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Do you want to reach your customers where they are? How about sending a friendly reminder every now and again to say, “Hey, remember us?” In a nutshell, this is what push notifications can do for your brand.
Push notifications remind customers about your brand and drive sales.
What are push notifications?
You know those notifications you get on your smartphone? The ones that aren’t texts, emails or voicemails? Well, there’s a good chance those are push notifications. Apps use this feature to alert users of content updates, messages and other things that happen within the app. These notifications are used by all types of apps, from games to social networks and everything in between.
A push notification may be a sound, an onscreen alert, a badge or a combination of these things. Users can usually select how they would like to be notified of updates.
Should push notifications be part of your marketing strategy?
In short, yes. If your marketing strategy includes a mobile element, and most sound strategies do, you won’t want to overlook this deceptively simple “cash cow.” But even if your marketing strategy does not yet include mobile, you may rethink things after reviewing some of the data.
Time and time again, push notifications have proven to be effective.
You should use push notifications if you want:
Urban Airship’s Good Push Index (GPI) study found that opt-in push notifications drive 26% higher app open rates. The study analyzed more than 2,400 apps and 500 million push notifications in the first six months of download. In the ever-important first month from download, analysts found that retention rates of people who opted in for push notifications was nearly double that of those who opted out of notifications. Now, just imagine if push notifications weren’t an option and you’ll likely see lost income potential.
Push notifications vs. email
Okay, so I know what some of you Doubting Thomases are thinking: “I have great open rates on my email campaign. Why do I need to bother with a mobile app and push notifications?”
So let’s look at some of the facts.
Push provider Xtify revealed that 30 to 60 percent of users open push notifications and interaction rates as high as 40 percent. Some app developers even report open rates higher than 90 percent.
How does that compare to email? Well, according to Silverpop’s Email Marketing Benchmark study, the average open rate for email is 20 percent, and the average click-through rate is only 5.4 percent.
Are all push notifications created equal?
With one provider reporting 30 to 60 percent open rates (quite a broad range) and others reporting over 90 percent, you may have noticed that there are some performance differences. Push notifications simply work better to drive sales in some apps, but fortunately, you don’t have to be clairvoyant to know whether yours will. Just understand your industry and follow some best practices.
Let’s start with the industry. According to Urban Airship’s Good Push Index (GPI), push notifications work better for some industries than others.
Here is the average opt-in rate by industry:
Does this mean that you shouldn’t bother if your brand is about gaming? Certainly not. It simply means that you should manage your expectations. Of all those who download your app, about 35 percent will allow you to reach them by push notification. Considering that push notifications seem to have much higher open rates than email, these are still great odds.
Push notification best practices
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of push notifications, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about how to make them work for you.
Here are a few push notification best practices that will help you run a successful campaign:
1. Send them at the right time. Some notifications will naturally take place as events happen while others are scheduled. A sale is an example of a scheduled push notification. Imagine how your customers would feel if they were woken up at 3 a.m. to find out that you’re having a site-wide sale.
2. Always provide value. Never send push notifications for insignificant things. Understand how people use your app and only send the notifications that in some way provide value, to you and to the customer. If in doubt, ask yourself whether the update may spark user interaction. If so, it’s a good update. Unread push notifications will appear on the badge app icon.
3. Don’t be too “pushy.” Since push notifications are so effective, some brands overdo it. Try to imagine how often a type of notification will be sent before you turn it on. If users are getting constant communication from you, they are likely to get annoyed and turn off all notifications.
4. Always allow opt-in. Remember that customers always have a choice. Your instinct may be to force push notifications on people, but keep in mind that the alternative is to delete your app entirely.
Push notifications are among the best ways to drive sales, and they usually provide a welcome update for your audience. The key is to know how to use them right in order to optimize open and retention rates. Although some experimentation is recommended, do try to follow best practices to avoid irritating your audience. Because once they’ve opted out or uninstalled your app, there’s a good chance they aren’t turning back.
What are your thoughts on push notifications? Have you used them to drive sales for your brand? What were the results? Let us know in the comments below!