With an estimated 1.2 billion new smart devices expected in hands in 2013, push notifications can no longer be ignored. There is currently no better way to reach a target audience with the exact message and direction you’d like to take them, which is why push has become the next frontier of marketing. Let’s take a look at the benefits of push notifications, and how you can begin formulating your strategy for maximum user engagement.
Why Engagement Matters
Most app owners determine an app’s success by setting the bar with download numbers. While that’s a good indicator of an app’s initial adoption, download numbers naturally decline a month or two after your app’s release, and it becomes more important to focus on keeping the user-base you’ve built engaged. It’s hard to deny the strength of push notifications in this regard, as statistics continually show increasing user engagement in apps as a result of push efforts.
- According to multiple sources, 97% of push notifications are read, as opposed to 3-4% for email based campaigns.
- An Urban Airship study shows that in the six months following the app’s download less than 20% of users who didn’t receive push remained users, while over 30% of users who received notifications from the start were still utilizing the app.
- The following active user statistics are taken from a ShoutEm-based app which utilizes push notifications regularly. The red circles indicate when a push was sent, with active users increasing at a steady rate both on the day of the push and as a result of the continuing campaign.
Developing Your Strategy
Since users have the choice to opt out of your notifications at any time, tailoring your push messages to suit your app’s context is the most effective way to keep users from seeing your messages as intrusive or unwanted. The best way to approach this is to consider your message as incentive for your user, rather than a piece of information. Also, consider some of these best practices when formulating strategy:
- Frequency of your messages. Ask yourself objectively, “Would I be annoyed by the volume of messages I’ve been receiving from this app?” If the answer is yes, or even maybe, you may want to consider spacing them out.
- What time is it? Knowing your target market allows you to send messages during reasonable hours, when engagement is usually best anyway. Anything between 10 AM and 6 PM is recommended. Anything outside that, and you risk missing the user’s attention or annoying them.
- Encourage engagement whenever you can. A relevant message is great, but it’s better to create discussion or interaction in the app which leads to sharing and other benefits. Using a concert announcement message as an example, ask users which song they’d like to hear, which takes them to your social network functions.
Every app’s push context is different, but thinking as your average user does will help you make sure your messages stay on point for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Depending on the purpose of your app, there are a few different routes you can take for maximum push value or engagement.
- Leading users to your content. If you’re a blogger or content creator, let your users know when there’s an exclusive blog post, podcast or video.
- Encouraging engagement through contests. Using your in-app social network, drive users to engage with photo-based contests, such as “post a picture of X” or reward users for the best response to a question you may have.
- Offer exclusive discounts or deals. “Today only” deals, or discounts on products you offer, offer great incentive for your user to continue to return to your app.
- Event reminders and announcements. Is the big game today? What time does the DJ start at the club tonight? Will there be a change in store hours over the holidays? Friendly reminders for your app users take a couple seconds of their time, rather than them finding out too late or spending 5 minutes searching.
If you haven’t used push notifications in your app yet, we challenge you to get one out in the next week. Push is a free part of the ShoutEm platform and takes 30 seconds to send to every device your app is on. Enjoy the results!