How to best use push notifications

Avatar of Andy Jones by Andy Jones , 04 Apr 2022 Web Application Development UK

Push notifications are dynamic tools for communication.

Mainly used to improve the engagement of users, they tend to be the playthings of the marketers and developers of a business. Knowing how to use push notifications can also promote products and improve the UX of a platform.

Despite all of this praise, it has to be said that the effectiveness of push notifications depends heavily on how businesses make use of them. Blasting impersonal, spam messages to your user base can do a lot more harm than good.

On the other hand, you also get notifications that aren’t too frequent, are personalised to the end consumer, and timed well. These are proven to result in more positive and seamless user experiences. Better still, when push notifications are used in this manner, they often meet, if not surpass, the expectations of their intended audience.

Thoughtfulness is your guide, here; it will be essential in optimising the reach and effectiveness of your push notifications. This post covers all the things you need to consider in order to make the most of the notifications your business or online platform sends out.

How to use push notifications

More often than not, you find that mobile devices already give their users more notifications than the user cares for. In light of this, the last thing you want is to be the company that overwhelms subscribers with irrelevant, poorly timed notifications.

Notifications need to be relevant to the subscriber and well timed, too. Many companies already own a wealth of user data which, when used correctly, can assist savvy developers and marketers to produce the most relevant and interesting messages.

Push notifications should be based on the specific interests, behaviours and preferences of the user. How, you ask? Let’s walk you through it.

3 push notification tips every business should know

An app developer testing push notifications on his phone, representing how to use push notifications.

Make your notifications personal

Having access to data that shows you how your users behave and interact with your platform is useless, unless you know how to use that data.

Sent to subscribers over a period of four weeks, an analysis of more than 90 billion push notifications yielded interesting results. Push notifications that were targeted and tailored to specific user segments had a click-through rate that was 21 percent higher than generic, blanket notifications.

Remember not to be afraid of running test campaigns. This way, you get to experiment with your targeting and optimise your results.

Utilise rich media

Rich? Yes – these are the Jeff Bezos of notifications. In essence, rich notifications are crammed with little tidbits that make your notifications more interactive than normal messages.

Rich notifications feature useful call-to-action buttons, images, short video clips or follow-through links. Since a lot of users will likely not even open your notification with some sort of interesting media catching their eyes, the inclusion of media in your notifications can be pivotal. It can even hold their attention for a little bit longer.

Consider an online platform that informs its subscribers of the latest developments. The inclusion of a playful GIF image or even an emoji in the subject line could be all that’s needed to pique the interests of such a platform’s subscribers.

Rich notifications aren’t always effective, though. Yet, when used correctly, they can be powerful drivers of user engagement and platform activity.

Timing is everything!

This is where we re-emphasise the importance of user data. A business or online platform can have subscribers living scattered across the world, living in different time zones and holding different interests.

While what you send is always important, when you send it deserves an equal amount of consideration. Sending urgent notifications immediately will surely be appreciated by the user. But sending blanket notifications to a worldwide audience may have some users feeling left out or prioritised less.

Consider an online shopping app that has users across the world. When items go on sale, it uses the time of its headquarters to send notifications to all its subscribers. This could be awkward and frustrating for subscribers in other countries and time zones, making them feel disregarded or less prioritised.

Thus, you need to deeply consider the right time certain users get certain notifications and at which times those users are likely to interact with said notifications.

The frequency at which you send out push notifications is equally as important as when you send them. Not often enough, and you’ll lose the attention your app deserves; too often, and your users will likely become irritated and more likely to uninstall your app.

Although there is no real one-size-fits-all solution to this, and much of it will depend on what your app is for, the general consensus is that you should be sending out a minimum of one notification a day, and no more than four.

Research from moengage showed that, in a 60-day period, 100-125 push notifications ensured maximum interaction and minimal uninstalls, which averages out to around two notifications per day.

Conclusion

And there you have it, our three top tips to optimise the effect and reach of your push notifications.

It’s always a slippery slope between spam and relevant information. A poorly crafted push notification strategy can hurt your brand, resulting in a loss of users and reduced platform activity. Paying attention to user’s details and the data at your disposal can drive user engagement and platform growth.

Just ensure your messages are relevant, engaging and timed correctly. We hope you’ve found this post helpful. Better still, we trust that you’ll take the right measures to make the most of the push notifications your business sends to its customer base.

Want help using push notifications to keep your users engaged?

Here at Make IT Simple, we’ve got all the know-how and experience to ensure the success of every push notification you implement in your app – plus, much more! To get the ball rolling on your app development project, contact our team today


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