How To Boost Mobile App Marketing With Push Notifications

The use of push notifications is increasingly growing in popularity in the mobile app marketing world. And there’s a good reason why.

Engaging users is not that simple anymore.

Previously, marketers relied on social media to engage with customers. And although it’s still fairly effective, let’s face it – things have never been the same since Zuckerberg and other techies decided to tweak the privileges that brand pages had. In other words, you now have to pay to play.

Now, apart from social media, many app owners have been leveraging emails to get in touch with their user base. That’s a nice touch, I admit, but then again – most of your regular newsletters are sent straight to the Gmail promotions tab. They don’t even make it to the standard inbox.

And that’s how push notification messaging became a thing.

Now, here’s the thing – going by various research studies – the open rate for push notifications is a remarkable 90%. That’s basically 50% higher than email marketing. And that’s not all. The subsequent click rate is even more impressive – it’s 7 times higher than email marketing.

But guess what?

It turns out users love push notifications too. 70% of app users expressed positive sentiment towards push notifications, finding them to be quite useful and relevant to their interests. Furthermore, only 8% admitted to consistently ignoring push notifications.

Push Notification - How It Works Stats
Push Notification – How It Works. Source: e-goi.com

Fair enough – clearly push notification marketing strategies are a good thing.

But how do marketing push notifications work?

What is the difference between a push notification and an in-app notification?

And how do you even capitalize on it for mobile app marketing?

In this post, we will dive into:

  • The types of push notifications
  • Their benefits in mobile app marketing
  • Actionable tips for using push notifications in app marketing

Let’s discuss.

What Is A Push Notification?

First things first, let’s go over the basics.

As far as smartphones are concerned, a push notification is basically an app message that appears right on your phone’s home screen. It’s particularly handy for communicating relevant updates, new features, latest news, and other critical info regarding your app.

So, why are some mobile app marketers fond of using a push notification?

Simply put, a push notification can be sent at any time of the day or night to engage users, regardless of whether they are logged into your app or not. Although it rides on your app, a push message can be displayed even when the underlying app is dormant. It just pops up on the screen.

Pop Up Push Notification Message
Pop Up Push Notification Message.

Types of Push Notification

Now, there are several different types of push notifications: standard push, rich push, and location-based messaging.

1. What Is A Standard Push Notification?

This is a typical push notification that only communicates in text. Because of its simplicity, a standard push notification is inarguably the most commonly used type.

Standard Push Notification
Standard Push Notification

2. What is a Rich Push Notification?

While the standard one only comes with text, a rich push notification is a multimedia message that includes different types of media – text along with GIFs, videos, or images. So, of course, you can bet it’s more engaging and impactful.

Rich Push Notification
Rich Push Notification

That said, it’s worth noting that rich push notifications have not been around as long as their standard counterparts. Android phones only started displaying them in 2015, while iOS users had to wait till the fall of 2016.

3. What Is Location Based Messaging?

This is a standard or rich push notification that targets users based on their specific location. It capitalizes on geofencing approaches to personalize information in a way that corresponds to a user’s precise geographical position in real-time.

Location Based Push Notification
Location Based Push Notification.

Push Notification Vs. In-App Messaging

As you can tell, a push notification almost sounds like an in-app marketing strategy. However, there are clear distinctions between the two that should be made.

So, let’s separate fact from fiction – believe it or not, a push notification is not an in-app marketing tactic. As a matter of fact, in-app messaging is a completely different thing altogether.

So, how do you figure out which is which?

A push notification, for starters, is built to simply pop up on your home screen without necessarily launching the underlying app. It seemingly just appears from nowhere even when you’re not actively using its app.

And that alone makes it exceptionally appropriate for engaging dormant app users. It effectively grabs their attention without warning.

Sadly, that’s also a disadvantage when you come to think of it. You see, a randomly displayed message might turn out to be intrusive and irritating to some users, especially if it’s non-contextual and appears repeatedly. Consequently, you could end up looking like a desperate spammer – which might lose you a couple of users over time.

And if you assume the chances are slim, then get this – you could lose up to 31% of your app users by maintaining a frequency of only 6 to 10 push messages per week. In fact, you can’t gamble with even a single message – considering one irritating notification a week is enough to trigger about 10% of your users to turn off notifications from your app completely.

