Google announced Android 13 ‘Tiramisu’ in August 2022. Currently, it’s live on Pixel 4 and higher and many new phones from all major smartphone manufacturers.
Among the many alterations in Android 13, the changes to push notifications are significant and may impact their delivery and app notification campaigns. Let’s look at these effects and how you can prepare for them.
What is the change in Android 13?
Up to Android 12, an app could, by default, send push notifications as soon as it was installed. This has changed with Android 13. With Android 13, apps require the user’s explicit permission before sending push notifications.
In their official release note, Android says this change “helps users focus on the notifications that are most important to them”. This is a move we resonate with as it’s a step towards decluttering a user’s notifications.
Effects on old and new apps
This push notification change in Android 13 affects existing and newly installed apps differently.
Pre-grant for existing apps
If your app had notification permissions on Android 12, these permissions would continue to exist after the Android 13 upgrade via a ‘pre-grant’. The permission prompt will not be displayed, and brands can send push notifications if they were allowed by the user in Android 12.
This is also true when users upgrade to a new device with Android 13 but restore the app using Android’s “backup and restore” option.
Permission request for new apps
For apps that are a complete fresh install on an Android 13 device, the permission for push notifications is turned off by default. To send push notifications, you must request permission from users.
When the permission dialog appears depends on the target SDK version of your app.
- If your app targets Android 13 and above, it has complete control over when the permission dialog is displayed.
- If your app targets 12L (API level 32) or lower, users are shown the permission dialog the first time your app starts an activity after you create a notification channel. Or when your app starts an activity and creates its first notification channel. This is usually on app startup.
What are the options consumers see?
When users see a notification permission dialog, these are the possible actions with the effects:
- User selects allow: This enables notifications via all push notification channels.
- User selects don’t allow: Will block all notifications for your app.
- The user swipes away from the dialog: The status remains the same, i.e., disabled by default in Android 13, and if they’re upgrading from Android 12, the same permissions will carry over.
Dealing with the new push notification permission
Average push notification opt-ins for iOS, range from 40-50%. While opt-ins for Android currently stand closer to 85%, this could change with Android 13. Based on our observations, you might end up seeing a drop in push notification delivery by as high as 15%, even in the short term.
Here’s what you can do to deal with this change as more users upgrade to Android 13.
Also, check out our recent LinkedIn live that touches upon this topic.
Update your app’s target SDK version
The easiest and most obvious thing to do is update your SDK to target Android 13 or higher. Doing this becomes even more critical since apps targeting Android 12 lose out on the ease and flexibility of showing this prompt later.
Updating your targeting to Android 13 gives more flexibility on when you can show this prompt.
Note: If your app targets Android 12, the Netcore SDK creates a default notification channel on app startup, showing users the notification prompt immediately on app launch.
For more information, check out our documentation.
Delay your push notification prompt
The Netcore SDK displays the permission prompt on app launch immediately by default. But we recommend configuring this to be shown later.
Since Android 13 users now have the choice and are already bombarded with push notifications, it’s unlikely your new app will get this permission if you ask right away.
Request the permission in context
Use a well-timed opportunity to explain to users why your app needs to send them push notifications. For example, if you’re a fintech app, show the notification prompt for daily updates to the user’s portfolio or the market. Or even weekly educational content.
A clear message articulating the relevant value of your push notifications will increase the chances of your app getting the permission.
Deliver value once you have the permission
In newer Android versions, revoking push notification permissions is also easier. Be wary of your frequency and the kind of messages you’re sending with your push notifications. Treat the permission to send push notifications as an opportunity to add value to the user’s life and not as just another channel for launches and conversions.
Android users had the ability to stop notifications by simply long tapping on a notification. This feature has become more intuitive in recent versions:
And on tapping “Turn off notifications”, users can disable all notifications or individual notification channels.
Make your push notifications visually appealing
Relevant messages and emojis surely help. But to take this a step ahead, you can leverage rich push notifications showing media, carousels, colors, and gradients to make them stand out.
Change your frequency to suit user preferences
You may have noticed certain food delivery apps ramping up to 3-5 push notifications every day. That’s borderline spam and could annoy consumers to revoke notification permissions for your app. Or even uninstall it.
Solutions like Raman AI, help you do this well with features like preferred channels and timings. This increases the chances of users opening your push notifications.
Retarget and use more channels
Push notifications are simple, free, and quite flexible. Hence, most brands use them. If a user is not performing desired actions after receiving multiple push notifications and even clicking on them, perhaps you should relook the customer journey and determine friction points.
Adding a mix of other channels in your customer journey can help you tap into more audiences and transactions. It also helps retarget users who opted out of push notifications.
For example, if a user doesn’t open your push notifications or doesn’t take the desired action after clicking on them, it’s a good idea to try other channels like WhatsApp or even AMP emails.
Android OS adoption stats
But before you start worrying about the changes, let’s look at the market share for different Android versions. Historically, the latest android versions aren’t known to have high adoption compared to iOS. But this has been changing slowly, with multiple smartphones being released each year and smartphone manufacturers providing software updates faster.
As of January 2023, the worldwide market share for Android 12 is about 25%. For Android 13 it’s almost 12%, with a correlation between the two. We can see that existing Android 12 (and Android 11) users are the first to upgrade to Android 13.
You can see the device manufacturer and model information in the Netcore panel:
Depending on your app’s audience and their devices, you can act on this information at your discretion.
Only a subset of users will be able to upgrade to Android 13 and access this change in the near future. Nevertheless, it’s a significant change and an opportunity for brands to relook at how they use push notifications and the value they deliver with this channel. We could see a drop in push notification opt-ins on Android, but taking the right steps will tackle it.
For more ideas and examples, check out our push notifications guide.
If you’re an existing customer, reach out to your customer success manager, or if you’re new, contact us to know how Netcore can help you engage your audience with multiple marketing channels.