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Push notifications: An ultimate guide and dos and donts
Published on May 19, 2022
Smartphones are on the rise more than ever, creating bigger opportunities for app publishers to connect with their users. One method that has become extremely popular in recent times is push notifications.
What: The definition of push notifications
Push notifications are pop-up messages that appear in the notification center of a smartphone. They’re sought-after because they're easily accessible, and users subscribe to them only when they’re looking for value. What makes a user engage with a push notification or swipe it away depends on several factors that you need to incorporate.
An ideal push notification is three things:
- Relatable - The message is highly relevant to the user because it considers their behavior, location, and preference.
- Personalized - The message is targeted toward individuals because it is triggered based on the user activity on the app.
- Actionable - The message includes an action item that enables users to engage with the app.
Apart from the above, push notifications must have an icon badge to indicate the number of notifications on the app. Moreover, segregating the content into title, body, and CTA provides more clarity. Adding images and rich media is a huge plus!
Now, what are the reasons to send push notifications? Let’s see.
Why: The purpose of push notifications
Push notifications are powerful because they can be customized depending on user behavior, which is why they’re great for improving user engagement and retention. Analyzing user activity helps you decide what can keep them engaged with your app. It may be a promotional notification, latest news, or updates.
Let’s look at the best push notification strategies that can drive results by making the users subscribe.
How: Top strategies that work
1. Launching opt-in messages
First things first, take permission from the users to send them push notifications. This can be done through opt-in messages. However, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Creating the right permission message - If possible, create a compelling message telling them the perks of opting in for the notifications should work.
- Placing the message in the right space - Find out the most engaging or visited screens of your app to place the opt-in pop-up.
For example, if an item in the cart goes out of stock, ask the user to be notified through a push notification when it is back in stock.
2. Mapping user behavior
Understanding a user’s activity on your app can help you create highly-relevant push notification messages. Did a user stop watching a soccer match mid-way? Did they read an entire article on your app? Prompt them to continue watching or subscribe to notifications for similar write-ups.
3. Launching limited period offers and promotions
Launch limited-period offers to keep your users engaged. But before you do this, you need to determine what can make the users return to your app - may be a specific offer, deal, or incentive. Besides, the chances of your promotions getting more results increase when you use push notifications. Launched something new or have an event coming up? Promote it through push notifications and reach the users directly.
4. Minimizing abandoned carts
If you have an ecommerce business, it’s common to face a situation where users don’t go past the checkout page to make a purchase. Get them back using push notifications about an offer on the item or its availability. This is how push notifications can help you retarget your users.
5. Sending out app updates
Another way you can take advantage of push notifications is by notifying about app updates. This is a great way to let users know that a better version of your app is available and they’re missing out on it. Now that you know what works and what’s allowed, let’s find out what you shouldn’t be doing with push notifications.
Don’ts: Bad push notification practices
1. Not taking consent
Users may find push notifications disruptive because they appear when the app is not being used and may be accompanied by a sound or an alert. This may result in the user uninstalling your app. Thus, seek their permission to send such notifications.
2. Sending notifications too frequently
How often you send push notifications is a critical factor that decides their success. Sending them too frequently may irritate the user, while rarely sending them may not get the desired results. Find an optimal frequency that works in your favor.
3. Not evaluating results
If you’re already using push notifications, it’s time that you start analyzing their performance with relevant statistics. Another thing that can benefit you is A/B testing, which can identify the best-performing strategies.
4. Asking for app ratings
Plan your notifications around user benefits and not just your advantage. Users rarely engage with push notifications asking for ratings and feedback. Especially if they haven't been using your app lately, it’s a bad practice to ask for a rating.
5. Advertising another product
Users are on your app to fulfill a purpose. Sending them notifications about a completely different product or service can be a big turn-off because it’s not something they signed up for.
6. Pseudo claims
Make sure what you claim is what you offer because push notifications with misleading content are an easy way to lose users. Additionally, those leading to unintended downloads should be off-limits.
All in all, push notifications are viable for increasing user engagement and retention for your app if done right. Understand your users, test before you finalize a strategy, and you’re good to go!
Can I monetize using push notifications?
You can directly monetize with push notifications if you’re promoting your own in-app purchases or other offers. Indirect monetization happens when the notification leads to a page that has ads.
What is the best time to send push notifications?
The best time to send push notifications depends on individual users. Analyze user statistics to identify the window when the users are willing to read and engage with your notifications.
Are push notifications better than emails?
Push notifications have a better click-through rate (CTR) than emails because they get higher visibility.
Can I use push notifications on websites?
Yes, you can. Web push notifications are sent to users via a browser.