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How To Push The Right Buttons With Push Notifications

Push notifications are frequent messages popped up on users’ windows to increase user engagement. Here are tips on how to send the right push notifications.

Rohan Sheth
May 29, 2019

Right Button For Push Notifications

“Businesses that run push notifications have 3X higher retention and 88% better app engagement.” (Source)

With so many apps in the market, users are often wary about where to direct their attention. In such a competitive field, push notifications – if used the right way – are a great way to capture the attention of your users and drive engagement for your application. Apart from boosting engagement and retention rates, it can also be considered as the most intuitive way of interacting with your app users even when they are not engaged with your app currently.

                        Source: AxwayDocumentation

Here are some of the benefits that push notifications can bring for your app business:

#1. Encourage user engagement

Sending updates and reminders in real-time with push notifications can help attract more users and also keep them engaged on a regular basis.  Compared to previous years, users are now more willing to receive meaningful notifications – meaning that app marketers now have a better opportunity to communicate with them directly.

Be it reward descriptions, special offers, new promotions or launching of a new feature, a push notification is a non-intrusive way of encouraging users to engage with your app.

#2. Target the right audience

During app install, you can request permission from users to access to their location. If granted, it is a great opportunity to personalize communication with location-specific notifications. You’ll be able to target people based on city, state or country. Not only that, but users can also be alerted for a particular offer or discount when they are in a particular location. For example, with push notification, you can inform a user about a special discount on coffee if they are within 500 meters of your cafe.

Users can also be targeted on the basis of interest. A very good example of this is Netflix, where the app uses push notifications to recommend shows to users based on their watch history and interest.

         Source: Twitter

#3. Retain and re-engage users

Converting inactive users into active users can be easily achieved with push notifications. Studies say that sending high-value push notifications help increase app retention rates by 3-10 times. (Source)

Be it personalized offers, meaningful reminders or breaking news in case of a news app, if users feel that your notifications have direct personal value, then they are more likely to re-engage with your app for a longer time.

#4. Increase conversion rates

Marketing messages, if delivered at the right time, can help create a sense of urgency and increase conversion rates. Take the example of an e-commerce app. A lot of times, people add products in their shopping carts and leave without completing the purchase. The distraction could be because of a difficult user experience or a complex checkout process. While you need to fix these problems to prevent cart abandonment, but providing a triggering message in the form of a special discount or limited availability of the product can enhance instant purchase.


#5. Get valuable insights into user behavior & track actionable metrics

An important benefit of push notification is that it can help track user behavior by showing relevant data like open rates and engagement. By analyzing the interaction times and click-through-rates, you can understand which messages are getting a positive response and are more likely to be opened by users. You can plan your next step by making use of this behavioral data.

An important point to consider is that push notifications are sometimes perceived as inconvenient and annoying by app users. What you, as a marketer, need to understand is that the problem lies not in the notifications, but the way it is being pushed. Understanding the best push notification practices will help you grab attention without annoying the users.

How to get push notifications to work effectively for your app:

#1. Pay attention to timeliness

Notifications will be a success, only if it delivers the right message at the right time. Certain parameters such as time zones, time of the day and the preference of the app user (the time when the user opens the app on a daily basis) should be taken into account before sending out the notification. For example, you cannot time all your push notifications for a sale at the same time to different time zones as users would not like to be disturbed with sales messages when they are asleep.

Analyze customer data properly to identify every user’s particular engagement window, to understand when they are open to receiving notifications and accordingly time your messages.

#2. Personalize messages

“Do you know that basic personalization can improve open rates by 9%, and so can emojis?” (Source)

Mentioning the user’s name in your notifications is just one part of personalization, it can be achieved through many other ways too. Take into account the past history, behavioral history, tastes, and preferences and the content your users share on social media and base your messages on these data.

                                 Source: themarketingscope.com

Localizing the language can also help take personalization to the next level. Other customer attributes like age, gender, favorite color, etc, can help you draft your content better and target the right customers.

