When used correctly, push notifications have a major impact on the success of an app. However, if the content or the frequency annoys the recipient, he will delete the app. Therefore, they are a sensitive topic where balance and frequency are crucial. In this article, we explain the challenges that push notifications face and how they work.

What are push notifications anyway?

Push notifications are messages sent by apps and end up at the recipient’s screen on their mobile device (mostly on their smartphone). The purposed goal of the respective company or app operator is usually the same: to motivate the recipient to use the app. The implementation and content can vary greatly. For example, it can inform about actions or news but also more personal notifications, such as “Do not forget your T-shirt that is still in the cart,” are the order of the day. In Germany, push notifications can be an effective marketing tool, because the reaction rate is at least 11 percent (Accengage).

Example for a Push Notification (Source: CleverTap)

Example for a Push Notification (Source: CleverTap)

What are the challenges?

In that amount of applications that are installed on smartphones nowadays (see graphic), the user forgets your app quickly. On the one hand, push notifications are very helpful as a reminder. On the other hand, the user deletes the app quickly when there are too many messages. It is a pity if the user deactivates the permission to send push messages, because this is a valuable point of contact for marketing. Timing and content are just as important as the context.
It is therefore important to find a middle ground between advertising and relevancy. Above all, the difficulty lies in adapting the right timing, with the right personalized and coherent content and context, to each user individually. The following section will show how it is possible to successfully reach the goal and strengthen the customer relationship in the long term.

How do push notifications work successfully?

The goal of sending push notifications is that the customer classifies the received messages of an app as helpful and interesting. In the best case, the customer reacts not only by clicking on the message but also by making a purchase. For this, content and time have to fit and fix to one’s individual needs as far as possible.
To take full advantage of push notifications, it is important to integrate them into the app’s strategy right from the start. The conception of the app should include push notifications to ensure the best possible marketing scenarios. If the customer clicks on a notification and the app with the landing page does not open, it leaves a negative impression so the technical aspects have to work perfectly.

Further essential success factors to consider:

  • Timing, frequency and content: test all elements as regularly as possible in order to find the right interaction that works for the user. As a result, timing, frequency and content can be more and more adapted to the interests and behavior (e.g., always open in the evening) to increase the level of personalization.
  • Personalization is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to push notifications, it can bring a high uplift.
  • A short and concise formulation helps because the user then knows what it is about directly. Just in terms of wording and content, there are many possibilities to stand out from other apps. Most of them use classic calls-to-action like “Look over” or “We miss you”. If the customer receives this message from three different providers, it will no longer be authentic and the customer will not perceive himself as an individual. Anyone who has prepared creative, unique and entertaining formulations here scores.

A few examples of use as “food for thought”

  • A well working example of successful push notifications are reminders. Very useful for the customer, extremely relevant and contextual. If the purchased product is, for example, a consumable item, it can be offered to the customer again after a certain period of time. With these requirements, it only needs a clever and crisp formulation and the mix has the best conditions to arrive at the user well.
  • Also very helpful for long-term use of the app are onboarding campaigns after downloading the app. Thus, the customer relationship establishes directly so that the app becomes important for the user. Nevertheless, beware:  here it is important to find a balance. Otherwise, the effect reverses and the user deletes the app before the first purchase.
  • A simple and effective way the customer will appreciate is to give him information before he even comes up with the idea to research. A classic example of this is to tell him where in the process his order is currently located.
  • To use geofencing optimally, push notifications are also very helpful. As soon as the customer enters the area, they receive a notification informing them of offers and location, or even sending them a discount code.
  • You can find more ideas that are useful for the customer in our article “App Push Notifications: the new star among digital dialogue channels“.
  • With the right balance, there are many ways to make marketing more successful with push notifications.