Mobile Push Notification Strategy: Tips For Engaging And Retaining Users

Push notifications are one of the most effective marketing tools for keeping mobile consumers active. But what types of messages should you send, and to whom? When is the best time to share a push notification with your audience? The answer lays in effective targeting. And because mobile is a highly personal medium, it pays to personalize; our devices are extensions of ourselves.

A one-size-fits-all push strategy hurts credibility. It says to current or prospective customers: “You’re just another app user.”

The ROI of push personalization is clear too: One study found that—compared to broadcast messages, or generic messages that are sent to a large percentage of your audience—highly targeted push notifications can drive up to 293 percent more response. 293 percent! Dozens of other studies have backed this up; personalized messageslead to higher retention rates, app opens, and activity.

But where does that personalization begin? Should app managers personalize messaging based on user behaviors, their preferences, their location, the time of day? The more personalized your notifications, the better, so it’s really a combination of all of these points and more. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Segment (and Microsegment) Your Audience: Effective personalization starts with thoughtful audience segmenting. You can segment based on broad attributes or actions like age, location, and recent app activity. But you can (and should) go even further and microsegment your audience into smaller, more targeted user groups.
  2. Find the Right Time(s), Frequency: Although studies have found that weekdays tend to have the best response rate, every app is different. Dive into the data and find when your users are most responsive, then incorporate that into your strategy. As my colleague Matt Asay noted in a recent post, Redbox found that the best time to reach out to its audience was around 9 a.m.— by personalizing at the right time, the company saw rental rates double. It was a small but high-impact shift. Similarly, more messages aren’t necessarily better. Focus first on providing the right content at the right time; then watch, listen, and adjust accordingly.
  3. Location-based Push Notifications: Nearly half of mobile app users opt-in to both push notifications and location-based content, and when used in tandem, they can create extremely engaging and useful experiences. Retail apps for example often send sale reminders—and if the reminder is sent when the user is near a store location, it becomes much more enticing and action-inducing.
  4. What Types of Content Work: Segmenting your app audiences can yield great insight into what to share. For example, previous behavior of a subset of your app users can show you products or content that similar users might also be interested in. Netflix nails this on the head, delivering push notification recommendations and updates based on users’ favorite shows and movies. Another tip: During on-boarding, ask your customers for the type of content they prefer. Then, use that deliver more engaging messages.
  5. Use Your Messages to Reengage Users: Push notifications, when used intelligently, are a good way to bring inactive users back into your app. In fact, retention for users who opt-in to push notifications is much higher, on average. Why? Because you can speak directly to these users and deliver clear value. Through push notifications, you can provide: Thoughtful reminders. Personalized offers. Breaking news. Account status alerts. You get the idea. When you can show this kind of direct personal value, you’re much more likely to retain them long term.

Users have dozens of apps installed on their devices, yet nearly a quarter are used once and then forgotten. Well-crafted, thoughtful push notifications will help your app stand out. But the key is personalization. The more relevant and useful your messages are for your audience, the more success you will see.

Refine your mobile engagement strategy and see what works for you. With new integrated push messaging capabilities powered by the Adobe Marketing Cloud Mobile core service, the tools are all available to you.