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27 Developers & Marketing Professionals Share Their Top Tips for Creating Engaging Push Notifications

Angela Stringfellow

Last updated on

More consumers today have mobile devices than ever before, with nearly 6.4 billion smartphone users in the world as of October 2021 (and growing). As a result, companies are taking advantage of new ways to engage and interact with their audiences. Push notifications are one popular method for communicating important information with your audience or your users. Done right, they can boost engagement with your app, create a better user experience, and increase your company’s revenue. Done wrong, they can annoy users, leading to uninstalls.  

That said, there are many factors that go into a push notification campaign. Having just a single element off the mark can have a negative impact on your results. Sending too many push notifications leads to alert fatigue and causes 61% to 78% of users to delete apps that do so. On the other side of the equation, 95% of new app users are likely to delete an app if they receive no notifications at all in the first 90 days. The design of your push notification matters, too, along with your copy and other elements like GIFs and interactive CTAs (possible when using rich push notifications).

So, what does it take to create engaging push notifications today, in an environment in which users are bombarded with a constant barrage of information and notifications every day? To learn more about the go-to push notification strategies that get results, we reached out to a panel of marketers and developers and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s your #1 tip for creating engaging push notifications?"

Read on to learn what our experts had to say about the best practices you should be following to create more engaging push notifications.

Lauren Sanders

Lauren Sanders

Lauren is a Marketing Specialist with The Product Analyst who has done a lot of marketing in the past using push notifications.

“Make it relevant and short...”

A good push notification is sent during important events with relevant deals. This will really engage the receiver and has a higher chance of engagement. Just make sure to send it on the correct dates.

A good example is birthday deals sent during one's birthday. Push notifications sent during the recipient’s birthday with good deals are something a celebrant cannot say no to. Other events that you can send notifications for are Mother's Day, Father's Day, or even the holiday season.

Sebastian Schaeffer

Sebastian Schaeffer

Sebastian Schaeffer is the CEO of Blogrolling, a blogging, SEO and web design resource.

“My top two tips for creating engaging push notifications are…”

1. Stay in regular contact.

Marketers are usually cautious when sending push notifications because there is a fine line to tread between annoying and useful. You need to pitch with enough regularity that your core user base is accustomed to your notifications and wants to hear from you. If people view your push notifications as relevant and helpful, they will stay opted-in over the long run. A deep understanding of your users is required to build an effective push notification schedule that takes into consideration when these people will have the time to receive and engage with the content and when they are most likely to want to spend money.

2. Make communication spontaneous and exciting.

Even if you have a well-informed push notification schedule, you need to break out of this schedule to remain engaging. This means staying on top of holiday promotions and sales opportunities. Here is when you can increase your intensity and conversion rates by offering people value they weren't expecting. Black Friday, New Year’s Day, Cyber Monday and other industry-specific sales periods should all be part of a good push notification strategy.

David Morneau

David Morneau

David is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of inBeat, a TikTok and Instagram micro-influencer platform used by 1,000+ e-commerce brands and agencies.

“The best way to engage is to grab attention…”

How? By understanding the fundamentals of psychology. Grab their attention by stroking their ego in any way you can think of. People mostly only care about themselves and what something can do for them.

Their attention span is short, so you have to be quick. The difference is as subtle and powerful as the difference between house and home. Did you feel that?

David Lynch

David Lynch

David Lynch is the Content Lead for Payette Forward, Inc., a digital publishing company with a focus on cell phones and cell phone plans. They regularly send out push notifications to their list of more than 50,000 unique users.

“Keep your message short and sweet…”

You'll only have a few seconds to capture the user's attention. The message should include a clear call to action — tell the user to tap or click, and tell them why they'll benefit if they do. I like to include an emoji in the push notification too, as emojis add a visual element to push notifications that otherwise would just be text.

Trevor Larson

Trevor Larson

Trevor Larson is the CEO of Nectar, a peer-to-peer rewards software developer.

“Focus on opt-in rate first and foremost…”

Any time and money spent on push notifications will be all for naught if you don't have a solid base of users to push to. The golden rule of enticing users to accept and opt-in to push notifications is to communicate their value. You have to let people know why they might want to hear from you in the future and what they stand to gain by opting in. Many push opt-in agreements are confusing or don't clearly communicate future value, so people simply hit no by default. You can A/B test your consent questions and propositions to see which ones work best in different contexts.

Peter Manzano

Peter Manzano

Peter Manzano is a Demand Generation Marketing Specialist with Thrive Agency.

“Be a problem solver…”

The more helpful your message can be, the better. What issue would you be able to settle? Which capacity would you be able to serve your clients?

That is the more significant level. When diving into composing a message, you may need to get off course of what issue your notification can resolve. Think in accordance with: If this (issue), then that (arrangement).

