Push notifications have become an indispensable part of mobile marketing campaigns, given their effectiveness at re-engaging passive users. However, there are pretty dramatic discrepancies between industries when it comes to notification opt-in rates — according to research, the average ride-sharing app, for instance, records a 79% opt-in rate, while the average social media app clocks in at a mere 39%.
While part of the reason for this discrepancy is inherent in the nature of the app categories themselves (it would be very difficult to effectively use ride sharing apps without push notifications, for example, whereas social media notifications are often easy to ignore), a push notification strategy consisting of a few key ideas will have passive users running back to use your app!
Idea 1: Use a conversational tone
Push notifications tend to remind customers of slick used car salesmen and can very quickly turn them off. Most people consider using their smartphones a quite intimate experience, and any push notifications that appear to be using traditional marketing language get in the way of that intimacy. Effective push notifications are able to remind customers of why they downloaded your app, and do so using language that does not cause people to put up their anti-salesperson guard.
Idea 2: Personalize your messages
Even though push notifications are sent to multiple users at a time, the push notifications with the highest clickthrough rates often have some degree of personalization based on the customer’s past usage of the app. Related to Idea 1, personalization has the advantage of disarming customers, and can also give a sense of urgency to users. To illustrate this, let us take the example of a notification from a retail app informing users of a sale — users will obviously be more likely to respond to messages which make reference to items they have recently saved or thought about buying, rather than more generic messages.
Idea 3: Time to perfection
If you leave your smartphone close to you while you sleep, chances are you have been awoken from your slumber by a push notification not worth losing sleep over. It is counterintuitive to have automated notifications without thinking very carefully about timing, as badly timed notifications don’t reengage customers and are more likely to lead to your app being deleted, if anything. Push notifications work best when they are timed based on when each user is most likely to use the app, so that the possibility of routine disruption is minimized.