Apart from that, “the use of emojis in push notifications can increase overall engagement by 85%.” (Source)

#3. Focus on the content

Content plays a major role in deciding the number of click-through rates of your push notifications. The title and the description in your message should be crisp, clear and communicable. Try using various methods for drafting the title such as –

  • Humorous – A relevant title with a dash of humor can intrigue users to click on it
  • Curious – Adding some sense of curiosity to the title can make users inquisitive and encourage them to open the message
  • Sense of urgency – Using content that adds a sense of urgency can help increase click-through rates and increase conversion

                               Source: Twitter

Ensure that the description matches the tone of the title.

#4. Give importance to segmentation

People may use your app for different reasons, so it is important to segment your users accordingly. For example, an entertainment app like Netflix or Hotstar hosts different genres of shows and movies. There will be users who are interested only in thrillers and another segment who prefer romance. So, sending notifications based on that segmentation will ensure that the right content reaches the right audience.

In the case of an e-commerce store, sending notifications about discounts in men’s apparel to women who do not have a previous purchase history of the same can lead to a lower click-through rate and conversions.

#5. Do A/B testing

To get a clear picture of which push notifications are performing well and delivering results, do an A/B testing before sending it out to your app users. Test all factors and compare the results to get a clear understanding of what is favored by your users. User retention and engagement platforms like SmartKarrot provide A/B testing on their platform that can be used by businesses with minimal coding. This feature runs multivariate tests on actions and triggers to compare and measure performance.

               Source: Twitter

Getting users to download your mobile app is just one part of your app success, to keep your users engaged and reengaged with your app is the real challenge, and push notifications are an efficient and fast way to communicate and achieve your business goals.

For higher engagement, easy incentivization and better analysis – with minimal coding and inherent flexibility – choose SmartKarrot, the world’s first comprehensive user retention & engagement platform. ItsSmartNotifications feature can help you deliver compelling content, triggered at the right time and using appropriate channels.

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Originally Published May 29th, 2019, Updated March 31st, 2021

Rohan Sheth

Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.

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2 years ago

Jasmine Hewitt

Push notifications are super handy for to keep up with certain apps I might not normally check all the time

2 years ago

Eddie Ford

A/B testing is something I do all the time with push notifications. I usually split them into at least 4 groups using different colors, adjectives, and call to actions. The results are very interesting and vary more than you’d expect! Using images, emojis, and buttons where supported can help CTR a great deal as well.

2 years ago

Robin Wood

Using locations is a really great idea, I hadn’t considered that use case but I can imagine how well it would convert. Push notifications based on interest is something I do heavily, though. With the data available to me via extensive usage tracking, I can really tailor the notification to the user which results in a really good amount of clicks. Good point about A/B testing as well, something I should be doing more of. The data can be very valuable.

2 years ago

Tyler Green

I wasn’t using push notifications for a long time but now that I am, I’m wondering why I haven’t been all this time! People forget about things with all the apps they use, push notifications are the perfect reminder to bring them back in. I like the idea of A/B testing but I’ll have to figure out a good way to do it and get meaningful statistics.

2 years ago

Tom Reed

Push notifications are so useful these days. They used to be nothing but text and a link but now, you can use images for all types of devices, icons, colors and buttons. It’s easier than ever to make your notification stand out and, with segmentation, get the right message to the right people.

2 years ago

Michael C.

I love push notifications but they are unfortunately beginning to get a bad reputation. Too many publishers are using them to spam users with ads, so it’s now harder than ever to get people to agree to receive them. They are still super useful and your tips will increase their effectiveness for sure!

2 years ago

Brett Lucas

For the longest time, I was sending push notifications to all users without any care for the presentation. Since I started segmenting the audience, writer punchier headlines, and including images, the click-through-rate has skyrocketed. You have to spend time creating a good notification, there’s no one size fits all. Nice idea about A/B testing as well, I’ll give it a go.

2 years ago

Zack Reuben

For the most part, push notifications are amazing. They keep you informed and can let you know about new features or things you’ve missed without having to check in-app constantly. As long as you don’t bombard your push subscribers with ads you’ll probably keep a good reputation. There are better ways to earn money. Great tips for creating quality notifications here!

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