6 Tips For Effective Push Notifications

April 21, 2016

Evan FP

A common thread with push notifications is that there’s a fine line between a helpful reminder and an annoyance. Your app’s push notifications have the potential to register as either. In our experience, many notifications fall short with poor implementation, poorly targeted push campaigns, and the tendency to spam users with irrelevant content. The result, a jaded audience that won’t hesitate to switch you off as soon as you get on their nerves.

That said, there are plenty of users who look forward to hearing from their favorite apps because their publishers have taken the time to learn what their users want and when they want it. We’ve put together a few tips to help make sure your users look forward to hearing from you. 

1. Know How and When to Ask Permission

As we discussed in our introduction to push notifications, all iOS apps need permission from the user before they’re allowed to send push notifications. When the user agrees to the request, a token is supplied which allows the app to contact the user in the future.

It’s important to note that even though a user agrees to receive notifications, timing is everything, and few apps time their push token request properly. Most drop it in at the start of the very first session, when the user’s knowledge of the app is limited to its name, icon, and whatever they may have read in the store description. Active users get bombarded with these requests, and the majority of the time it’s not a great experience. Many publishers take a shotgun-approach to notification delivery that hurts performance in their app.

To stand out, wait until your users have had a chance to familiarize themselves with the app before you ask, and contextualize the request so that users know what they’re signing up for.

2. Get Specific

From the outset, think about why you’re contacting your users and decide exactly what you want them to do when they receive the notification. Do you want them to complete a purchase? Is there a specific mechanic you want them to engage with? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you measure the effectiveness of your promotions and write effective copy.

3. Know Your Audience

Having a segmented user base is half the battle when it comes to running effective push campaigns. It’s important to know you’re talking to the right users about the right offers, and as a result, the more successful your campaigns will be.

For example, don’t message non-converted users with expensive offers for IAPs. It’s extremely unlikely that a user’s first IAP would be so high-priced, and you’re demonstrating a lack of understanding for their user style. Likewise, don’t reach out to your whale spenders with discounts on small IAPs that wouldn’t be of any use to them. Over time, these kinds of nuisances can cause engaged users to deactivate your app’s notifications.

4. Get the Timing Right

In order to capture as much attention as possible, we suggest timing your push notifications to coincide with hourly spikes in session counts. In our experience, sessions are highest in the mid-afternoon on weekdays and in the evenings on weekends (but always check your analytics to see what time is most popular for your users). Apps geared towards younger audiences are often most active around 3PM to 5PM, during the after-school commute. Timing your push notifications helps ensure a good chunk of your users will receive the notification around the time they would typically engage with your app.

5. Omit Needless Words

Notifications get truncated around 110 characters, or roughly 4 lines of text, so be sure to include the most important details in the beginning of the notification. The shorter you can make your notifications, the easier it is for users to scan. Longer notifications risk not getting the message across and can result in fewer engagements.

6. Provide Details

Users who complete an IAP will only ever be a subset of those who are made aware of the option to spend in app. In between awareness and actually completing an IAP, users need to evaluate whether the offer is of value to them. Your notification copy can help.

Vague notifications like “Come on back! We’ve got a great offer for you!” don’t provide users with the information necessary to immediately evaluate the offer. It baits them in to returning to the app before they can get the details, and can ultimately feel like a waste of their time.

Instead of giving your users more work to do, include all the details of the offer directly within the notification. These types of notifications give your users everything they need to decide whether or not they want what you’re offering. They might feel pushy, but if you’re segmenting effectively and only delivering relevant offers to the appropriate users, you’ll be doing them a favor.

Interested in using Upsight’s platform to maximize the effectiveness of your app’s push notifications? Discover how to send the right notifications, to the right users at the right time. Request a demo today.


In: Product, Marketing

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