Sometimes it feels like the humble push notification has been around so long that we’ve already started to take it for granted. And even then, for some brands and consumers push notifications have picked up an uncomfortable association with ‘spam’. It's no wonder that push opt-in rates are currently around 41 percent (and falling). You can’t blame consumers for being unwilling to sign up to poor quality push experiences.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Below are three simple ways to make the most of your push notifications. While they aren’t the whole story, they are three things you can do today to make a real difference.
It stands to reason that if nobody agrees to read your notifications, it doesn’t matter how smart and well constructed they really are. You’ll often only get one chance, so make it stick and get that all important opt-in.
Don’t send a default request immediately when the user opens the app for the first time. At that point, there’s no context, there’s no relationship, and the default answer in that situation will always be “no”.
Do wait until you can offer push notifications as an intrinsic part of the customer service package. For example, when an item is ordered on mobile, let the user know that by opting in to notifications you can let them know when it is shipped.
By using custom campaigns like these to frame a push opt-in in terms of benefit to the user, you’ll see serious upticks in your opt-ins, and your push campaigns will be more effective as a result.
Personalize your content
If there’s one lesson everyone needs to learn it’s this one: personalize content wherever possible, stop thinking in terms of ‘campaigns’, and aim for the ‘audience of one’.
The second two points lead organically from the first. If you’re sending a push notification letting a user know that check in for a flight is open, speak to them by name but also specify the flight and destination. Why not add in a weather update at the same time? These types of notifications are significantly more effective, and by building content dynamically they naturally create one-to-one communications that are service driven rather than simply attempts to sell to a mass audience.
Look to improve your customers lives, not just make short term revenue.
Measure in the right way
If you want to optimize your push efforts, you’ll need to measure effectiveness in the right way. First and foremost, that means ditching click-through rate as a metric. How many people click on a push notification is largely meaningless for a couple of reasons.
- It’s too easy to ‘game’ in a way that doesn’t help your business.
- Many push notifications don’t need to be clicked on to demonstrate that they’ve helped the user and provided value.
Focus on what you’re actually trying to achieve. Use A/B testing and control groups to establish whether you’re making that happen. If you’re looking to drive a specific purpose, compare sales from different approaches, or to no approach at all. Look at broader metrics in the same way.
Ultimately, you want to establish if push campaigns work for your business against the high-level metrics that truly matter: engagement, retention, and revenue. Make these your goal.