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The advent of iOS 12 has made some pretty big waves in the way Apple users will continue to engage with apps on their mobile devices. As more and more apps are downloaded to devices, notifications become the primary way users interact with and communicate with brands. But more often than not, they find themselves sifting through reams of content, trying and failing to separate the notifications they want from the sludge pile.

This is all about to change, however, because with iOS 12 the user is king and with that title comes control. And if you haven’t heard anything about it already, that control could be bad news for bad marketers. More of that here.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at what those notification changes are, and what exactly they mean for brands.

Quiet Delivery

Quiet notifications are delivered to Apple’s new notification center, rather than the lock screen, allowing people to go about their business uninterrupted by alerts. Only prominent notifications (ie: those specified by the individual user) will go to the lock screen. This has serious implications for marketers. Most importantly it enables your users to effectively ignore your brand if they are inundated with unimportant, irrelevant messages.

What brands need to ensure is that they are the brand that users want to be interrupted by. So it’s imperative that all messages add value to the customer, and at risk of repeating ourselves, we are back to reminding marketers to make those messages relevant, useful and above all personalized.

Instant Tuning

Instant tuning is a major change for users, enabling them to control their notification settings from within the notification itself, without having to launch the settings app. So, if notifications are irritating (and we know that 84% of users think that notifications are irrelevant) the user can stop receiving, or silence them, right inside the notification.

This gives marketers an extremely slim margin to prove their messages are worth being seen. And more importantly – one, just one, bad notification can undo months of hard work by the brand to build a relationship with their customer, so it’s imperative that brands are on their game 24/7 and for every notification or message they send.

Provisional Authorization

Provisional alerts help your user make an informed decision about allowing notifications. So the user can opt-in to notifications provisionally but these notifications will be delivered quietly, and only show up in the notification center, giving the user time to decide if they want their notifications to be quiet, prominent, or turned off altogether.

As with all the above changes, this puts more power into the users’ hands and means brands have to up their game when it comes to what messages they send to their individual customers.

Grouped Notifications

Up until iOS 11 all incoming notifications were inserted in chronological order in the notification list. However, due to the slew of notifications users receive from multiple apps on their devices, Apple will now automatically group notifications into threads. So, instead of scrolling through endless Instagram or WhatsApp notifications, they will now be grouped.

Brands can capitalize on this one though, and create notification threads and summary text for their groups. This will be very useful for apps specializing in emerging news stories, travel itineraries, or order tracking, allowing the marketers in those areas to showcase useful, and above all relevant messaging.

Dynamic Notifications

Dynamic notifications is perhaps the most exciting change in this release and can be well utilized by marketers. Brands can customize what call-to-actions appear underneath their content, and the user can now complete actions from right inside the notification. The CTA will deep-link the user directly to where the notification advertises, without any hassle.

It’s a much more interactive experience for the user, while also giving real-time feedback for the brand. This is a great development for marketers, but will only be effective if the message is right for the user.

Critical Notifications

A great feature on our devices is ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. Important meetings and appointments are no longer in danger of being interrupted by tell-tale alert sounds. But what if you received a notification that was important enough to interrupt that meeting? What if it related to your health, safety, or home’s security? These are the types of messages that customers want to see straight away, which is why Apple has brought in critical alerts.

Critical alerts will be delivered with sound and on screen, even when ‘Do Not Disturb’ is enabled. They have a red-warning icon and custom configuration in the app’s settings. And the key to these critical alerts is that they require the user to take action immediately, so it’s imperative that it is used only for very specific apps, sending very specific messages. But don’t worry, these alerts will only apply to app’s that meet apple’s (thankfully) stringent requirements.

Take away

More than ever before iOS 12 means that brands need to ensure that they are delivering high-value messages to their users’ screens. That is, content that is highly relevant, personal, and useful to individual users. As well as that, brands need to begin qualifying the types of messages they send their customers and group them into Apple’s new messaging parameters; critical, prominent or quiet.

For some marketers, these changes may mean a strategy overhaul, but they shouldn’t. All they really require are adopting marketing practices that are good for the customer and good for the brand. Which is nothing new, if you really think about it.