Push notifications have been a popular feature amongst app developers for the past few years.
So it is not surprising that push notifications can be an effective way to capture a customer’s attention at just the right time. Push notifications allow a brand to reach their customers with effective messages that can help increase engagement and build relationships with those customers.
However, the results do not always turn out how businesses envision. The tools are all there but, in reality, many brands fail to use this channel effectively and end up pushing customers to opt out of notification programs. Depending on the industry an app is in, you may find that over 60% of iOS users will choose to opt out of push notification programs. (Kahuna)
Rather than thoughtfully preparing a notification program based on customer needs and behavior, many businesses will merely churn out irrelevant and poorly timed messages that only annoy recipients. It doesn’t have to be this way; push notifications can be an effective and engaging method of communicating with customers.
The key to creating a powerful push notification program is having the right strategy going in. These tips will help you create an effective push notification program.
Focus on clarity and brevity
Strive to create messages that are clear and concise. You want your messages to be easy to understand at a glance. It only has a moment to capture a customer’s attention, so your message should clearly relay its value in a compact format.
In many cases, push notifications can be an entry point to more information. They should convey enough information to invite user to read further. Keep in mind that shorter push notifications tend to outperform longer ones in studies. According to research performed by Localytics, push notifications under ten words outperformed longer messages by a large margin. It is well worth putting a little more time into tightening up your messages.
Include images and emojis
By including emojis as part of your push notifications you can help them capture a customer’s attention in a playful way that is widely accepted today. Additionally, emojis are a great way to cut down on the number of words included in your message. While not every message can be benefited by an emoji, many can. Emojis can inspire emotions, create a tone, or give information in a compact manner.
If you have an Android app you have the opportunity to include images as part of your push notifications. These can be a powerful way to improve the response to your push notifications that should be carefully considered as part of your push notification program.
Timing is important
The timing of your message is important. If you send it when someone is busy working or even asleep the odds of them responding are small. By paying attention to when you send out notifications you can increase the effectiveness.
There really is no one best time to send push notifications, each user will have a time that works best given their personal lifestyle. With mobile, it isn’t difficult to optimize the timing for each user based on their interaction patterns.
Not every business has added data collection and this type of analysis and functionality to their mobile program. If your business isn’t ready to customize the timing, then you will find that there are specific times that tend to work better than others for sending out push notifications. According to that same study performed by Localytics mentioned above, notification click rates were significantly higher during the week (especially from Tuesday to Friday) and response rates were highest between noon and 5 pm.
These times should only be taken as a general rule of thumb. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for your customers.
Personalize your messages
To improve the effectiveness of your messaging program, you will want to personalize your messages. According to research from Kahuna, personalized notifications can work 4 times better. This doesn’t just refer to adding the users’ first names to your message either.
It is important that you build your notification program around user data to maximize effectiveness. You want to make your message as targeted as possible. Sending messages that users have no interest in will not only decrease the effectiveness but cause users to opt out of your program altogether. Let’s say I have your retail app on my device and you occasionally send me a notification that men’s shoes are on sale. I have never bought a pair of men’s shoes and have no interest in them; in fact, all I have purchased from you are women’s shoes and clothes. Since I am your customer you should know this. This would lead me to opt out of your program after the second notification like this.
You want your customers to feel like you understand them and you want your push notifications to raise the level of engagement rather than turning customers away. You want your messages to be based on your customers’ preferences and interests. To improve your program, create multiple segments within your user base and send campaigns to the different segments rather than sending the same messages to everyone.
Test, test, test
To improve the effectiveness of your messaging program, utilize A/B testing to help identify the most effective messages. Certain messages, images, and phrases will resonate with your customers better than others, and testing will help you find what’s best for your audience. In tests, we have run, we have seen some messages perform 4 or 5 times better than others. Without testing, we never would have known which were the best ones to send out to a larger group.
Track and measure effectiveness
While push notification effectiveness is typically measured by metrics such as open rates, this doesn’t really give you a complete picture of the message’s effectiveness. Many effective push notifications don’t require users to click anything. Just by getting users to read them they will have done their job.
Beyond open rates, you want to understand what is happening when customers are getting the information that you are sending out and the effect it is having. Obviously, this is more difficult to track. Sometimes the best way to watch this is by watching the negative indicators, are users opting out? Are users uninstalling your app? Increases in those numbers after notifications are sent will enlighten you.