Highly Targeted Push Messages 293 Percent More Effective — Study

urbanairship.jpgMobile push messaging platform Urban Airship released its latest “Good Push Index” study. It found that an average of 62 percent of mobile users share their location with apps that request it. This leads Urban Airship to assert that privacy advocates’ fears about location may be overstated.

As I wrote earlier today, about the Forrester survey on consumer trust and privacy, people are willing to share personal information — California treats location as “personally identifiable information” — in a specific context when there’s a clear benefit. Use of location to personalize mobile apps is one such use case. Indeed, for maps or apps that involve location (e.g., Yelp) it’s essential. 

Location is just one of several forms of customization or targeting that can be used to customize push notifications.

The Urban Airship study analyzed almost 4 billion push notifications across 1,000 apps, categorized into a range of industry segments and verticals. Overall it found that “highly targeted push messages drive 293 percent more response on average than broadcast messages.”

In this case a “broadcast message” is a push notification that doesn’t employ any targeting. And “response” means a consumer opening and engaging with an app.

Urban Airship points out that according to app publisher survey data from early this year, the large majority of apps “deliver the same messages and app experience to all users.” The report explores and analyzes the difference in several vertical contexts between “broadcast” notifications and ones that are more targeted or tailored to the user either using preferences, location, past behavior or other variables.


  • Broadcast Push Influenced Open Rate:  17.67 percent
  • Highly Targeted Push Influenced Open Rate: 23.82 percent


  • Broadcast Push Influenced Open Rate:  15.49 percent
  • Highly Targeted Push Influenced Open Rate: 99.87 percent


  • Broadcast Push Influenced Open Rate: 25.88 percent
  • Highly Targeted Push Influenced Open Rate: 91.87 percent


  • Broadcast Push Influenced Open Rate:  14.98 percent
  • Highly Targeted Push Influenced Open Rate: 9.29 percent

Of the several verticals examined Sports was the only one where broadcast notifications outperformed targeted notifications. In the majority of cases, as indicated above, targeted notifications were significantly more successful in driving app engagement.

Users generally want personalization and are willing to opt-in (e.g., share location) to get it — as long as the purpose is transparent or obvious to them.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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