What Are Push Notifications and How Can They Help Your Mobile App?
We’re exposed to upward of 10,000 ads per day. While this might be surprising news for some, it only proves just how difficult it is to catch a user’s attention. An ever-growing competition doesn’t help, forcing companies to find new ways to interact with users.
In the age of permission-based marketing, carefully executed push notifications are an amazing alternative to engage with customers. Let’s look at how push notifications can help a modern mobile app.
A push notification is a short message that nudges a user to act. Introduced by Apple in 2009, push notifications have become a powerful user engagement tactic in recent years. Push notifications help catch a user’s attention in a busy, distracted world with low attention spans.
Push notifications notify users about an update, remind them of something, or prompt them to return to an app.
Time-sensitive push notifications: These push notifications create a sense of urgency among users.Great for launching limited-time deals or announcing flash sales in the ecommerce industry.
Reminders: Reminders help users avoid forgetting something important, like meeting someone, completing a daily task, etc.Great for to-do apps, personal assistants and health and wellness apps.
Personalized notifications: Personalized notifications are used for sending relevant content to mobile devices. For example, a personalized special offer to convince a user to buy something.
Triggered push notifications: These push notifications are a result of the user’s actions. A daily mobile notification about a workout streak after you sign up for a health or fitness challenge is a great example.
Transactional push notifications: Transactional notifications update users about their recent purchases, subscription renewal, order status, etc. Banking apps, fintech platforms, and ecommerce apps all use transactional notifications.
Abandoned cart push notifications: These push notifications remind customers to complete their purchase. Ecommerce platforms also use these notifications to remind buyers of the time-limited nature of a deal.
Rich push notifications: Rich notifications include video, GIFs, emojis, or images for grabbing attention and maximizing engagement. Online food delivery players use food images linked to restaurant menus to make users crave and order directly.
Informational push notifications: Informational notifications deliver information and updates in real-time. Think of news apps sending instant updates with world news, or a weather app updating you about weather.
Location-based notifications: Users receive location-based notifications when they visit a particular location. Think of Google Maps telling you about the nearest places of interest based on your recent travel history or a dating app reminding you to find your date in a new city.
Benefits of Push Notifications for Mobile Apps
Push notifications offer a great opportunity for mobile marketers to open a direct communication channel with users. When used correctly, push notifications can be a powerful way to engage and delight users. Here are some of the benefits of using push notifications for mobile apps:
With so much information to digest daily, digital consumers quickly get distracted. They can forget about you, your app, and your offerings in a matter of hours. But when you send them a highly targeted and well-crafted nudge, it can catch their attention and keep them hooked.
Push powers ROI-driven marketing campaigns
Push notifications open a highly effective and affordable marketing channel for every mobile marketer. Remarketing notifications help promote the latest offers, almost instantly increasing the conversion rate.
Push-enabled mobile apps can directly send a targeted message to their audience, drive traffic (or conversions), and reduce marketing spend. For companies with lots of mobile app users, a thoughtful and targeted push strategy enhances the marketing ROI without increasing the costs.
BeyondTheRack — an ecommerce platform used push notifications to retarget its website visitors. BTR used its existing user base to improve core marketing metrics.
How Mobile Apps Use Push Notifications: Real-Life Examples
You see a push notification every time you pick up your smartphone. Though there’s no limit to what message you can push to your users via notifications, here are some common examples:
Ecommerce apps send personalized offers, provide order updates, remind users about the items they left behind in the cart, etc. Push messages hook shoppers and enhance the shopping experience.
Amazon uses push notifications to update a buyer about orders and offer personalized deals based on shopping history/wishlist.
Streaming platforms and entertainment apps
A streaming app like Netflix uses push to keep users excited. Netflix is known to tease users about their favorite shows, give them sneak peeks, and more.
Entertainment apps also use push notifications to remind users about payment cycles or resume watching something they left in the middle.
On-demand apps: Ridesharing, food delivery & other services
Push notifications work wonders for on-demand service apps like ride-hailing apps or food delivery companies.
Uber uses push notifications to offer minute-by-minute updates and inform users of any change in their ride.
Lyft — Uber’s competitor also uses location-based push notifications to ping users about any change in planned routes.
Zomato — a food delivery startup leveraged push notifications to increase user activity and order volumes over the years.
Push Notification Best Practices: Things to Keep in Mind
Users may love push but everyone hates unsolicited messages out of the blue. Use push notifications judiciously in your overall marketing strategy. Remember, too many notifications can annoy your users and prompt them to disable push (60% of users opt out of push) or uninstall your app altogether.
Push notifications should always be short and sweet. Remember, your goal is to grab attention. Use concise and impactful copy to stand out and prompt users to take an action.
The right personalization tactics can make your push notification campaigns blow up. When you push content or a right offer within the right context, users are more inclined towards trying out your offer.
For example, restaurant or food suggestions for a user who has just landed in a new city. A food or travel app could send a 50% coupon code on first order in the push.
Push Notifications: Do’s and Don’ts
What is the difference between a push notification and a text message?
A text message can be sent to anyone and is delivered as an SMS. A push notification is broadcasted to the users of a mobile app on a smartphone. Push notifications can be rich, targeted, and more sophisticated than a general text message and are a great marketing tool.
Can I send push notifications without an app?
Yes, you can use push messaging to send notifications to your website visitors. Visitors can opt-in for notifications when they visit the website and will get regular updates via their internet browsers (on mobile or desktop).
What is the difference between in-app notifications and push notifications?
Push notifications are messages that encourage a mobile user to perform a specific action within an app. In-app notifications move an already engaged app user further in the buyer journey.
Push notifications are delivered as an external notification on the device, in-app notifications remain within the mobile app.
Use Push Notifications Wisely to Improve Engagement
Push notifications solve a major challenge for mobile apps — engagement and retention. With contextual push notifications and personalized messaging, your app can turn into something more — a companion that never keeps the user out of the loop.
If you’ve got a mobile app and are still thinking about push notifications, you’re leaving a huge opportunity unattended. Start building your push strategy and utilize push to your advantage.
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Push notifications nudge users toward next steps. Use push to engage your customers
Maja oversees content production at nomtek. Restlessly creative, she has over nine years of experience as a content writer. Maja loves cats, long-distance running, and orbiting the Earth during meditation sessions.