound and bypassing Do Not Disturb and the ringer switch. Critical Alerts require approval from Apple and are intended for medical or health apps, home and security apps, or for public safety purposes; a great match for the recent unveiling of Urban Airship Boost — a new service that dramatically accelerates the delivery of push notifications.

For additional changes coming in iOS 12, read “iOS 12 Notification Changes: Notification Center Will Become Apple Users’ Primary Inbox.”

About Urban Airship

Urban Airship® is trusted by thousands of businesses to drive growth with digital customer engagement. Every day, marketers and developers depend on Urban Airship to deliver billions of personalized, interactive notifications that inspire interest and drive action across all digital channels. Urban Airship is used by many of the world’s most admired companies, including Adidas, Alaska Airlines, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Home Depot, Sky Plc and Zillow.

For more information, visit www.urbanairship.com, read our blog and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.