Using Push Notifications on Mobile as an effective marketing tool

By 26/07/2018Digital

The tight-knit relationship consumers share with their smartphone devices has changed the way people view and interact with the world.

It is said that 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up and 79% of adult smartphone users have their phones with them for 22 hours a day (source IDC Research).

With this rise in mobile internet users, marketers have been forced to adopt different communication channels to get their messages heard.

A push notification is a message that pops up on a mobile device and app publishers can send them out as often as they like. The user must have either downloaded the App or signed up to Push Notifications in order to receive them. According to a study by Localytics, 52% of smartphone users have push enabled on their devices.

They are a good opportunity for you to share information, provide updates, and stay in contact with users.  Typical push notifications that you might receive can generally be broken down into two categories, convenience and promotional.

  • Sports scores and news right on the users lock screen
  • Utility messages like weather and traffic reports
  • Flight check in, change, and connection information
  • Promoting products and offers
  • Improving customer experience
  • Sending transactional receipts instantaneously
  • Driving users to other marketing channels, eg social networks

Push messages have a reputation for being unwelcome and a little annoying. When you consider the fact that over 35% of push notifications are generic “broadcast” blasts to all users, it’s easy to see that a lack of relevancy plays a major role in this perception. When done correctly however, they can be a powerful marketing tool. Let’s look at how to use them effectively.


1. Use a limited number of words

A Push Notification is not a text message. When a user opens a push notification, it brings them to the app, but the message is gone from the screen. If your push notification is too long, it will be cut off. Screen capacity is dependent on the users phone so keeping it short is key.

2. Send personalised content

Don’t just send generic content out to all. It will look and feel like spam. Break the message or promotion down bases on the below, making the content as relevant as possible. It can also be nice to use the person’s name within the sentence.

  • gender
  • location
  • age
  • interests
  • browsing history
  • purchase history

3. Don’t be annoying

Sending too many push notifications or irrelevant messages will backfire greatly. That’s because users have the option to mute you by turning off your Push Notifications. Once muted, it is extremely difficult to get them to opt back in.

4. Send timely updates

Use push notifications to enhance the customer experience. If your customers are waiting for an update on something, tell them via a push notification. A good example is a Food Delivery Service sending a Push Notification to say “Your food is close by” once the driver is within a certain proximity to their location.

5. Use geofencing technology

Let’s say you have a number of stores located across London for example. If a user has your app downloaded to their device, they can get a notification about your shop once they are close by. A good example is If an app user walks by during lunchtime, send them a push notification with a lunch promotion. This technology isn’t the future, it is here now, with a number of different retailers already on-board.

Let’s have a quick look at companies who are using Push Notifications to their advantage.

1. Ticketmaster

By determining what types of events people like attending using Big Data, Ticketmaster can segment its push notifications and send offers that feel more personalized to its audience – resulting in higher conversion rates.

2. Netflix

With a vast sea of user data available to Netflix, the company can craft highly personalised push messages that draw on each customer’s viewing history. As they’ve found, sending a simple reminder about a series that someone has been watching is an excellent way to improve engagement.

3. H&M

H&M’s push notifications use past purchases to suggest additional items. For example, if a user purchased a new jacket from the retail chain, a notification may pop up encouraging them to grab a pair of boots which would go nicely with it.

4. The Bump

The bump found a way to touch base and keep users interested at the same time. Wouldn’t you want to know that your baby is at the size of a lemon?

Because push notifications are more intimate than other forms of communication, they’re ideal for reopening a channel of communication to previous customers and reminding already engaged consumers, that you are here, willing and able.

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