Weekly Push Notifications That Make People Stop Using App

Weekly Push Notifications That Cause Push Disablement
Weekly Push Notifications That Cause Push Disablement. Source: Localytics.com

Now, in-app messaging, on the other hand, is the direct opposite of a push notification. Instead of randomly appearing on the home screen, the information is restricted within the app itself. Hence, a user has to launch the app and actively interact with it to see the message.

Push Notification Within App Itself
Push Notification Within App Itself. Source: LeanPlum.com

The good thing about in-app marketing is this: you can capitalize on the whole idea to target users based on their specific app interactions. And if the info is contextual, you should have an easy time nurturing users to achieve prolonged session times and possibly increased app retention.

Unfortunately, while it’s significantly impactful, in-app marketing cannot match up to the potential reach of push notifications. The number of people who get to see your message is substantially lower.

Benefits of Push Notification In Mobile App Marketing

It goes without saying – push notifications are incredibly effective when it comes to mobile app marketing.

The potential reach itself, for instance, is tremendously high because people love their smartphones. According to a report from Fluent Inc., people engage with most marketing content via their cell phones, they are nearly three times as likely to open an email on their phone than on their computer, and they spend more screen time on phones than TVs these days, too.

Which Devices Used Most To Check Emails
Which Devices Used Most To Check Emails. Source: Fluent

Furthermore, the average American checks their phone over ninety times a day – which equates to about once every ten minutes! As a result, it shouldn’t take long for your push notification message to be noticed. And in terms of numbers, it has been established that about 40% of smartphone users engage with push messages within 60 minutes of receiving them. So, imagine what you can achieve in just a single day.

That said, there are numerous apps that have successfully leveraged push notification marketing. The New York Times, for example, is one particular brand that has managed to capitalize on push messages to substantially boost its app subscriptions. In fact, the subsequent revenue growth had surpassed $1 billion by 2017.

Interestingly, the success was so immense that the company hired a dedicated team of push notification experts on a full-time basis. They now handle scheduling and development of push messages to keep app users engaged.

In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s possible to replicate such success on your mobile app. However, effective user engagement is only achievable when you approach the whole thing with some level of finesse. And to help you with that, here are some critical actionable tips for your push notification mobile app marketing.

Tips For Push Notification Mobile App Marketing

1. Get Opt-Ins

It turns out you cannot send push notifications to random users. Receivers have to fundamentally grant you permission to target them by subscribing to your push alerts.

By now, I bet you’ve seen how most apps attempt to do this. They pretty much use the same old system of hitting users with bland and uninspiring requests.

Well, of course, that might win you a couple of user subscriptions. But, let’s be honest – you’ll ultimately end up with only a handful.

So, to avoid that, consider designing a specialized attention-grabbing opt-in box. It should elegantly blend in with your app, and creatively provide comprehensive subscription information. In other words, ensure your users will be able to quickly understand the consequences of opting in as well as rejecting the offer.

For example, which of these opt-in messages sounds more interesting and appealing?

Interesting and Appealing Opt-In Messages
Interesting and Appealing Opt-In Messages. Source: Amazon

The one on the left explains all of the benefits you will receive from opting in – like learning about deals and sales as well as getting personalized offers. The notification on the right makes it sound like you will just receive a lot of alerts that could wind up being rather annoying.

That said, here’s an example of a brief but thoughtful approach:

  • Text: “We use push notifications to provide updates about exclusive deals for our users”
  • Choices: “Keep me informed”; “Not Required”

Use language that focuses on the benefits consumers will receive. According to research from E-Goi, this includes promotions, new developments, and localized offers.

Push Notification - Most Desired Ccontent
Push Notification – Most Desired Ccontent. Source: e-goi.com

2. Differentiate Between iOS And Android Push Notifications

Androids and iOS devices have a lot of differences – so you may be wondering what is the difference between Android and iOS push notifications.

Just like App Store Optimization, their systems have been set up differently and the number of variations, as a matter of fact, increase progressively as you dive deeper into their individual push message ecosystems.

So, if you happen to have an app version for the Google Play Store and another for the Apple App Store, don’t make the mistake of running similar push notification strategies.

