Industry

The Radar guide to location prompt best practices

We’ve all been there — you download a new app only to be prompted with an immediate request to access your location. How often do you actually hit “Allow”? Consumers today are increasingly reluctant to share their location data, expressing concerns around privacy, battery life, and not seeing the full value of opting-in. But when mobile users decline location permissions, they may not get the best in-app experience possible. Product and marketing teams can use location data to deliver those relevant, personalized experiences consumers crave, allowing them to drive engagement and conversion on their apps.

Here at Radar, we’ve been working with app developers across a variety of industries and advising them on the best practices when it comes to prompting for location opt-in. Below, we’ve compiled the 3 key principles of a great permission prompt. Read on for examples of apps that nailed this, and what you can learn from them.

Transparent

Be open about the reasons why you’re requesting location permissions. The prompt should explain what data will be collected from the end user and how it will be used, with a link to your privacy policy.

Valuable

An app should only request location opt-in if it provides something of value to the end user. The prompt should explain how enabling location services will help the user get the best app experience possible.

Timely

Ask the user at the right moment of their app journey. Sending a location request immediately after the app is first opened may lead a user to reflexively hit “Don’t Allow”. A prompt that comes out of nowhere can feel intrusive, and doesn’t fully explain the value of opting-in to users who may not be familiar with the app yet. Instead, wait until the user is engaging with a feature that requires location services so they can clearly see why it’s useful to them.

Travel apps

trivago1

trivago2

Valuable  Timely

Travel apps often require location services for the app to fully function. The trivago app highlights this in a really creative way by showing a blank box within the app itself where a user could potentially see a hotel match if they were to have location services enabled. It’s timely and clearly outlines the value to the user.

tripadvisor

Tripadvisor2

Transparent  Valuable  Timely

The TripAdvisor app does a great job of setting the user up with a primer page that explains the benefits, and the location prompt is written in a fun language that’s very fitting for the company.

Food apps

YELP LOGO

Yelp1

Transparent  Valuable

We're big fans of this two-step approach! The first page clearly outlines why location is an integral part of the app experience, with a link to the Yelp support center for full transparency.

mcds

mcd2

Transparent  Valuable

We like how the McDonald's app goes in depth with their prompt for background and foreground permission. The wording clearly outlines the benefits to the user depending on whether they choose "Always Allow" or "Only While Using the App." The only suggestion we have is that the prompt could appear during a more opportunistic moment in the onboarding journey.

Shopping apps

target

target2

Transparent  Valuable  Timely

In this primer page, Target offers two options for users to search for stores near them. The "Show nearby stores" CTA offers the easier option, prompting users to share their location. Those who don't wish to enable location services have the choice to manually enter a zip code or address. The value proposition here is clear to the user. Additionally, there is a link to the company's privacy policy for full disclosure and transparency.

Walgreens

walgreens2

Valuable  Timely

Another great use of the primer page, which shows up during the onboarding process and explains the benefit of turning on location services. We would recommend using the language in the prompt to further explain why opting-in for background location services (Always On) would be valuable to the user.


As you can see, it’s possible to create the best location prompt that will encourage users to opt-in. Opt-in rates vary from app to app, but apps that follow best practices can expect 70-80% of users to grant location permissions, with 40-50% of users granting background ("Always") location permissions on iOS. Keep your communications clear and concise, and always have your users’ best interests in mind.

With the upcoming public release of iOS 13, users will have even more control over how much location access they wish to grant every time they use the app. Keeping to these best practices will help your product teams stay mindful of privacy concerns and ensure they are clearly explaining the value provided to users.