Regardless of the methodology you use, try to have somebody require another glance before your pop-up message goes out. This might be more difficult in a limited scale activity (where everybody is conceivably wearing numerous caps). However, it can save you from a tremendously tricky situation where issues of spelling, coherence, and even regardless of whether something is interesting (or hostile) can hurt your application's believability and evoke a negative reaction from your audience.

It also helps to consider using a general message pop-up system for better consistency in informing, recurrence, and timing.

Jacob Villa

Jacob Villa
Jacob Villa

Jacob Villa is the Co-Founder and Marketing Director of School Authority, a site dedicated to matching students with their ideal college in the United States based on factors such as career aspirations, lifestyle, and other personal preferences.

“Be personal…”

I believe that you can get a good understanding of who your users are and how they want to benefit from using your app by combining information provided by your users when they installed it with data from in-app behavior. All of this information will aid in the improvement of push notifications.

Divide your audience into multiple categories to provide a more personalized experience for your consumers. For instance, by age, gender, location, interests, or any other piece of personal data. Consider that some of your users are new to the app and are still learning how to use it, while others are regular users or even dormant users that you want to re-engage. In most cases, these folks will require entirely different messaging!

John Ross

John Ross

John Ross is the CEO of Test Prep Insight, an online education company in the test prep space. John has 8 years of experience in the online education space and has served as Test Prep Insight's CEO for 3 years.

“My absolute best tip for generating push notifications that drive real engagement is to lead with the numbers…”

Whether your push notification focuses on a hot sales deal, dwindling capacity, or whatever, make sure the quantitative figures are included in the first 4 words of the notification. Don't bury the lead with a full phrase or sentence before getting to the point of the message. If you're offering customers 40% off for the next 48 hours, then lead with that. Say, “HOT DEAL: 40% OFF.” Don't lead with, “In recognition of…”

In short, avoid creative fluff and get right to the good stuff — the numbers. Studies show that you have less than one second to grab a user's attention with your push notification. That roughly translates to 4 words of reading, so if you don't include your important sales offer or data in those first few words, you may have wasted your push notification.

William Taylor

William Taylor

William Taylor is a Senior Recruitment Advisor at VelvetJobs, a global job board and employer branding facility. William has helped individuals and organizations with career related issues, hiring, recruitment and management strategies for over 12 years.

“A push notification that's engaging is timely and witty...”

By timely I mean the push notification comes at the suitable time of the day when users are most likely to click. For example, it makes sense to send a push notification about a restaurant's 20% off discount around lunch or dinner time. You could also use your sense of humour when curating notifications. Users are most likely to engage when notifications are witty and on trend.

Natalia Lucci

Natalia Lucci
Natalia Lucci

Natalia Lucci has been in charge of digital marketing for a few mobile apps with >50k installations, including Wheelie Great.

“The problem with many applications is that push notifications are all over the place…”

And the end user typically will have no clue what the push notification will even be about. Through multiple surveys we conducted, we found that push notifications are an annoyance to a majority of people. Yes, there is the prompt upon installation that asks if you would like push notifications, but by habit most people approve this and move on with their routines.

For two apps I worked in marketing & development with, we decided to take the approach of giving the user an IN-APP prompt. The prompt informed them of the benefit or reminder we would offer (there should always be an incentive for a user to enter your app through a push notification) and then gave them the option to subscribe to them. You must make it clear to the user what it is, and you will find a huge uptick in push notification engagement rates.

Alice Gerwat

Alice Gerwat

Alice Gerwat is the Senior Content Editor & Social Media Manager at Magic Freebies. Alice creates engaging money-saving content to delight the audience and optimizes the search engine presence and social media strategy.

“Always use relevant emojis…”

It’s been proven time and time again that emojis really help with engagement on many types of content. This comes as no surprise as we know that visual content is increasingly appealing, and emojis are a visual way to convey a message quickly.

Bart Turczynski

Bart Turczynski

Bart Turczynski is the Content & SEO Director at ResumeLab. Bart’s advice and commentary have been published by the Financial Times, Hewlett-Packard, Chicago Tribune, Thrive Global, and Glassdoor, among others.

“Let's face it, the word ‘push’ has some negative connotations…”

Generally, people don't like to get pushed into doing things.That's why it has to be like the premise of the movie Inception: a seed planted that grows organically. In order to accomplish this, the push has to be something the reader will be drawn to emotionally and be inspired by. Successful push notifications should tell a story and/or give the user actionable advice that feels like the right timing and a kind of sign. Stories are known to hook people in. Knowing a user's preferences and location are critical to knowing how to phrase it and what will be palatable. Timing is everything, so making sure the time zones are correct is key. Nothing like being awoken by a push notification at 3am!

