If you’ve never considered push notifications—mobile and desktop—as part of your marketing, your business might be leaving money on the table. Promotional push notifications drive 9.6x as many users to make a purchase as those that didn’t receive a message and boost in-app spending by 16%. On web, 70% of adults enable push notifications from their favorite brands, and special promotions bring the click rates up radically, up to 25%.
Companies like Hopper thrive almost exclusively thanks to push notifications—Hopper predicts the best times to buy flights and has generated around $15 million in revenue last year by selling flights. The timeliness and scarcity of push is the key driver of their entire business model.
Push notifications can be a marketer’s dream and they’re constantly improving. A survey revealed that 52% of respondents said mobile push notifications are getting better, 38% said they’re the same, and 10% said they’re worse. At the same time, only one in five respondents said push notifications are helpful, while others said they’re somewhat helpful (three in five), and to some, a complete distraction (one in five). The perception of push notifications improved, but their value is still lacking.
Bottom line: while push notifications have the power to drive loyalty, engagement, and overall retention, they come with a flipside: your readers and potential customers might not want an extra ping on their virtual plate. In a recent interview, Slate’s Will Oremus called it the ‘alert fatigue’.
This is sometimes part of a bigger picture:
It may feel tempting to avoid push altogether so you don’t alienate your customers. Luckily, modes of delivering real-time, relevant, and even desirable push notifications are improving at a rapid pace. Let’s look into these trends and the best ways to use them in your marketing.
Predicting high-performing content and timing
Mass-driven messages no longer bring results. Customers want messages that directly relate to their needs, delivered at the right time. Messages that aren’t personalized will undoubtedly be overlooked and discarded.
According to Leanplum, personalized messages can increase push notification opens by as much as 85%. But timing also matters. In early 2018, Urban Airship released a machine learning feature that predicts the best day and time users will likely interact with the notifications, according to their past interactions.
Few words of warning here: Localytics surveyed users to find out how they feel about tailored push notifications and found that of all personalizations, in-app behavior is the one that most likely causes users to use the app less.
This isn’t to say push is a faulty strategy; 42% of people approve of remarketing and feel properly targeted. Testing 1-2 behavior-based push campaigns each week and tracking the impact on conversions and revenue will verify how your audience responds to the tactic and where you can adjust your efforts.
Cross-device messages that drive the journey forward
More than 70% of digital users access the internet across multiple devices. On top of that, 67% of multiscreen shoppers start shopping on one device and continue on another. Not making your push notification campaign smartphone-only or desktop-based—especially when you don’t have a mobile app—is imperative to reach your audience in the ideal moment of their journey.
On top of the obvious mobile/desktop breakdown, two additional instances you should keep in mind are mobile web and wearables. The obvious benefit of mobile web is reaching your audience when they’re on the go regardless of having an app or not. Push notifications on wearables carry the same benefit, with the added one of even more intimacy and personalization.
Braze showcases some great examples of these two instances for their fictional messaging app push campaign:
Just like with any push campaign, opting in is crucial, and once you have that permission, you can start testing which devices convert better at which times of day, micro-moments, and conversion types.
Rich media as part of the intentional conversation
The final trend and the cherry on top to making a push campaign relevant and unforgettable is the use of rich media.
There are some platform differences when it comes to the type of media you can use in your campaign, and the most diverse one at the moment is definitely Apple’s iOS 10. Along with images, it allows other media like GIFs, video, and sound, as well as adding thumbnails. At the same time, Android only allows images—seeing that push notifications with images have a 56% higher direct open rate, I call this a win, too.
GIFs and videos have become a crucial part of our everyday instant messaging communication, and adding them to your push notifications can make a difference between just another buzz on someone’s phone and an impression that will make them open your app and do what you intended them to do (and likely make you money while doing so).
To top that off, interactive buttons in notifications can help you communicate your offer and next actions even more clearly and give your audience the sense of having a say in this conversation.
With push notifications across smartphones, web, and beyond, you can enrich your visitor’s online experience, spark genuine conversations with them, influence their purchases, and learn from their journeys to inform and improve your overall marketing strategy.