Android has an update coming soon, and it’s one to pay attention to. With more than half of smartphone users using the Android operating system worldwide (with regional variations), it’s sure to impact a significant number of your audience base. 

We don’t have a hard-and-fast date on when to expect this Android update, although most experts agree that it’s likely to be rolled out this fall. So now’s the time to start thinking about the questions it poses so your brand can be ready to minimize any pain the change may bring and take advantage of all the opportunities it opens up.

In this post, we explore the change and share how it will affect your customers so you can make the transition seamlessly.

What’s Changing With Android 13

The update to Android 13 will bring one significant change to Android users, and it will affect any marketer whose brand uses an app to engage with customers. Historically, one of the differences between iOS and Android is that Apple iOS users were prompted to allow notifications, whereas Android users were automatically opted in. If your app requires permissions (like data access or the ability to send notifications), iOS makes users aware of that prior to downloading an app. This means that when iOS users get your notification, they’re primed to expect it. 

Android users who have been automatically opted in to notifications do not expect to be asked whether they want to get notifications. But that’s changing. Starting with Android 13, the system will work more like iOS and require opting in to push notifications. That may look jarring to Android users unfamiliar with an operating system policy of opt in vs. opt out. People may be perplexed by the sudden popup and close the app (accidentally) or select no as a defensive response which may lead to a downwards spike in push messages your brand is sending.

That’s how it appears at first glance. But upon further reflection, the move to opt-in presents a number of excellent opportunities that are going to improve your marketing. Read on to position your brand to reap the rewards of an opt-in system. 

The Opportunities of Android 13

Updating your reporting and metrics

The reality of this change is that you may experience a reduction in your opted-in base. At first glance, this may sound like bad news. But the truth is you may only be losing a portion of your user base that wasn’t going to engage that much anyway. 

The update offers an opportunity to re-evaluate what metrics your team focuses on. While bulk opt-in numbers may have seemed robust when every app download meant a push opt in device, this change gives you a chance to become more focused when and how you invite people to opt-in to messaging – resulting in a smaller but much more engaged user base. This change may mean that you’ll need to deemphasize app opens and shift to value-add metrics like a registration or profile creation, that more closely indicate if users are engaged and primed for purchase.

Rethinking push notifications

The trend to personalization and a more tailored shopping experience has been going on for some time, and this Android 13 update is an opportunity to revisit whether your company is doing enough to provide it to consumers. Less opt-ins to notifications will mean a shift away from pure volume metrics to more bottom-funnel metrics. Now is a great time to ask yourself, “Am I sending the right push messages not based on whether people click but what activity they engage in?”

Use this to look at your overall strategy when it comes to push. What kinds of messages are you sending? How often? Are they providing value? What actions are being taken as a result of the messages sent? The days of “spray and pray” messaging are behind us, so tailoring notifications to customer behavior (like “back in stock” notifications for items customers have added to a wishlist, or a price drop notification) will mean your messages are welcome calls to action rather than nuisances to swipe away.

Last year, when iOS 15 popped up, the revamp of the notification center within iOS and the reclassification of when notifications are delivered already had marketers thinking differently about their push strategy. Rather than a radical, unexpected change, this move to Android 13 is a continuation of an ongoing trend. Now is a good time to think about what part of your iOS push strategy can now be recycled or repurposed for Android.

Focus on value exchange

When reconsidering your push strategy, focus on value exchange: What is the benefit of this notification to the end user? 

Customers and users increasingly have an expectation that they have control over their data. They want to choose what they want to receive and what they don’t. This is a logical next step in your brand’s relationship with your customers.

Use this as an opportunity for your brand to help a potential customer understand what the value add is for push notifications. Educate users as to why they’re seeing this prompt. 

Messaging such as, “You’re probably wondering why you’re seeing this pop-up. If you’ve updated Android,we’re required to get your permission for us to continue sending you great deals and updates.” This is the new normal, so communicating with your customers about it will build rapport and help them understand the changes. This would be done via in-app messaging, allowing for a richer conversation with the customers and an opportunity to provide the necessary context for them. 

Focus on what the customer is going to receive in return for agreeing to receive notifications. And for customers who don’t opt in for push notifications initially, all is not lost. There are tried-and-true tactics we can assist with to encourage re-opt-in.

Reevaluate your onboarding journey

While every brand will develop their own onboarding journey based on the company’s specific products and goals, the new push notification update is a great time to look at your customer onboarding journey from scratch. This is an excellent opportunity to test and rethink all your assumptions.

Some questions to consider are: should you onboard app users but not request permission to send notifications until they’ve shown intent to purchase or add to cart and then display the request? 

You may want to wait until you have a reason to ask for permission – make a bit more effort to see whether someone is in the market for you to send them push. Perhaps your ideal customer journey involves engaging someone with push further down the funnel (when certain events, like Add to Cart or Add to Wishlist, have been completed, or completed a certain number of times). There’s not one hard and fast way it should be done. It’s important to keep testing to make sure you learn the needs and habits of your customers. 

The Way Forward with Android 13

While rethinking customer onboarding journeys and push notification strategy can be time-consuming, there’s real value in being savvy with how you communicate with customers and potential customers in a way that makes them feel like your brand understands and respects their time and attention. 

This may also be an opportunity to manage up and have important discussions with your C-Suite about the need to focus on metrics that impact the bottom line instead of those that show the biggest numbers. A more focused strategy that engages customers and drives them to specific purchasing decisions will reap greater benefits and impact ROI.

Along with the rest of the world, marketers have just lived through tumultuous and fast-changing times. The ways we reach customers and continue to engage them have undergone a dramatic shift. Things that worked in the past are no longer as effective, and new techniques are emerging all the time. 

But despite their own challenges, marketers know that consumers look to their most trusted brands for the tools they need to live fulfilling lives. Marketers are the ones who help people connect with everything from vital resources to take care of their families to entertaining weekend fun. Marketers are awesome, and it’s time we celebrated you!

After these fast-changing years, it’s time to reconnect with everything that led you to a career in marketing in the first place and discover new ways to grow your business. That’s why I’m inviting you to the Power to the Marketer Festival, a multi-day event you can attend in person or virtually to learn what’s working in today’s market. You’ll pick up new strategies and leave inspired and energized.