To understand why, consider the average push notification click-through rate for iOS as well as Android. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that iOS users seemingly open way fewer messages than their Android counterparts.

Mobile App Push Notification Performance Metrics Wordwide
Mobile App Push Notification Performance Metrics Word wide. Source: eMarketer.com

The reason behind this is actually quite simple.

Android push notifications stay visible until the user manually clears them, whereas Apple devices are designed to automatically get rid of iOS push notifications from the home screen as soon as it is unlocked. However, they are still visible in the pulldown menu.

iOS push messages
iOS push messages

Going by this and many other observable differences between the two platforms, it would not be a good idea to apply identical push notification parameters. Plan and execute your iOS push notification marketing exclusively – according to the functionalities and operability of the Apple iOS platform.

3. Personalize Your Push Notifications

If you’re planning to randomly remind your users about the app features, your push notifications may prove to be counterproductive.

All things considered, the principal difference between an annoying spam message and an engaging one is personalization. Personalized notifications have a 9% higher open rate than generic messages do.

Now, to personalize your push notification marketing accordingly, you need to use the app user data to segment its corresponding audience. The subsequent groups are then systematically targeted with varying personalized messages.

Personalize Your Push Notification
Personalize Your Push Notification

That said, here are some of the parameters you could use for segmentation:

  • Level of app interaction- active or inactive
  • Type of device
  • User behavior
  • App interaction history
  • Purchase history
  • Time zone

4. Use Geo-fencing

Just like the name suggests, geo-fencing entails capitalizing on specialized systems to segment your audience based on their specific geographical locations in real-time. Consequently, you’ll be able to fine-tune your app’s notifications according to your users’ movements.

Currently, 26% of app users desire geo-localized push messages. And considering 53% of users share their location, you should be able to proceed without any major issues.

Push Notification Geofencing
Push Notification Geofencing

One particularly prominent app that perfectly takes advantage of geo-fencing in its push notification marketing is Uber. Uber has managed to win more users and enhance app retention by simply offering location-based offers to selected individuals.

You can use a similar approach and reach out to various user groups with relevant real-time offers.

Key Takeaways

  • The open rate for push notifications is 50% – 90% higher than email marketing.
  • The click rate for push notification is 7 times higher than email marketing.
  • Seventy percent of app users enjoy receiving push notifications if they provide useful information, like relevant suggestions or personalized deals.
  • A push notification is basically an app message that appears right on your phone’s home screen – useful for communicating relevant updates, new features, latest news, and other critical info regarding your app.
  • A standard Push Notification is a typical push notification that only communicates in text.
  • A rich push notification is a multimedia message that includes different types of media.
  • Location-based Messaging is a standard or rich push notification that targets users based on their specific location.
  • Sending out too many notifications is a big mistake. You could lose 31% of your app users by maintaining a frequency of only 6 to 10 push messages per week
  • Instead of randomly appearing on the home screen, in-app messaging is restricted within the app itself.
  • People engage with more marketing content through their phone than other digital devices – including laptops, tablets, and TVs.
  • The average American consumer looks at their phones 96 times a day.
  • Forty percent of smartphone users engage with push messages within 60 minutes of receiving them.
  • Receivers have to fundamentally grant you permission to target them by subscribing to your push alerts.
  • Plan and execute your iOS push notification marketing exclusively according to the functionalities and operability of the Apple iOS platform.
  • Personalized push notifications have a 9% higher open rate than basic, generic messages.
  • Geo-fencing entails capitalizing on specialized systems to segment your audience based on their specific geographical locations in real-time.

App Secrets Book

Conclusion

Push notifications can help to keep users far more engaged and increase the amount of time they spend in your app. However, there are some tricks to the trade. You need to find the balance so that you are not annoying or overwhelming users with lots of notifications and find the best ways to capture their attention.

Curious about what you can possibly achieve through a well-coordinated mobile app marketing campaign? It doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

PreApps has successfully promoted more than 3,000 App Store apps using tested and proven techniques. So, go ahead and get in touch with us now for a special consultation with expert professionals.

Sean Casto
Posted By

Sean Casto

I am the founder and CEO of PreApps.com, the leading mobile marketing and discovery platform. I have been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. I have acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community.

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