How to Maximize Opt-In Rates for Location Permissions?

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Location Permissions

With the introduction of new iOS and Android releases, the operating systems give users, even more, control and transparency at an app-level to protect a user's privacy. Users are now in complete control of setting permissions to motion sensors, location services, and various applications, and therefore it’s imperative to earn their trust.

At Sentiance, we understand and welcome these advancements in operating systems and provide full transparency and control over user data. We encourage our clients to be fully transparent about the use of data and how it adds value to customers. 

It is clear that with the upcoming IOS and Android releases, the organizations which provide clear end-user value and communication to their customers will have a competitive advantage over other brands. This post is created to help you optimize your location permissions and user flow and provide explicit, value-based user consent to boost user trust and opt-in rates.

What are the determinants of user behavior?

We know from the customers that we have that the permissions framework does what it intends to do. It gives control to the end-user based on the value perceived. The prompts and "how" and "when" they are displayed are consistent across all customers and geographies. However, the opt-in rate varies based on geography, culture, and most importantly, end-user value. 

  • The attitude of users changes globally. A minority is not willing to share their data and give permission at any cost. However, the majority don't care if the benefits/values outweigh the costs/risks. They are willing to allow location permissions. The attitude is hard to change, especially during onboarding and permission flow. However, we should address some considerations to convince on-the-fence users. For example, perceived end users' value and trust in the brand.
  • The app's purpose and usage help determine the end users' perceived value. Globally, most people are considered data pragmatists who are willing to share their data as long as there is a clear benefit. Therefore, it is essential to communicate in clear and simple terms. I.e., what is the value for the end-user if they share their location? Also, there is a difference between the perceived value of new users just installing the app and older users. When there is an update, the user is requested to give "always on location permission." After a while, it is easier to convince the users to opt-in because they have had time to know the app and experience the services. They already have a connection and commitment.
  • Trust in the brand/organization is the key. Users are more likely to share their data if they have had previous experiences with the brand, seen the news, heard stories, etc. If an earlier hack or improper handling/use of data damages the trust, the attitude of the majority of the users would change negatively. For those cases, extra measures are necessary to recover that trust.

Facilitate opt-in with behavior change techniques

In addition to being clear and transparent about the location data and its value, what else could nudge users to accept location sharing? We have prepared a location permissions playbook where you can find detailed examples of best practices on messaging for different industries. You can use these examples to inspire your messaging to provide your users with a clear explanation of the value of your application. You can also find guidelines to check if the location permissions are correctly authorized at the app start.

Timing matters

When it comes to persuading your users to opt-in, you only have one chance! So the timing is very essential. Here again, the purpose of the app and the hidden value of data sharing matters:

  • Suppose location sharing is critical for the app experience. In that case, explaining the value to the users is more straightforward (e.g., hail riding, UBI insurance). The best time to ask your users to give location permissions is during onboarding. 
  • If the location permission adds a secondary functionality to the primary business model of the app (e.g., banking and retail), let users familiarise themselves with the app. In this case, only ask for location permission at the right time. You should give the opportunity to users to understand why they should opt-in. This will maximize the likelihood that they will.

Build your pre-permission location screen 

Dedicate a custom dialogue box to communicate the benefits of sharing location data. Giving the user more context and information on the value and privacy before presenting them with the actual request can build trust and improve opt-in.

If the timing is not during onboarding and the user is in the app, you can make the pre-permission screen as a proxy to ensure the user is ready. The official dialogue box will be presented only once the user accepts your pre-permission. If your user declines your primer, you can decide to show permissions again at another time.

Make giving permissions easy

Providing a straightforward visual tutorial or a shortcut to settings is a good idea so that the users can easily (re)enable permissions and start using your app.

Frame the message in the right way

Depending on the app's purpose and perceived value to the user, sometimes it might be more persuasive to state the benefits and value in a positive (gain framing). However, the fear of losing an advantage can be more powerful sometimes. So putting the message in a loss framing could be more persuasive. 

Mobile push notifications

Location Permissions Playbook

At Sentiance, we have developed an all-in-one playbook containing in-depth concepts and insights about location permissions. It enables you to get the most out of your app users while ensuring a great user experience. This playbook will grant you access to an in-depth overview of the content seen in this blog, as well as:

  • Messaging best practices, specific for different industries (Mobility, UBI, Lifestyle…)
  • User insights for location sharing.
  • How do big players do it? Case studies and examples. 
  • Step-by-step guide for a user onboarding (Android & iOS)
  • Types of location permissions.
  • And more!

If you have an app or are currently developing one, request a free copy of the Location Permission Playbook! ⬇︎

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Sentiance is the leader in motion insights. Our mission is to save lives every day and shape the future of road safety. Unlike telematics companies, we focus on the driver and not the vehicle because most accidents are caused by human error.  

With our revolutionary on-device AI technology, companies use insights from The Edge Platform to produce scalable, cost-efficient, and privacy-centric solutions for their customers.


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