How To Engage App Users With Push Notification Marketing

6 min read
Frank L.
Frank L.
Published July 26, 2023

Using push notifications as part of your user engagement strategy can boost your app retention rate by 300% during the first 90 days of customer onboarding. This massive improvement means push notification marketing should be one of the core components of your app engagement strategy.

Every time you send out a notification, you engage the customer and encourage them to use your app. However, too many alerts that are not relevant to the user can result in negative reviews and low retention rates. Here's how you can engage your users with push notification marketing.

Obtain User Opt-Ins

Obtaining user opt-ins allows you to build a receptive user base, fostering a positive relationship with your audience. Push notifications can be intrusive, and without explicit permission, users may get annoyed or overwhelmed, leading to potential app uninstalls or negative reviews.

The opt-in rates for Android apps range from 48.9% to 94.5%; iOS apps range from 29.2% to 73.3%. Android automatically opts the user in for notifications when they download the app, increasing the range. Android also has a higher open rate for direct push notifications (16.8 as compared to 10.2), as the notifications persist when the user unlocks their screen. Compare your opt-in rates and open rates to industry standards and see if there's room for improvement.

To obtain user opt-ins and permission, make sure your request is as clear as possible. When users first open the app, provide a clear explanation of the benefits they'll receive through push notifications, such as personalized offers, timely updates, or relevant content. Implement a user-friendly opt-in prompt with a clear "Allow" or "Don't Allow" option.

Since Android opts users in for push notifications at the time of installation, make it easy for them to opt out on first use. This will show your users that you value their freedom of choice when it comes to receiving push notifications from you. Avoid using pre-checked boxes, as this may lead to inadvertent opt-ins.

Incentivize users to opt in by offering exclusive discounts, rewards, or valuable content. Also, offer granular controls, allowing users to choose the types of notifications they wish to receive. Respect your users' preferences and don't bombard them with irrelevant messages.

Create Segments Based on User Behavior and Preferences

Thirty-two percent of users will switch to competitors if you keep sending them irrelevant messages. To deliver relevant and personalized push notifications, you need segments.

Segmentation allows you to tailor your messages based on user needs and preferences, thereby enhancing the overall user experience. By categorizing users based on their characteristics and behavior, you can send relevant content that resonates with individual interests, leading to higher engagement rates.

To create segments, analyze user data and identify key behavioral patterns. Study factors such as app usage frequency, in-app actions, location, and past interactions with notifications and your app in general. Then use your findings to group similar users together and create segment identities.

Personalization is key in push notification marketing. Seventy-one percent of users expect personalized messages, and 76% become frustrated if you fail to do that. Craft messages that align with each segment's interests and preferences. For example, if you have an ecommerce app, send notifications about relevant products based on users' past purchases or browsing history.

After creating segments, make sure you:

  • Constantly review and update your segments as user preferences (and your own knowledge of user preferences) evolve. 

  • Implement A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of your segmented push notification campaigns. 

  • Optimize your strategy based on the results of your campaigns.

Craft Concise Messages

The average smartphone user receives 40 push notifications every day. If you want to stand out, your notifications should be concise and compelling.

Start by creating a clear objective for each push notification. Whether it's promoting a sale, announcing a new feature, or sending a personalized recommendation, keep its purpose in mind throughout the message creation process.

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When writing the message, aim for brevity while maintaining clarity. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Use action-oriented language to prompt users to take specific actions, such as "Shop Now," "Read More," or "Get Started."

Personalize the messages with the user's name or refer to their past interactions to make the content more relevant. Experiment with emojis or other visual elements to make your notifications visually appealing and attention-grabbing. Here are a couple of push message examples to get you started:

Push notification: "Your Health Checkup Reminder 🏥"\
Message: "Hi [User's Name], it's time for your annual health checkup! Stay proactive about your well-being. Schedule now to secure your preferred time slot. 📅"

The above notification addresses the user by name and states the purpose of the notification upfront. It serves as a reminder of the user's upcoming health checkup, encouraging them to take action and schedule an appointment promptly. The use of emojis adds a friendly touch to the message.

Push Notification: "Congratulations! 🎉 You've Matched With [Match's Name]!"\
Message: "Hey [User's Name], great news! You and [Match's Name] have matched! 🥳 Start the conversation and get to know each other better now. 💬"

The above notification celebrates the user's successful match on a dating app. It addresses the user by name and provides positive reinforcement. The message encourages the user to take immediate action by initiating a conversation with their new match and conveys excitement with the use of emojis.

Use the above examples to create concise messages based on your industry and user segments.

Be Careful With the Timing and Frequency of Push Notifications

If you overwhelm users with an excessive number of notifications, they will ultimately disable push notifications for your app. If you send notifications at the wrong time, they will most likely ignore or miss important messages. By understanding the best timing and frequency for notifications, you can maximize user engagement and retention.

Brands have reduced the number of push notifications they used to send by more than half as they become more aware of their customers' preferences. Android apps used to send 188.4 average monthly notifications per user in 2021, and they were down to 59.3 in 2022. For iOS, the number went from 202 average monthly notifications in 2021 to just 74.5. Users are getting fewer but more efficient and effective notifications now.

To determine the optimal timing and frequency for sending push notifications:

  • Consider the characteristics of your target audience and the nature of your app. For example, if you have a news app, sending timely notifications during peak news hours may be appropriate. However, for a productivity app, sending notifications during work hours might be counterproductive.

  • Conduct A/B tests to gauge user responses to different timing and frequency options. Analyze metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and app session duration to identify patterns of user engagement. 

  • Collect user feedback and see if your customers would like more or fewer notifications from you.

  • Utilize intelligent scheduling tools that take time zones and user behavior into account. These tools can ensure that notifications reach users at times when they are most likely to be active and receptive.

  • Implement a notification preference center within your app. Let your users customize the timing and frequency of the notifications based on their preferences.

Utilize Rich Media and Interactive Elements

Text-only notifications won't always capture users' attention. You need visually appealing content and interactive elements to create a more immersive experience, increasing the likelihood of users interacting with your app.

Interactive elements like buttons or quick reply options encourage users to take immediate action within the notification. Include elements that allow users to respond to a poll, confirm an appointment, or redeem a limited-time offer directly from the notification.

Experiment with various media types, such as images, videos, GIFs, and audio clips, to see which ones resonate best with your audience. For example, if you have a fitness app, a short video demonstrating a workout routine may be more engaging than a plain text notification. Video traffic accounted for 65% of all internet traffic in 2022, so using short videos in the messages accompanying your push notifications is a good idea for most industries.

Use a Chat API That Complements Push Notification Marketing

Push notifications, in-app messaging, and chat work hand-in-hand when it comes to user engagement. Notifications bring users to the app, whereas in-app messaging and chat help them interact with you as they use the app. Stream's Chat API supports notifications out of the box and helps you build all types of push and in-app messages to engage your customers. The API also supports various types of rich media and interactive elements. Sign up for a free trial today.

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