The zen of push notifications is about knowing when to send a message, and to whom. This is important due to the fact that the user is exposed to a big amount of push notifications each day.
Just to give you an indication of the use of push notifications, iOS itself sends over 40 billion push notifications each day.
Statistics reveals that 53 percent of surveyed smartphone users will stop using an app if the number of push notifications is in between two to ten notifications per week. This illustrates the fact that the use of push notifications should be seen as a privilege and not a right. In other words, push notifications need to provide added value to the user experience of your app.
Apps that send between 11+ notifications per week is usually conversational apps, which indicates the importance of a well-planned push notification strategy if your app isn’t a conversational app such as Instagram, dating-apps, facebook, mail etc.
This article focuses on the use of push notifications and will give you some tips on how to use push notifications in the best possible way.
What is a push notification?
Before pointing out the benefits of push notifications it is relevant to define the concept.
A push notification is simply a message that pops up on the devices, that have downloaded the app.
This means, that users do not have to have the specific app open or use their mobile device to receive the notifications. This is due to the fact that push notifications can be sent whenever you want to, and the number of push notifications is unlimited.
Why use push notifications?
Push notifications gives convenience and value for the users, and there are three primary reasons for using push notifications, which will be explained in the following: i) To engage users, ii) easier communication with users and iii) customer relations development.
1. To Engage users
First of all push notifications enable you to provide users with relevant information and to encourage engagement. The average smartphone user has 80 apps installed on their device, but they only use close to 40 of them per month. This fact reveals that a lot of apps have a wide customer base of inactive users, which makes push notifications important in order to engage users.
In the occasion of an inactive user, a push notification can increase involvement by reminding the user of the app even when the app is closed.
Altogether the use of push notifications can result in an increase in traffic, optimized app use and increased returns from your app.
2. Easier communication with users
The advantage of push notifications in comparison with e-mails is the fact that they do not get caught in spam filters or forgotten in an inbox.
Statistics actually show that the click-through rates can be twice as high for push notifications in comparison with e-mails. The reason for this might be due to the simpleness of push notifications, which only provide you with the most essential information.
For example, users can receive sports scores, news, traffic messages, flight information etc.
Therefore by providing added value through push notifications, you enhance the user experience. This makes push notifications an effective weapon when communicating with your customers.
3. Customer relations development
The use of push notifications can both help you attract new customers and help you maintain the relationship with your loyal customers. This is for example by using push notifications for promotion of products, last minute deals, new adds in the app etc.
Furthermore, the use of push notifications can give you a perspective on the customer behavior. This can be done through tracking of interaction, revealing when, where, why and how the customers use your app etc.
All together push notifications is a way to develop your customer relations by engaging the customers through valuable information.
How do push notifications appear to the users?
As mentioned earlier it is important that you strategically plan your push notifications and the content of the push notifications to keep your customers engaged and finding them relevant.
Normally the push notifications appear as a banner or pop-up alert while the customer is using their mobile device.
The thing about push notification is that it is shown no matter what the user is doing - if the user hasn’t customized the mobile settings for the notifications, which typically decrease the chance for your updates to annoy and reach the customer.
The customer can control whether or not he or she would like to receive the push notifications, including which types of notifications.
This is the reason why you have to make your push notifications relevant for the user.
How to make the notifications valuable and relevant for the user will be explained later on.
Due to the above mentioned,there are some risks, that you should be aware of in the use of push notifications:
- There is no turning back - when you have sent the push notification, it is sent.
- The push notifications are delivered to the front of the user’s device.
- The user can find your notifications annoying, which can make them uninstall the app
Furthermore, it should be underlined that GDPR and the national legislation can make some restrictions on the use of push notifications.
This leads us to how you can avoid experiencing these three scenarios by following the four-step guide to the zen of push notifications.
The four simple steps to a more successful use of push notification
As shown in the beginning 31% of the users stop using the app if it sends between 6-10 push notifications. The average person has about 80 apps installed, and if each of these apps sends push notifications, it is all about mastering it. This guide will give you four steps to help you make valuable and relevant notifications.
