Suraj Dubey
Suraj Dubey 19 April 2018

5 Ways to Improve Push Notification Performance in 2018 (Part 2)

Studies have revealed that users who use the app more frequently tend to stick around longer. Also, customers who linger-around your app longer tend to buy more from you. Push notifications have recently emerged as a great channel to increase app users and drive revenue. In this post we look at some of the technological advancements in push notifications, and how they (notifications) are driving growth and revenue for brands.

In our previous post we've uncovered strategies such as using 'customer flows,' 'dynamic messaging,' and AI. Now here's 'Part 2' where we discuss the role of Segmentation and some Push Notification best practices that can come in handy while creating and sending push notifications to users.

Use Data, Segmentation, and Personalization

Studies have shown that over 78% of consumers only take up promotional offers if brand messaging is personalized. While personalization is the destination, it is the back alleys of segmentation that take you there.

Push notification segmentation

As seen above, delivering hyper-personalized experiences is possible by understanding the relationship and differences between data, segmentation, and personalization. Read more about segmentation and personalization in this article.

Let us understand this with an example. Here's how Gaana app (One of Asia's leading music streaming apps) performs segmentation and personalization to up their personalization game for suggesting artists and music to users.


push notification gaana

Gaana, one of Asia's leading music streaming service leverages segmentation platform to drive active music listeners and boost subscriptions. As seen in the above example (Image on the left), it is clear that Gaana created a segment targeting users interested in a genre or an artist. Having built a segment of such users, Gaana went on to send personalized the push notifications with ‘First Name Tags’ to address each user individually. Similarly, Gaana also leveraged segmentation capabilities to progress users from the free plan to a premium subscription.

Push Notification Best Practice

We have discussed a lot on the technical aspects of building a push notification campaign. However, a lot of the engagement magic lies in the actual contents of a push notification. Research has shown that good creative campaigns are 11 times more successful in delivering ROI. Here are a few tips for creating top-performing push campaigns:

Get creative

Creativity in push notifications gives you the opportunity to create authenticity and a chance to stand out in the already-crowded notification tray. Creative notifications are the result of a creative process and not the product of pure creation.

A typical creative process covers two aspects:  the copy and the design. The copy comprises the text content of the notification, and the design is the image that accompanies the copy. A good creative product is when the copy and the design compliment each other, in a bid to increase the chance of a user interacting with the notification. Keeping the following in mind while drafting push notifications can help achieve the sweet spot for your notifications:

  • Intrigue: Does the creative grasp the users’ attention? Does it (creative) stand out from the rest of the noise?
  • Decisive: Does the creative evoke an emotion? Does it invoke the user to think deeper about something or your brand?
  • Simplicity: How crisp and targeted is the creative message? Is it simple to understand? Is the creative capable of conveying the message in fewer words and images?
  • Alignment: Is the message about your brand? Does the message fit well into the overall marketing strategy and goals?

Message length

By default, the iOS allows anywhere between 150 – 230 characters and Android notification tray allows anywhere between 450 – 650 characters. However, if you wish to get the best response for your push notifications, we strongly recommend a message which is not longer than 40 – 50 characters. The motto is clear, crispness=better mobile messaging.

Over time, it has been observed that messages that are brief and succinct get the job done better than long phrases which users might tune out.

push notification length

Use the right words (power words)

Order now… Shop now… Buy soon…

Can one word change the way you feel about something? Well, yes. Imagine you are reading about a car accident. The words ‘impact’ and ‘crash’ can hugely differ in the way you perceive the seriousness of the incident.  Similarly, small changes in copy can make a tremendous difference in how users interact with the notification.

Using words that grab users attention and increase a tendency to convert should be core to your push notification copy. The good folks at Buffer have compiled a list of 189 power words that convert. Here’s another list of 20 powerful marketing words that sell by Vertical Response. Start adding the required punch your marketing needs with these powerful words today!

Use push notification action buttons

push notification actions

Push notification action buttons are a great way to help the user get more done with your app. Action buttons in push notifications can help users book cabs, order items, remind them of something and a lot more depending on your app. We have written about push notification action buttons on our blog earlier which talks a great deal about how apps out there are using action buttons to drive usage and app value to the users.

We even created an infographic on how push notification action buttons can be used by different apps. Check it out here.

Rich Push Notifications

I am sure we are all familiar with the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The statement holds water even in the era of mobile marketing. According to studies, your mind can process an image 60,000 times faster than text. Images, and other rich content can add zing to your notifications and make them interesting for the user, increasing their tendency to act-upon your notifications.

Keep in mind the following image dimensions while sending out push notifications:

On iOS, restrict the images to 1038px X 1038px. Images taller than 1038px will be scaled down with padding to give the image a 1:1 or a square appearance. We recommend you use an image which is 1038px wide and any number lesser than that for the height of the image.

On Android, it is advisable to stick to images that are anywhere between 800px and 1038 px wide. Maintaining a landscape orientation to images will help as Android OS crops the images to a 16:9 ratio, depending on the device.

If you are wondering how do I look for images to use in my notifications, there are multiple sources that provide free stock images with little or no attribution required. Some of the common sources of stock images are PixabayUnsplash, among plenty others. If you also wish to add some text to your images or perform basic image editing functions, I recommend the Pixlr online image editor.

Do not Push your users

Yes, users like to receive push notifications and find them somewhat useful, but you have to be mindful of when you nudge the user. Sending too many, untimely notifications can result in push notification spam causing user backlash or even large-scale app uninstalls. There are two ways you could avoid doing this:

  1. Frequency capping: One of the biggest gripes users have about push notifications is receiving too many of them from an app. Set a limit on the frequency and number of push notifications you send out to your users.
  2. Do not disturb: Receiving notifications late in the night or during the wrong hours can be pretty annoying for users. Activating do not disturb settings ensure that your users receive notifications only during times which they are comfortable with.

Deep linking

This one goes without saying, but a lot of apps still miss out on deep-linking.  Deep-linking is using powerful links that take the user to a specific page on the app. Deep-links help you acquire, engage, and measure across all devices, channels, and platforms as well. This saves the user from the effort of navigating to the specific section of the app to access the information he acquired from the push notification.

If you are new to deep-linking, we suggest you try it from a third party like Branch or to avoid being hit with errors and causing stability issues with your app.

Have more ideas on how to improve the performance of push notifications? Let us know as comments below.

The article originally appeared on the MoEngage blog.

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