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How to Create a Push Notification Strategy

How to Create a Push Notification Strategy

With an estimated 1.2 billion new smart devices expected in the hands of consumers in 2013, push notifications can no longer be ignored. There is currently no better way to reach a target audience which is why push has become the next frontier of marketing. But what are push notifications? Why do you need them? How do they work? How can they be used effectively? In this post we will answer these questions to help you better understand and start using push notification for yourself.

What are push notifications?

Push notifications are a way for a mobile app to send a notice directly to a user on their smartphone, alerting them of new content or information on their app. When a user receives a push, they typically see a notice on their home screen as well as a badge on the app’s icon, as seen in the image to the left.

Why do I need push notifications on my apps?

You put a lot of effort into building, designing and launching your app and then maintaining it with great content and information. Push notifications help ensure all this effort pays off by engaging your users to ensure they recognise your brand on a regular and consistent basis.

Push notifications enable you to notify users of new information, products or events, and keeps your brand top of mind. People that download your app no longer have to waste time checking when new content is available, instead your app automatically reminds them. As a result, users come back to your app more consistently and your content and messages are never missed.

How do push notifications work?

From a user perspective, once an application has been downloaded onto their phone, a message appears asking the user if they want to accept notifications from your app. Users that accept this notice will have push notifications delivered to their device each time you publish new content inside your app.

How can push notifications be used effectively?

Since users have the choice to opt out of your notifications at any time, tailoring your push messages to suit your app’s context is key to keeping users from seeing your messages as intrusive or unwanted. The best way to approach this is to consider your message as incentive for your user, rather than a piece of information.

Consider some of these best practices when formulating your push notification strategy:

  • Frequency of your messages. Ask yourself objectively, “Would I be annoyed by the volume of messages I’ve been receiving from this app?” If the answer is yes, or even maybe, you may want to consider spacing them out or scheduling a certain time and day of the week where users learn to expect notifications from you.
  • What time is it? Knowing your target market allows you to send messages during reasonable hours, when engagement is usually best anyway. Anything between 10 AM and 6 PM is recommended. Anything outside that, and you could risk missing the user’s attention or annoying them. However, this can vary from business to business. Bars and nightclubs for instance may find significantly higher engagement levels when sent in the evenings. So consider your audience before sending.
  • Encourage engagement whenever you can. A relevant message is great, but it’s better to create discussion or interaction in the app which leads to sharing and other benefits. Using a concert announcement message as an example, ask users which song they’d like to hear, which takes them to your social network functions.

Every app’s push context is different, but thinking as your average user does will help you make sure your messages stay on point for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Campaign Suggestions

Depending on the purpose of your app, there are a few different routes you can take for maximum push value or engagement.

  • Leading users to your content. If you’re a blogger or content creator, let your users know when there’s an exclusive blog post, podcast or video.
  • Encouraging engagement through contests. Using your in-app social network, drive users to engage with photo-based contests, such as “post a picture of X” or reward users for the best response to a question you may have.
  • Offer exclusive discounts or deals. “Today only” deals, or discounts on products you offer, offer great incentive for your user to continue to return to your app.
  • Event reminders and announcements. Is the big game today? What time does a particular keynote speaker start? Will there be a change in store hours over the holidays? Friendly reminders for your app users take a couple seconds of their time, rather than them finding out too late or spending 5 minutes searching.

If you haven’t used push notifications in your app yet, we challenge you to get one out in the next week. Push is included as part of the AppMedia platform and takes 30 seconds to send to every device your app is on. Enjoy the results!

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