How To Use Push Notifications Without Being Pushy
Marketing within the mobile world is still evolving around us. With new technology and a wider audience now participating in this market, marketers are understandably focused on how best to communicate effectively with this audience.
The New Messaging Mandate published in January 2012 by Forrester described the importance of turning email into a “multichannel conversation that includes a number of non-email communication vehicles.”
What they were describing was the ways in which marketers can get their messages directly onto consumers’ devices, be it their laptops, tablets or mobile phones. One of the emerging channels included in this report was push notifications from mobile applications.
What Are Push Notifications?
Push notifications are little reminders that pop up on the main phone screen to let the user know about a message from the app. You can consider the push notification a little dialogue that goes on between the consumer and the marketer. These little messages are discreet, non- invasive and are a powerful marketing tool if used effectively.
The original purpose for these “alerts” was to notify the app user that their app had been updated, new content had been added or to remind the user that they hadn’t accessed the app in a while.
App developers required a tool that allowed them to keep their audience using the app. If the app usage to download ratio is low the app developer would not be considered successful.
What Are The Other Uses Of Push Notifications?
There are a number of ways in which push notifications are used. Recently, my company, AppsGeyser, analyzed the way its more than 31,000 customers were using push notifications. We found that there were four main styles in which push notifications were being used to benefit businesses.
The main use by far, used 41% of the time, is to notify the current audience of new apps or versions that have just been released. The second most common use, at 24%, is to send the users a special offer or links to a landing page — this was more likely to lead to external content that they were being paid to promote.
Although used less commonly, 14% of push notifications were used to alert the users of new content that had become available on the app, and 12% of all push notifications were being used to provide a link to affiliate offers or ads. The remaining 9% of all push notifications are used for a wide variety of other reasons.
The New Marketing Channel
The realizations that push notifications could actually be utilized in other ways have quickly spread to the marketing world — what a wonderful idea, advertising alerts popping up on mobile devices!
Well, there is a fine line between encouraging engagement and being too pushy. Push notifications should provide value to the end user and be used to build a long term relationship. To that end, notifications must be timely and consist of relevant content to the user. After all, if a children’s app developer sells push notification space to Nescafe, the message will just get lost and be considered spam. This will not encourage the user to use the app or purchase the product — the relationship will be lost.
Some valuable uses of push notifications include Walgreens’ reminders about prescriptions being eligible for refill, or Foursquare’s updates to let users know when and where their friends have checked in. Twitter’s app can send a push notification whenever the person gets a direct message or is mentioned in a tweet. Some marketers are using GPS technology to send notifications when a person is near their retail location. The key is to provide information that people actually want to receive in a timely manner.
If you are considering using push notifications as part of your mobile marketing plan, make sure you follow these simple rules:
- Keep content relevant, timely and branded
- Link it to your social networks when possible to keep the conversation running
- Allow for opt out
- Do not over use this channel — six messages a day will indeed annoy most of your users
Most of all, remember that practice makes perfect. Your first mobile push notification campaign may not be perfect, but it will give you a foot in the door and some data to learn from.
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