1. Make use of targeting
First of all, you can customize your push notification to a fenced area and duration on the platform for example during an hour, a day, a month etc.
If you do so, the push notifications will only be sent to the users, who are in your fenced area during the chosen amount of time.
This will, in the end, reduce the possibilities of sending irrelevant notifications to users for who it isn’t relevant. For example, if one of your app owners is out traveling for a month, then they might not care about your weekly offer that specific month.
They would rather appreciate the fact, that they do not receive the offers when they do not have the possibility to take advantage of them.
So the takeaways for this step is:
- You should only notify the people who are nearby and has the possibility of taking advantage of the push notification.
Another method to secure that you have customized push notifications is through personalization. Research shows that personalization yield a higher click-through rate.
So how do you personalize the push notifications? It is all about the data.
What do your customers use the app for? Is it a game - then remind them of how far they have come. Is it a shopping app - then remind the users of the items they have been looking at. This can boost the engagement.
The first step in personalization is actually upon downloading the app. When downloading the app the user will usually start exploring the app. This will possibly give you information about: Their name, location, device and which features they find most interesting.
This means that you only need the customer to use your app in a few minutes before you have data to personalize your push notifications. Within a few days after the download, you should have gained even more data about your user’s interactions in the app.
If they have been inactive for a while, you should send them a push notification, for example by highlighting some of the things they were doing the last time, they visited the app. For example with a shopping app - give them a notice if the product they looked at is on sale.
The thing you should note from this step is:
- Research shows an average uplift of 94% on CTRs for personalized notifications. Therefore, you should personalize your push notifications as much as possible.
3. It is all about the timing
The above mentioned two steps are about the content of your push notification, but a relevant factor for those two steps is the timing. The timing of your push notifications is vital for the click-through rate and whether or not the user pays attention to it. So what is the right timing?
An optimal timing is to send the push notifications in the hours, where the users are in your app.
If it is an inactive user, then a good advice is to send the notification during the hours, where the customer is most likely to be on their phone. Statistics show, that over 50% of smartphone users look at their smartphone immediately after waking up, but this doesn’t mean, that it is the right time to send them a push notification.
Research reveals that the best time of the day to send push notifications is between noon and 5 pm on weekdays except Mondays. Mondays are typically the day where the average user is busiest. An unwritten rule in connection with the timing of the day is the morning should be push-free.
Pay attention to the fact that I said the average user in the above mentioned, and having step 1-2 in mind, you should time your push notifications specifically to your audience.
This step’s takeaway is:
- When it comes to the timing of your push notifications, they should be sent,
when the customer has enough time to read them.
4. The use of Emojis
As the above question and the aforementioned steps indicate it is all about making it personal and trying to do it as less robotic as possible. To make it human and personal the use of emojis can be effective.
Statistics indicate an average uplift of 124% on the click-through rates on push notifications that consisted of emojis.
The takeaway from step four is, therefore:
- A strategic tool in boosting the click-through rate on your push notifications is the use of emojis.
Conclusion - The zen of push notifications
Push notifications are a direct path of communication with the customers because they enable the company to send out messages to the app users.
It is an easy way to create customer engagement and recognition.
A push notification is, therefore, an effective and valuable method to address a number of goals at the same time. Thus, push notifications should be treated as a privilege, and not a right.
However, to gain the advantages of push notifications, it is essential that the content the push notification provide is relevant and interesting for the specific customer. To gain a higher click-through rate it can be recommended to focus on four areas: Targeting, Personalization, Timing, and Emojis.
If the user doesn’t find the push notifications relevant they will be seen as interrupting and annoying, which will either lead to; turn off notifications, a negative perception about your app or worst case uninstallation of your app.
All together is about avoid being pushy, despite the name “push” notifications. So, your getaways from this guide are human, write to the customer’s interests - think: What would make myself to click on the push notification, when I receive one?