How To Boost App Engagement With Push Notifications

In recent years, publishers have gotten excited about the power of push notifications to boost mobile app engagement.

Unlike email marketing, which was once the most coveted customer engagement tool, a push is difficult to ignore.

Push notifications allow you to reach out to users at just about any time.

Whether they’re eating breakfast, at work, or using other applications on their device; you still have a way to communicate with your audience.

Of course, this is also why the strategy has so much potential to fail.

A marketing channel that’s so disruptive carries a lot of risk for misuse. Even giants like CNN, Spotify, and Facebook have blundered their way into the headlines for doing so.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re pushing the right way.

Tell them how to break up with you!

It’s tempting to make opt-outs difficult for your user, precisely because push notifications are so effective.

However, forcing your prospects into communication destroys customer loyalty.

Make opting out whenever they want as easy as possibleThat said, don’t assume the easy opt-out gives you a free pass to spam. Even if they can ditch you, overdoing things still leaves a bad taste in their mouth concerning your brand.

Test and track

Don’t walk out there with a blindfold and swing at dead air.

There are plenty of tools you can use to analyze user behavior and discover what triggers opt-outs or declines in engagement.

To get started, use Google Analytics in your app and measure your users’ activity.

Correlate activity with your push notifications to find patterns. You can then adjust your push notification strategy accordingly.

Know your audience

Mobile devices provide an unreal amount of customer-centric data, so there’s really no excuse for ignoring your demographics.

Make sure you know when your customers are awake and what the best times are to send them notifications. For example, early morning and dinner are usually a no-go for most audiences.

Stick with relevant content that pertains to them, and keep their location info in mind when applicable.

Always create value

This isn’t all about advertising. You also want to build relationships and credibility.

Even simple things like transaction confirmations and updates about items on a wish list provide an opportunity to get your name out there without being overbearing.

Other opportune times include when instant actions are needed or when crucial info needs to be delivered, such as a a flight change.

Tailor to the platform

Tempted to re-use content from your website for mobile? Don’t.

Mobile platforms are more personal, and users expect high relevancy.

The shortcut of using the same slogans and messages you use on your website can be tempting, but mobile is mobile. Never forget your medium.

Put the power in their hands

It’s imperative to make management of preferences easy.

Why? Users may get overwhelmed and just opt out completely.

You should make it possible to choose what types of alerts they get, when notifications are on or off, and specified quiet hours.

This added control goes a long way toward building trust and minimizing irritation.

Mobiloud follows this and other best practices by letting users easily opt out of push notifications for articles and news based on their category.
Mobiloud push notification settings to boost app engagement

Give it to them straight

The huge key to your push marketing is to be completely clear what’s in store.

Before they opt in, people need to know why they want to receive messages from your app, what kind of notifications they’ll receive, and when you’ll be sending them.

Spell out the benefits of push notifications in your app description, and watch your results go up drastically.

Plan out a comprehensive strategy

Do not fly by the seat of your pants on this.

Not all push notifications are equal. You want the more annoying ones or less relevant ones to be less intrusive – that means timing becomes more important than ever.

Push cadence is important too. Don’t send too often, but don’t wait too long or they’ll forget who you are and feel interrupted when you start contacting them again.

Scheduling features can be great for set and forget marketing, but make sure you plan for notifications to expire when coupons do. No one wants to get hassled about out-of-date sales.

As a Mobiloud customer you can choose to trigger notifications automatically for new content, with full control of which categories of content should automatically be pushed to your users.

You can also send manual messages with posts, pages or URLs attached, giving you great flexibility in how you manage your app’s notifications.

Final thoughts: push requires a new approach

A new, powerful communication medium like push notifications requires thinking differently about how you interact with your audience.

Push notifications can be extremely powerful when done right. However, from a user’s perspective, they can also be one of the most frustrating marketing tactics.

Remember, your users are giving you their trust by allowing you to interrupt them as you please.

Respect that trust, and your customers will respect you.

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Pietro Saccomani

Pietro is the founder of MobiLoud, where he helps site owners grow their audience on mobile with their own mobile apps.