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Ads are never very welcome, and when they are intrusive they are most disliked. There is therefore very little more annoying than to receive a notification, only for it to turn out to be an ad for the nearest McDonalds or Fortnite clone.
Till now ads sent via app notifications were banned on iOS, though Apple was not shy themselves in using notifications to upsell users on iCloud storage or Apple Music.
Now in their latest App Store review guidelines, Apple has formalized their acceptance of push notification ads (or “notifications for marketing purposes” as they call it).
The guidelines now state:
4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.
While Apple notes that users will need to opt-in and be able to opt-out, it would be very easy for developers to tie important elements of the app to notifications, for example being notified of matches on Tinder while also being notified about the latest deals at McDonald’s.
Given how lucrative user attention is, we anticipate this new marketing channel will very soon be swamped.