“Push notifications?”

“Oh, no! Not those! Never.”

The response laced with repulsion is how push notifications are commonly received in this digital age. The fact that they let the mobile application notify the user about new messages, even when (s)he is not actively using it, is annoying enough.

However, the craze for mobile phones refuses to die down. A Catapush study revealed that 65% of smartphone users take the device to bed and 25% of iPhone users believe that their phone is an extension of their body.

Moreover, mobile phone users spend 85% of their time on apps – with 5 apps being used extensively. This indicates an increase in the number of push messages received by the user on a daily basis.

A study by the Florida State University in 2015 found out that mobile “push notifications are as distracting as phone calls” and that people get distracted just by receiving a new message – even if they choose to ignore it.

Naturally, the average opt-in rate of 52% for push notifications in 2014 came down to 49.8% as reported in October 2015. The major reason behind this decline is that users don’t usually understand the significance of such notifications or what value will be delivered to them.

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The truth is that more marketers are turning to push notifications to communicate better with their target audience. And while that happens, it is also necessary to understand why this technique works so well – even today:

Communication with customers

The number of app downloads doesn’t define your brand’s success rate. How the customers choose to use your app is the deciding factor. There are instances when apps are left unused once they have been downloaded.

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Marketers can use this window to create relevant messages, maybe 3 days after the download, to send out a push notification regarding an upcoming sale. Similarly, if the app is actively used, the usage can be further increased from monthly to weekly or weekly to daily with the help of pushes.

A few examples of such messages are:

  • Alerts on the yearly sale one week before and again on the day of the sale.
  • Reminding marathon organizers to remind runners to finish the registration process at least 72 hours before the race.
  • Casual restaurants asking their frequent customers on certain days if they’re interested in their “Today’s Special” menu that day.

Personalization is the key

The team at New York Times believes that there’s a great potential in personalization. In November 2015, they revealed that they are working towards customizing pushes based on the reading history of their readers. For instance: if a reader is into political stories on NYT,  the publication will send a notification on its recent magazine profile on Donald Trump.

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Personalized messages not only engage better with customers but also increase the brand’s recall value. In the image shared above, the push messages from “Best Buy” are generic while Amazon takes the personalization route.

In fact, consumers are 3 times more likely to complete a conversion event, if the message incorporates some kind of personalization.

Fastened customer support system

Push notifications allow the marketers to receive customer feedback easily and integrate it directly with the current CRM system. If they notice that one particular glitch is the reason behind maximum complaints, then they can use push messages to reach out to all customers.

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The content of the message can be “Are you having trouble using the promo code? Don’t worry. Call us on 011 and we’ll solve it for you.” Instead of waiting for them to connect with the team, let it be the other way around for a better sales experience.

Convenience

Push notifications can be sent to the users even when the app is not running, thus reminding them about the app. Moreover, users can’t be notified about new events or sales through sounds or pop-ups – without actually needing to open the messages.

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Despite this, the average click-through rate has increased to 10.2% in 2015 than 8.2% in 2014 – which shows that if users really find a push message to be appealing enough, they will click it.

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What’s the future?

As far as the future of push notifications, it is intact and secure. All that the marketers need to remember are:

  • Push notifications should contain timely, relevant and surprising information.
  • When used strategically, such messages do establish trust between the brand and its users.
  • Pushes offer a strong platform to bring back loyal and lapsing customers on board.

The marketers need to focus on those metrics that signify actual ROI and always remember to use audience insights as the root of the push message.

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