5 Push Notification Best Practices to Make Users Love You

A lot of research goes into starting a company. For us, it was important to get a feel for the specific market we were looking to break into. While we had a combined 10+ years in the mobile marketing and location analytics space, we have nonetheless spent hours upon hours analyzing our own research and sifting through as much information as possible to make sure that we are constantly at the forefront of our field.

During that time, we have uncovered some great tips and best practices along the way and we’re excited to share those with you. Here’s what we learned:


1. Limit Your Number of Pushes

The quickest way to get users to opt out of your push notifications is to send an annoying amount of push notifications. Consider your industry/vertical as well as the type of push notifications you are looking to send. A clothing retailer sending offers may not want to send as many notifications as a banking app who sends account notifications. There is a threshold for each user and each app for how many notifications it will take per week for a user to opt out. Additionally, the types of messages you are sending make a difference. For example, if your notifications are critical to a user’s experience, as with delivery or ride-sharing apps, users will be much more tolerant.

If you are simply sending a notification for a user to redeem a discount or offer, we recommend no more than 1-2 per week. Most users will tolerate this number without becoming annoyed and opting out. Any more, however, and users will opt out at an increasing rate for each additional message.


2. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

This one seems obvious, but eMarketer finds that 38 percent of marketers are either not doing it or just getting started when it comes to personalization. Over half of marketers are in the process of implementing a personalization strategy, and just 6 percent are considered “advanced”.

Personalization means different things depending on who you’re talking to as well. Some consider segmenting their email list to be enough. Others have an advanced e-commerce and email personalization strategy, yet still fall short when it comes to mobile. A select few even send out tailored content and consider the timing of their messages. The goal is to consider each on a 1:1 level that takes a user-first perspective, considering their needs throughout their day-to-day life.

A mobile device is one of the most intimate possessions to a consumer, and you usually only get one chance to show you deserve the privilege of taking space on their mobile shelf. So don’t blow it.


3. Use Emojis in Your Subject Lines

VentureBeat writes that using emojis in the subject of your push notifications increases open rates by 85 percent. It’s not surprising, given that some people have entire conversations using only emojis in their messaging apps, but there’s science to back it up.

If you think about it, push notifications show up in the same way as text messages and those of other messaging apps. The name “emoji” stems from the word “emotion”, and it is true that people react to them the same way they might respond to a facial expression. This means that it evokes an emotional response, rather than the logical response evoked by text characters. That means you’re reaching a different part of users’ brains and making an impact beyond just logic.


4. Be Selective With “Push Hours”

Be sure to set parameters for when messages can reach a certain user. Think about the time zones of your users’ locations. Ever been woken up by an annoying notification buzzing next to your pillow? Also consider the user experience. Maybe a user is not likely to open a notification in the evening for a restaurant they only frequent for lunch. For retailers looking to drive store traffic, it is unlikely anyone is going to leave the office for that 20 Percent Off Spring Sale offer. Also consider that soccer moms or senior citizens might have different hours than millennials.


5. Be Wise Using Location Data

We know that app users are willing to provide location data if they find value in return. The caveat here is that there is a fine line between what they consider value vs. frustration. For example, geo-fence technology has existed for several years now, and consumers are starting to catch on. The problem is that users know where your stores are and don’t care that you know they’re nearby. Sending a notification when they’re close doesn’t help them or provide a better experience, it makes it frustrating for them.

When was the last time you received a notification while traveling by car, train, or even walking by a business’s location and had time to stop? We are all busy people, and it does not provide value if you are offering a discount when I pass by if I’m already late to pick the kids up after work. If, however, you were to know my likely route at the end of the day before I left work, I may find value in your offer if I have time to plan a stop into my commute.

Foreknow provides the ability to engage users at that precise moment of intent. Do I stay at the office and blast out a few more emails or do I leave early to take advantage of the discount your app is offering? You decide.