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What are Push Notifications? And Why You Need to be Using Them.

what are push notifications

When we are in the early stages of designing a mobile app, and talking though the features desired by the client. We are always surprised by how often we are asked, what are push notifications? Because, if you are currently using a smartphone, then you are likely to have seen a push notification every day.

What is a Mobile Push Notification?

A push notification is a message a user receives from a mobile app, when the application is not open. These messages are usually sent in an attempt to make the recipient return to, or reengage with, the app which sent the message.

Also known as server push notifications. They are messages a user is able to receive for free from any app they have downloaded. Providing they have opted in to receive them. The notifications look similar to text notifications when seen on the lock screen. They also open up an app when clicked. But here is where the similarities end. Push notifications can be much more sophisticated, personalised and engaging for users.

Why You Need to be Using Them

Push notifications are direct communication with customers you know have an interest in your brand or service. If they have taken the time to download your app, there must be a reason for doing so.

Companies utilise email marketing as they know they have a list of people they can count on to engage with their content. But this same mindset exists with users who have downloaded your mobile app. So why not place as much effort into engaging with them?

Are Push Notifications Effective?

When used correctly, push notifications are one of the most effective forms of communication with users. They have a click though rate which can be as much as 5 times higher than email in certain sectors.

The effectiveness of push notifications is due to how they can be made to seem highly personal to each user. Making use of features such as GPS tracking means you can send users push notifications when they are at a specified location. This means you can tell users in close proximity to your store you have a sale on or a limited time offer.

But not only are they an effective way to get a message to your customers. They also help with customer retention. Users who are opted in to receive push notifications are retained at a rate x2 higher than users who have opted out. If you’re not keeping users engaged with your app, they will be quietly slipping away. And you will need to put much more effort into getting them to return.

Customers are only going to keep your app on their phone if they are getting something useful from it. Keeping users up to date through notifications is a great way to make them feel your mobile app is giving them something extra.

How Many Push Notifications is Too Many?

The biggest pitfall with push notifications, and you have probably experienced this yourself, is avoiding sending too many notifications. Although this is not a problem for apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp were user expect to receive a lot of notifications. For other mobile applications, bombarding users with messages can be the fastest way to be deleted.

Users are more receptive to push notifications now than in previous years. With users tolerating more messages per week before considering removing an app from their phones. But what the data is telling us is to not push this too far. Even 2-5 messages a week would cause 37% of respondents to disable notifications.

How many push notifications is too many? It’s difficult to put an exact number on it. Because the amount a user will tolerate depends on the quality and relevancy of the messages you are sending. However, unless the app is a social one, the research suggests if you are sending over 5 per week you will struggle to retain the majority of your users.

How To Add Push Notifications to an App

If you have a mobile app which isn’t being used to its full potential. iprogress can add the ability to send push notifications to your users. We use Firebase, as this allows us to enable the delivery of  push notifications on both Android and iOS devices.

For more information on adding push notifications to an existing Android or iOS mobile app. Contact iprogress and we will help you take your customer engagement to the next level.

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