Push Notification Screen

Best Practices For Push Notifications

Thursday, March 23, 2017

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reach out to your mobile app users is through push notifications. Push notifications are messages that users have the ability to opt-in or opt-out of when downloading your app. This feature is great because it often times can remind users to engage with your app again after a lull in app usage.

Here are a couple of helpful tips to consider when it comes to utilizing push notifications:

Consider your message timing

Timing is everything with push notifications. It is important to think about your app users and the times they are picking up their phones most frequently. Normally, the best time is in the evening after work hours and before bedtime or 6 pm till 10 pm. Lunch hours and morning commutes are also popular times as well. Do make sure to remember that push notifications reach users in real time and depending on settings, may cause a chime or audible notification. Don’t send a push notification late at night.

The content of your message will also affect the timing. If you’re reminding users of an upcoming event, such as Election Day, a notification the evening before may help users plan a stop to the polls during their day. A notification about a local happy hour meet-up on the other hand could be sent a couple of hours before its start. A time sensitive notification such as a road closure or weather alert may be best to send out as soon as possible.

Be wary of the frequency of your messages

You should also figure out what is the tipping point for users in terms of how many notifications you send. Apps with annoying push notifications are actually one of the top 7 reasons that users uninstall mobile apps according to an Appiterate Survey. This is because many users forget that it is a simple settings change that can turn these notifications on and off. We often suggest a push notification once or maybe twice a week. This is one thing where you might want to consider your app’s category on the app stores. If you think about it, your news and social media apps might send you multiple notifications a day. However, apps in other categories normally only send a notification if there is something important to say.

Your message needs to add value

When creating your app strategy, it is a good idea to have a plan in place for your push notifications. Remember, blatant sales and marketing messages are in violation of Apple Developer Agreements in an effort to protect users from spam. Therefore, your message needs to contain content that is important and valued by your users.

Some great ideas for push notifications are:

  • Breaking news
  • Driving users to new content
  • Event updates
  • Weather alerts
  • Closures due to emergencies, transportation or weather
  • Announcing an app update
  • Capitalizing on a national holiday or pop culture event
  • Telling users you miss them (utilize sparingly and only if your analytics show your app has a few active users)
  • Alerting them of contests


Remember, some content might not even be valued by your entire audience. You can also utilize push notifications by topic to send messages to users who opt-in to a particular notification. This allows you to target and engage your users with relevent content. Give your user controll by allowing them to opt in or out of topics.

Overall, push notifications are a great engagement tool if you follow some of the tips above. Be careful to not limit your app strategy to just push notifications. While this feature is one of the many great ways to keep your users coming back, packaging this element with other engaging features and content will contribute to overall app success. Make sure that you pay attention to app analytics to figure out what push notification tactics will work best for your audience. Something as simple as knowing your app’s popular buttons, content, or usage times can help you create whole push notification campaigns for your app.

 

**Editor note: Apple does not guarantee delivery of push notifications and can effect your results.**

Tags:Strategy Tips & Tools

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Natalie M

Natalie has been working in publishing and marketing since 2011. She loves all things digital strategy, social media, and graphic design.

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