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How to Plan a Push Notification Campaign: Strategies & Tips


Marketing Tips

How to Plan a Push Notification Campaign: Strategies & Tips

The significance of push notifications is a phenomenon that is quite understood by the digital world by now. In order to increase user engagement, the mobile app industry is continuously evolving and new techniques are being tested and implemented by numerous app managers, developers and marketers worldwide.

However, it is quite imperative to note that push notifications can easily be considered as disruptive and annoying – if the campaign or the strategy is not run and executed the right way. According to a report, in most industries and business sectors, over 50% of app users find push notifications nothing but annoying. The competition out there is big, which naturally means very little room for error for mobile apps.

Taking this into consideration, you need to ‘up’ your game when it comes to planning and designing an effective push notification strategy. In this guide, we will share some tips for coming up with the best push notification campaign.

What are push notifications?

Push notifications are messages or alerts that are sent from mobile apps or websites to your device even when you're not actively using the app or website. They pop up on your device screen or as a banner and can include text, images, and sounds. They are a way for apps or websites to communicate with users and provide timely updates or reminders.

What’s the difference between push notifications and in-app messages?

Push notifications and in-app messages are two different ways of communicating with users on a mobile app.

Push notifications are messages that appear on a user's device's home screen or lock screen, even when they are not actively using the app. other hand, In-app messages are messages that appear within the app itself while the user is actively using it. These messages are typically used to provide contextual information, promote new features, or guide the user through a particular process.

Why is Push Notification Campaign (Strategy) Important?

Before going into any details, let us first understand the importance of an effective push notification campaign, and how it can impact your app.

1.Get Your Lost Users Back

No app business wants to lose its users over time – however, with all the competitor apps being launched every now and then, or due to any other reason – it is bound to happen. Your user will stop using your app.

According to a study, less than 25% of app users return to an app the day after they installed it on their phone.

In order to overcome this and increase user re-engagement, push notifications can come in quite handy. This is a way of winning back your lost users and in some cases, potential customers. Moreover, this way of engaging with your user has gone beyond just phones. In the modern-day technological sphere, you can send these notifications via web or other smart devices like smartwatches, digital assistants, etc.

2.Give Your User What They Might Want

It is not only about winning your lost users. A lot of app owners and designers use this methodology in order to showcase a proactive approach in providing their existing or potential customer the exact product or service that he or she might be looking for.

For instance, if you are using a car ride service like Careem or Uber, or if you are using your local banking app, you will be able to view the time-specific information and instructions that you need at that particular time. Not seeing those messages outside the app might actually lead to a negative outcome – your Uber drive cancelling the ride or your banking app ending the session due to inactivity.

How to Plan a Push Notification Campaign

A report found that push notifications can increase user retention rate by 180% – this number, or any other relevant number should be enough for any app developer or manager to implement the best push notification strategy.

How can you plan one? Here are some tips on designing the best push notification campaign for your mobile app:

  1. Don’t Bombard, First Ask
  2. Identify Your Goal
  3. Know Your User
  4. Relevant User Segmentation & Message Content
  5. Find the Perfect Timing
  6. Maintaining a Fine Balance – Less is More
  7. Conduct A/B Tests
  8. Implement, Analyze and Collect Data

1.Don’t Bombard, First Ask

The first step in creating a successful push notification strategy is asking your app users permission to send notification messages. However, this can backfire too. According to Android current permission mechanism, users approve a whole lot of permissions at once – this might go against the push notification permission grant as users might not want to opt for it.

When it comes to iOS, this situation can get even more difficult as apps are required to convey the value of such notification to their users. In order to make the strategy more effective, app developers need to notify their users for relevant updates only.

As per a report, 91.1% of Android users opt for push notifications in comparison to 43.9% of iOS users who do not. This is mainly because Android users have to manually opt out of this option.

2.Identify Your Goal

There are a lot of apps you might have in your phone for which you receive notifications that do not benefit you at all. What happens eventually? Well, you might get fed up and remove the app.

If you, as an app business owner, do not know the real reason for sending push notifications to your users in the first place, there is a higher chance that your campaign will not give positive results.

For example, if a user is not returning to the app for some time, you need to provide value to that user for returning to the app instead of simply sending reminders about your app, recent updates, etc.

3.Know Your User

You should understand the needs and expectations of your user by studying their behavioral patterns, usually by tracking their whole journey when they were using your app. You need to know what your user wants and what could have been the possible reasons of him abandoning your app.

4.Relevant User Segmentation & Message Content

Depending on the nature of your business model, sector or industry that you belong to, you need to target your users by dividing them into groups with traits that you are specifically looking for.

It is quite rare that all of your app users would want to see the same notification text, image or URL. If you are not segmenting your users appropriately, you will be sending a lot of irrelevant and unnecessary notifications to those who do not need them.

Same goes with your message content as well. Make sure that your notification is precise, relevant and meaningful to your user, without any fluff or irrelevant call-to-action or information. Usually, the push notifications are categorized into:

Being Informative – Yes, these notifications should be kept short and precise, however, you still need to find a way to pass on important information to your user about your product, brand, updates, etc.

Being Location Specific – Based on the user’s location, it is advised to alert your user with region or location specific information like local store offers, discounts, etc.

Being a Check-in – In order to show your user that you care, messages that talk about a user’s past happy memory, an achievement, progress goal, etc., can give a good impression to your user.

5.Find the Perfect Timing

This is one of the most important factors that contribute towards the overall success or failure of a push notification strategy. For example, if your user is receiving messages in the middle of the night, it might not work well.

Moreover, ignoring local public holidays, national events or religious dates could backfire to your push notifications. Always keep into consideration when your user might not be too receptive towards receiving push notifications.

6.Maintaining a Fine Balance – Less is More

Sending multiple occasions usually does not mean you will get more user engagement. Even if your core objective is to advertise or promote your app, product or service in general, still you need to ensure that you are sending notifications in a limited amount.

If your business model requires you to send more than one notification to complete the whole idea or purpose, you need to make sure that you still are scheduling these notifications the best possible way.

The above image is a great example of these principles, as well as the other aforementioned principles. The above push notification is giving genuinely helpful information, without merely trying to sell something. It is simple and to the point. Providing a steady stream of helpful, segmented, personalised push notifications, that are trackable will certainly help your user engagement goals.

7.Conduct A/B Tests

Just like in other parts of your mobile app, split testing (the a/b tests) is highly recommended for push notifications as well. Your testing teams should be constantly examining the various options that you might have and then come up with the best possible solution for your push notification content.

8.Implement, Analyze and Collect Data

Once you have thoroughly studied all the relevant factors, now is the time to finally start sending push notifications to your users.

Make sure you have the best analytics tools at your disposal to record, collect and analyze all user data so that you can go back and revisit, should you find any irregularities or loopholes in your push notification strategy.

Implementing Effective Push Notifications – In a Nutshell

To sum it up, you need to stay ahead of the game by educating yourself with all the modern-day techniques that are being used for this. Use of personalized content, rich media like images, short video clips, etc., can contribute to a huge extent towards the success of your push notification campaign.

Apart from this, you need to be crystal clear about what you really need from your campaign. Is it a welcome back, cart abandonment, sales or a product review campaign. Are you specifically looking to re-engage your users so that they buy your product or is it about something else, too? These are the questions that you need to answer first before going ahead with your push notification strategy.


Berkem Peker

Berkem is master of none, jack of all trades. Happens to be a Growth Strategist at Storyly. Knows/writes about growth frameworks and user behavior.

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