Push Notifications Don’t Have To Be Pushy: Here’s How To Make Them Work For You

Push notifications are messages sent by an app publisher to users who have installed an app.
When was the last time you looked at your smartphone? If you’re like us mere mortals (aka, the average American,) you’d be checking your phone 96 times a day — that’s about once every 10 waking minutes!

We hate to admit that we’re so much like Pavlov’s dog, but we all have that reflex to check what’s going on when our screen goes off. That’s why push notifications are so powerful — the message meets your users where they are, so you don’t have to chase them down and shove content down their throats.

What Is a Push Notification and Why Should You Care?

Push notifications are messages sent by an app publisher to users who have installed an app. The message shows up on the home screen of a mobile device and users can see it without logging into the app. You can communicate various types of messages at any time, such as new product updates, app features, news about your brand, and information about the app. You can also get users to take action, such as downloading a coupon or shopping a flash sale.

The Benefits of Push Notifications

With so many customer communication platforms at your disposal, why should you bother adding yet another channel? Here are some good reasons for using push notifications:

Increase customer retention: Users who receive one or more push notifications in their first 90-days have 190% higher average retention rates than those who don’t receive any push notification. You can also bring inactive users back to the app by sending relevant content and thoughtful reminders.

Increase engagement: Push notifications can achieve an open rate of 90%, which is 50% higher than email marketing. 40% of users engage with a push notification within an hour, and the subsequent click rate is 7 times higher than emails.

Support data analytics: You can track open rates, open times, delivery receipts, and engagement to understand your audience’s preferences and behaviors. The insights can help inform your messaging and marketing campaigns both in-app and in other channels.

Enhance the customer experience: Push notifications are great for creating a convenient and relevant user experience. For example, you can send personalized content or offers based on a user’s interactions with your brand to stay top of mind and deliver a targeted experience that drives conversions.

How Is a Push Notification Different From In-App Marketing?

While both push notifications and in-app messaging allow you to communicate to users who have installed your mobile app, their similarities end here.

Push notifications are shown outside of an app, while in-app messages are delivered within an app. Push notifications allow you to reach users any time, while in-app messages only work when a user is interacting with the app. A user can disable push notifications, but they can’t always do so with in-app messages. It’s also worth noting that push notifications give you the opportunity to re-engage lapsed users while in-app messaging targets an engaged audience that’s already interacting with your product.

Push notification and in-app messaging can be equally effective depending on the audience and the context. It’s therefore important to define your objectives, understand the target audience, and implement the right strategy.

Our Best Tips and Tricks for Push Notification Success

Did you know that the average user has 35 apps installed on their smartphone? To get the most from sending push notifications, you need to cut through the clutter:

Use creative opt-in messages: The generic opt-in message for push notifications is boring and doesn’t give users good reasons to grant you permission. Create an appealing opt-in box that details the benefits users will get when they turn on notifications for your app.

Leverage the power of personalization: Targeted messages can yield a 50% higher click-through rate than generic push notifications. Segment your audience based on app user data, such as app interaction history, type of device, past purchases, time zone, etc., to inform your messaging.

Try rich notifications: You can add images, short videos, action buttons, and icons to a notification to increase engagement. Rich notifications can pique the user’s interest and yield a 9% higher click-through rate.

Use geo-fencing: You can segment an audience based on real-time locations to send the most timely and relevant push notifications. This is particularly helpful for brands that want to drive foot traffic to their stores by sending special offers to users who are nearby.

Deliver your message at the right time: You can optimize response rates by sending your push notifications immediately, at the same time in each time zone, or whenever users are most likely to click on a message based on previous interactions.

Differentiate between iOS and Android: Push notifications on these two platforms behave differently. For example, they stay visible on Android phones until users manually clear them. Meanwhile, Apple devices automatically get rid of push notifications from the home screen. You should establish different parameters and design the user experience based on the operability of each system.

Get Inspired with These Push Notification Use Cases

There are many ways to use push notifications. Here are a few ideas to get your gears churning:

Customer lifecycle notifications: Welcome users, facilitate onboarding, encourage users to complete their profiles, re-engage inactive or lapsed users, and thank users for their purchases.

Location-based notifications: Drive traffic to your stores when users are nearby or send notifications when an order is ready for in-store pickup.

Coupons and discounts: Promote a seasonal offer or leverage CRM data (e.g., product recommendations based on past purchases) to drive conversions.

Reminders and status updates: Announce and remind users about upcoming events, keep them informed about a support ticket, or keep them updated about service delivery.

Recurring notifications: Stay top of mind with monthly picks, newsletters, how-to content, personalized product recommendations, and more.

Get More Engagement with Push Notifications

Push notifications can be highly effective in engaging users and driving conversions when you apply them strategically to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time and in the right context. Yet, getting all the pieces to move in unison is easier said than done. Mobile app development is evolving at a fast pace — you could miss out on new technologies or best practices if you blink.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Our team of experts live and breathe mobile app marketing and development. Our audience and revenue services make sure that your app not only works great but is also designed to drive engagement and conversion.

Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you pull all the right levers to maximize the ROI of your mobile app.


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