Push notification strategy in the works? Here’s what you should consider

Woman uses cell phone.

Push notifications have come a long way since first being introduced by Apple in 2009. If you have an app, they should be a thought-out piece of your overall marketing strategy in this climate of online noise.

Below are eight things you should consider when developing your push notification strategy to maximize your results:

What’s the point of your push alerts?

It sounds simple, but all too often, we want to run before we can walk in any new campaign. It’s so important to take a step back and outline the targeted audience and goals. 

With push notifications specifically, there are a few different types, such as informative, time-bound or reminder. Knowing who you’re targeting and why will help you decide what mix of push notification types (and even tone) you’ll want to plan for your campaign.

How personal can your push notification get?

In a world of noise, personalization even in the smallest degree can help you stand out. According to a Delvv study, most people felt push notifications were irrelevant. So often, this is because notifications are not tailored to meet a user’s needs or interests. Understanding your audience so that your message is relevant to them is crucial.

What data do you have on your target customer base? Age range? More one gender or another? In school? Have families? The more information you have, the better you can serve your audience with your overall push notification content.

But can you take it a step further?

According to Braze Magazine, personalizing your message with such attributes as a user’s first name, recent purchases, etc. can increase conversions by 27.5 percent (compared with generic notifications). Also according to Braze, sending different campaign messages to different audience segments can lead to a 200 percent increase in conversions.

Find out if your mobile provider gives you the ability to either segment your audience (so that what you say to one group can differ from what you say to another group) or include personalization code in your message itself (such as a user’s first name). DailyStory is among the platforms that do both.

Timing is everything for push alerts

Have you ever received a push notification in the middle of the night that didn’t irritate you? Most would say no because truly, timing is everything. 

In general, if you’re looking for the best time to send your notification (and not just a non-annoying time), then focus on weekdays between 7 and 10 a.m. and/or between 6 and 10 p.m.

The logic (and the data backing it up) is based on typical user habits: people starting their day and wanting (or are willing) to be informed and people winding down their day and wanting (or are willing) to be engaged before they go to sleep.

One factor to keep in mind is timezones. If you have a global or even a national audience, you must be aware of the time differences you face and how to plan for them.

Can you geotarget your push notifications?

Rank geotargeting up there with personalization because, truly, it is a form of personalization. These days, location-based technologies are more available and commonplace than you might think, and they enable you to get the right message to the right person in the right place. In a nutshell, geotargeting works by virutually “fencing” a zone that can be anything from the size of a building to an entire zip code (or larger). When a user enters that zone, they get served your message.

But the magic of geotargeting happens when you understand the user’s experience. What message will catch their attention when they’re at a particular place? Your creativity is your only limit here.

How many is too many push alerts?

When you have the power to pop up on users’ phones, it’s oh so easy to go overboard with how often you message them. If you send too many too often, you risk user dissatisfaction and dismissal, or even worse: the uninstallation of your app.

The average U.S. smartphone user receives 46 push notifications per day on average already, according to Business of Apps.

Of course, message rate limits can help ensure that you don’t overwhelm your audience, but it’s best to plan the appropriate frequency ahead of time. 

Do you have a message inbox for push notifications?

If you’ve ever accidentally dismissed a notification and had it gone forever, you understand the value of a message inbox in your app. Of course, this feature is mostly something to look out for when developing your app with an app provider because it will give your users the ability to browse messages at their leisure (or find them if they unintentionally dismissed any that they were interested in).

Test, test, test

No matter what best practices you follow when planning and executing, it all comes down to testing. What is working, and what isn’t? 

Check in on the metrics you deem important regularly. Or, you can plan for a deeper analysis with A/B testing, which is the practice of trying one approach with one group and a different approach with a different group (that are reasonably similar groups by comparison). The differing approach can be anything from the timing, frequency, wording or angle of your notification. But analyzing the data generated during A/B testing (or just how your push notifications are performing overall) can lead to important takeaways and lessons that you can apply to future notifications.

Be aware of your opt-in, opt-out options

While push notifications are powerful, they still are a permission-based medium. A user needs to opt in to begin seeing your messages. And while it may be obvious to want to make opting in as easy as possible, you also want to make opting out easy to find as well.

Why?

Because if a user can’t find a way to opt out, they’ll simply uninstall your app. And ultimately, that’s not your goal.

Push notifications are a powerful component of any marketing strategy. With just a little extra thought, analysis and planning, it can make the difference in your company’s ROI.