When done right, push notifications are highly effective for boosting user engagement with your app. But if developers aren’t careful, push notifications can actually be hazardous to your app’s health. In fact, an Appiterate survey found that 71 percent of app uninstalls are due to annoying notifications. So, the key to using push notifications effectively is all about gently reminding users that your app exists, without burying them in irrelevant notifications. Here are a few push notification best practices that all app developers should know:
Consider Time Zones
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your push timing, you’ve got to consider the geography of your users. If you’re based in California, and want to time your notification to coincide with the end of the work day, make sure you take time zones into account. If your CA users are getting a notification at 7pm, while East Coast users are getting it at 10 pm, and users in the U.K. are receiving it at 3am, you’ve just annoyed half your users for no reason.
Don’t Get Lost in the Morning Rush
Some developers believe that sending out overnight notifications is a great way to position their app as the first thing people see when they pick up their phones in the morning. But, think about it: when you wake up, do you actually look through every notification you’ve received while you were sleeping? Probably not. Most likely, you swipe them all away and start fresh. As a developer, the last thing you want to do is become part of the background noise. So, consider sending your notifications during morning rush hour instead, or at least a little later in the morning to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Don’t Overload Your Users
If your goal is to get users to uninstall your app as quickly as possible, bombard them with 25 notifications per day. If you actually like having engaged active users, consider turning down the volume a little bit. Aside from chat and social media apps, an app shouldn’t interrupt its users more than 5 times a day (10 at the absolute max, but that’s pushing it).
Personalization is Everything
No one likes spam. People like to feel like they are being spoken to and served individually, which is why personalized notifications are always more effective than random junk notifications. There are a few different routes to take when creating personalized push strategies:
- Transactional Push – These are notifications that go out to single users only, and are directly related to their transactions with your app, or company. A good example of this is would be sending a user a push notification letting them know that the item they purchased through your app has shipped.
- Behavior-Based Push – These are similar to transactional notifications, but are based on overall in-app behavior, rather than a pure 1 to 1 transaction. This could mean reminding them that they’re still on level 4 of their game, or that their saved news article is still unread, or that they have items waiting in their carts.
- Name-Check Push – If your app is one that requires them to enter their name, then try to include that name in your push. A good example would be including their username in a push that tells them they have a new challenger in their game, or a to-do-list app that tells says “Bill, your dentist appointment is coming up.” Just make sure that entering their name is a clear part of the app. If they don’t remember giving you their name, it might weird them out to see it in your push.
Prep Before You Push
When that alert box pops up asking to allow push notifications, most people instinctively say no without even thinking about it. They have enough alerts and notifications going off all day, and aren’t interested in adding more. That’s why it is crucial to onboard your users and let them know why you want to send push notifications before they even see that little alert box. Just a simple message explaining why you want to send notifications, and what they stand to gain from allowing them will drastically increase the number of users who opt in.
Finally, all of these tips are useless if you don’t get the technical aspects right in the first place. If your push takes them to a load screen, or a dead screen, you’re in trouble. If you don’t have clear settings that allow users to control the push notifications, you’ll end up with a lot of frustrated users. And if you forget to duplicate your push content within your app (i.e. you send them a message that they are then unable to find when they open the app), your uninstall rates are going up. No matter how savvy you are with best practices, it means nothing without smooth, intuitive functionality.