The Elusive Push Notification

Mobile phones have transformed our daily lives. Many of us are no longer picking up a newspaper, looking at a map, or even getting bills through the mail. Everything from banking, news, maps, games, all the way to a camera are available in a device that fits in your pocket – a device that we use every day. With the massive rise of mobile media, companies now look at different ways they can engage with their consumers through this newer wave of technology.

Everyone is all too familiar with the banners and alerts that come hand in hand with every app downloaded on your mobile device. News alerts, sale alerts, fitness alerts, message alerts. It’s all about the alerts, alerts, and more alerts! So how well do these push notifications work, and how much is too much?

Localytics surveyed the average user asking how they feel about push notifications. The question of the value of push notifications became less clear than before. The results were split straight down the middle; half of the participants thought push notifications were beneficial to them, while the other half thought of them as annoying.

It’s crucial to understand that there needs to be a true balance between not utilizing push notifications at all and flooding a user’s mobile device with annoying alerts. Personalization is the key to keeping users engaged, which prevents users from pressing the well-known delete button. By making the notifications attune to the user, the application will get more retention because the user is getting alerts that mean something to them. This is the reason why fitness apps have some of the best retention rates on push notifications; the majority of their alerts are for the individual.

Sometimes too much is, well, too much, especially when it comes to push notifications. The more alerts sent out in a week normally results in fewer people opening or checking the alerts. This leads to the majority of people changing their notification settings or deleting the app altogether. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. The deciding factor on how much is too much is determined by the use of the app itself.  For example, a mail app will most likely send more alerts than a banking app, and this makes sense. The app notification settings and the frequency of alerts all depend on what’s best for the application and the user.

Overall, the science behind the push notification isn’t the clearest. To utilize this feature best, each application must understand what their app is being used for and who their user is. It may seem like a complicated task to tackle the elusive push notification, but with the proper tools, many companies and applications can create clear communication with their users and increase retention rates.

Article by Brianna Yacovelli
Channel Communications Intern