How push notifications add longevity to an app
June 7, 2012
A push notification from Walgreens
Applications play a valuable role for marketers aiming to get prime real estate on a consumer’s mobile device, but getting users to come back to an app is always a challenge. Push notifications change that.
Push notifications are a great way to keep the dialogue going between a consumer and marketer. However, mobile experts agree that similar to all other marketing channels, the key is consistency and including the medium into a multichannel strategy.
“Push notifications as a stand-alone mobile messaging channel has a place in the marketer’s toolbox,” said Tim Ritchie, vice president of North American sales and account management at OpenMarket, Seattle, WA.
“However, a broader view of mobile messaging – including SMS, MMS, and push notifications – is more powerful,” he said.
“By taking a multichannel mobile messaging approach, brands immediately have a 60 percent larger addressable market, a way to communicate and escalate urgency around their messages and a way to reach virtually any mobile device.”
Consumers can get deals from Qdoba with push notifications
Push notifications help both publishers and consumers, per Mr. Ritchie.
Publishers are able to develop a personal relationship with users to build engagement via an app, and consumers can receive timely, relevant content.
Although marketers are rolling out applications at a rapid speed with the goal of acquiring new users, many brands are not thinking of the long-term strategy behind apps.
According to a recent study from Forrester Research, 15 percent of mobile phone owners use applications monthly and 15 percent of users download apps monthly. To compare, 41 percent of the same group said that they had used SMS in the last month (see story).
The study shows that although consumers do engage with apps, more users are interacting with SMS messages, likely because of the time-sensitive content.
Therefore, push notifications are an essential way to serve a timely message to users.
Additionally, push notifications can be used by marketers to dig up data on how apps are being used.
“Brands can deliver any content or call-to-action directly to the consumer, whether it is pictures of a specific product or a purchase flow,” Mr. Ritchie said.
“Brands should capture, analyze and leverage this data to improve subsequent messages and workflows to make new messages even more impactful,” he said.
Examples of push notifications from Sephora and shopkick
One size does not fit all
Depending on the type of app, push notifications do not make sense for everyone.
“Marketers should put themselves in the user's shoes and design the notifications accordingly,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.
“Push notifications are neutral – whether or not they're useful or distracting depends of their use and user notification settings,” he said.
For example, apps with a utility-only purpose might not make the most sense to use push notifications.
However, retail and shopping apps have a clearer call-to-action that can be used to send out timely, relevant content, which can be tied to current deals and offers.
Rue La La, for instance, has seen a 25 percent increase in app sessions after increasing its use of push notifications (see story).
Additionally, educating users on push notifications when they download an app is critical, according to Marlon Rodrigues, director of marketing at Polar Mobile, Toronto.
“If users are properly informed about when they will receive push notifications and have the ability to configure them, [the technology] can be a very potent means of user engagement and retention,” he said.
“Its potency comes from rising above the clutter of the typical users’ pages of apps to deliver a short piece of content that invites the user back into the application for a longer experience, which improves audience retention.”
CNBC's push notifications
Given the immediacy of push notifications, news organizations have been quick to use them as a way to get content, such as breaking news, out to consumers quickly.
However, push notifications are an opt-in feature and users need to know exactly what they are singing up for.
For instance, media outlets such as the New York Times, CNN and CNBC rely on using push to get news to users as fast as possible, often times in a race with other organizations.
Although apps should offer consumers a clear way to opt-in or out of a push notification program, an executive from Fiksu says that most consumers want to leave them on if it means that they are sent relevant offers and information.
“Push notifications offer brands the unique and powerful opportunity to communicate with consumers anytime, anywhere,” said Craig Palli, vice president of business development at Fiksu Inc., Boston.
Getting push notifications right is a four-step process, according to Mr. Palli.
It is important to be clear and upfront with users that they will be receiving push notifications.
Apps should also offer the opportunity to opt-in and opt-out of the program and segment users with tailored push notifications.
Finally, marketers should test which types of notifications consumers are most responsive to.
“When executed well and not over utilized, push notifications are an excellent way for mobile app brands to communicate with users,” Mr. Palli said.
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
- Trackback url: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/trackback/13023-1