Push/Pull: How To Use Push Notifications Effectively

by Figaro Digital

Push notifications can be annoying, right? They always seem to come at the wrong time, when we want to see them the least, distract us when we’re trying to focus on something else, or simply come across as a spam nightmare.

However, a well-timed push notification can sweep an idle phone-scroller off their feet and straight to their wallet, leading to fast and targeted conversions.

The majority of brands and companies use push notifications the wrong way, which is frankly inexcusable given that mobile is now the dominant search platform. Below, find out how to be one of the few brands who know how to put the ‘pull’ in push notifications.

The Right Place, At The Right Time

Have you ever wondered why you get similar content at certain times of the day? You may find that e-seminars take place on Tuesdays to Thursday, newsletters neatly fall into your inbox at 8:30-9:00AM, and a big blog post is usually published in the evening when our slippers are on. Why is this?

Well, data on mobile usage and reading habits is well-established, leading to these wider publication trends; it is scientifically proven that people respond to different types of content at different times of the day. How, then, do you time push notifications, especially when they can be so reactive?

As a rule of thumb, 6-8PM is the golden time to send push notifications. Research by Andrew Chen confirmed that this two-hour window was the perfect time to send out a push notification, with responses peaking in this time.

6-8PM, then, is a safe bet, but getting to know your consumer base more intimately and tracking responses can allow you to pinpoint the exact time where responses will be highest – you can use Google Analytics for this!

Feeling Sensitive?

Running parallel to finding the right time to post a push notification, adding an element of time sensitivity can work wonders in some cases. By instilling a sense of sudden urgency in your customer, you can use push notifications to increase conversions. The more personalised and directed these notifications are the better.

The below push notification, for example, manages to be personalised, whilst also promoting a sense of urgency:

Source: Leanplum

The above notification hits three major sales points: naming the customer, using their search history to create a personalised deal and enticing them with a sale. So, in this example, Katy will feel catered to with a sale close to her interest, as well as being given a reason to convert due to the time-sensitive nature of it.

Utilise Geolocation

With the right permissions, you can send push notifications when someone enters or leaves a particular location. This way, you can surprise the user with a bespoke message.

By creating perimeters around certain areas, you can send push notifications to all users in that area, or for when specific people leave it. Geolocation-based notifications work best for restaurants, hotels, travel services, tourism and dating services. For example, if you move from Cardiff to Camden, you may receive a push notification as soon as you enter the district of London, upselling local businesses or services.

Get Comfortable With Emojis

It may seem small, but emoji usage has been proven to increase push notification conversions. A study at App Annie showed that featuring emojis can increase app engagement from a push notification by up to 85 per cent.

Millennials, who now have significant spending power, respond much better to emojis, plus they can convey information much more succinctly than words can within the context of a push notification.

Emojis are now central to modern marketing, with 92 per cent of all internet users communicating with the help of them. A few years ago, it was seen as a little too kitsch and on the nose, but now, emoji usage is expected within the confines of mobile.

It’s All In The Language

It’s tempting to be a bit too smart with push notifications, especially when using language, slogans, etc. Overall, people aren’t going to spend long reading a push notification, so it needs to be clear.

Clarity of language is perhaps the most important part of creating a push notification, and brands try to be a bit too vague too often. Notifications need to be the message without trying to be too smart or tease the user in; push notifications are all about communicating a piece of information as concisely as possible while making every character count.

Measure The Negative Stats

No, this isn’t to say you should be fielding a negative strategy and abandoning positive thinking. Positive measurements from push notifications don’t tell you enough: a user could engage with a push notification, but how do you know a user has gotten what they need out of it?

Negative measurements tell you more: did a user unsubscribe after a period of lots of push notifications? Did they stop engaging following a strategy change? These questions are what will fine-tune your push notification strategy, not quoting empty CTR figures verbatim.

Push notifications have been around since the Blackberry, but marketers still haven’t fully gotten to grips with how to use them effectively. While push notifications can get the creative juices flowing, going too left-field can be a major stumbling block for you and your brand. As fashion icon and businesswoman Coco Chanel once said: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”, so be simple.

With push notifications still having untapped potential, it’s worth spending some time thinking about. To keep on top of all the digital marketing trends, be sure to check out Figaro Digital’s array of videos and tutorials.