Christian Velitchkov

Christian Velitchkov

Christian Velitchkov is the Co-Founder and COO of Twiz, a marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization. Twiz is on a mission to build the best SEO company for SMBs in America and offers affordable search engine optimization and content marketing services for businesses looking to grow online.

“Push notifications will affect a person subconsciously…”

People might ignore it, but they won’t be able to for too long. Hence, push notifications have to be unique enough to be set in someone’s memory.

While drafting these notifications, one must consider their target audience. Keep in mind the people reading it and come up with relevant things to talk about. If you are targeting young adults, use whatever is trending on social media or the latest web series. You can follow the age trends and come up with something that your readers can easily connect with.

Remember to also be witty and funny to keep the mood lightened. You have to be creative enough for people to not entirely dismiss you.

Stefan Chekanov

Stefan Chekanov

Stefan Chekanov is a software developer for BROSIX, with 20+ years experience on several platforms and programming languages. Stefan has spent 16+ years managing projects that range from desktop through server, web and go to mobile, covering many technologies that have to work in sync.

“Getting the time right was a huge factor for us when optimizing our push notifications…”

We tweaked the times for specific push notifications to find the time that converted best for the business professionals that use our service.

It might not always be the obvious time you think it is, so try out different times and track your progress. After a while, you'll find the time that stands out from the rest and does the best.

Depending on what your app has to offer, the best times could vary. There's nothing concrete to tell you what time of the day or week will perform best, so just keep trying!

Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng is the co-founder of PeopleFinderFree and WeInvoice.

“It is fundamental to understand exactly what your audience is interested in hearing about…”

Because they installed your application for a reason. Push notifications are more popularly known as those pesky, disruptive messages that pop up on our phones at the most inconvenient times. They are considered to be annoying because more often than not, the information they offer is either irrelevant or feels somewhat impersonal to the user.

However, this should not give anyone the idea that push notifications are ineffective. The truth is that it is how they are being used and abused by a plethora of mobile applications that makes them seem problematic. When utilized properly, push notifications can retain mobile users and even resuscitate the interest of stagnant users.

In this respect, my #1 tip for creating engaging push notifications is understanding what your audience wants. Once you have narrowed this down, it will make your notifications more engaging and effective. For example, if your app is a news or informational service, sending out notifications for major breaking stories or major news events will likely prove to be a valuable and appreciated resource to your users. And when you deliver value, your users are more likely to engage. .

Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin

Daniel Martinloves building winning content teams. Over the past few years, Daniel has built high-performance teams that have produced engaging content enjoyed by millions of users. After working in the aviation industry for 9 years, today Daniel applies their international team-building experience in LinkDoctor to assist in solving their clients’ challenges.

“Relevancy and urgency make people engage with push notifications…”

I have sent more than 400k push notifications in the SEO and technology niches. Push notifications should be something they care about. I found that security, privacy, and link building tricks are some topics that have high engagements. Deals and discounts are also popular.

Yeelen Knegtering

Yeelen Knegtering

Yeelen Knegtering is a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Groningen, the Netherlands and the CEO & Co-Founder of Klippa. Yeelen likes to create solutions using software for everyday problems. Nothing gets Yeelen more excited than a very challenging project.

“It was important for us to figure out who will be making the decision to use our service and what they would be looking for…”

So, solely all about knowing our audience.

This didn’t come just from creating push notifications. It also went into the text we use in all of our marketing materials when it came to securing leads. We needed to understand the people who say, ‘Yes, I’ll try that,’ and take the initial steps to try out a new platform.

After we began to understand our audience, it helped us create better content with more effective CTAs, including in our push notifications.

Ali Ali

Ali Ali

Ali Ali is a freelance writer and blogger at AliSquared. Ali writes about growing an online business and the latest marketing tactics.

“I've been writing push notifications for several months…”

Here are some guidelines that have worked for me in regards to getting more conversions:

  1. Keeping notifications brief (100-120 characters).
  2. Including emojis can increase conversion by up to 10%.
  3. Use copy with a sense of urgency.

Maya Levi

Maya Levi

Maya Levi is the marketing manager at ReturnGO, an AI-driven returns management platform that aims to help retailers enhance customers' experience with product returns.

“Words can be powerful prompts for audiences if they are used accurately…”

In my experience as a marketing manager who has worked closely with our UX team, the #1 tip for making push notifications engaging would be to create a sense of urgency. In your push notifications’ copy, use words such as “quickly,', “immediately,” and “now'' that will encourage your audience to take fast action.

Alina Clark

Alina Clark

Alina Clark is the growth manager and co-founder of CocoDoc, a software development company based in the U.S. Alina is also a Member of the Business Journals Leadership Trust & Forbes Council. The company has been used as sources for websites like Lifewire, Yahoo, Bloomberg, Refinery29, CMSWire, and so on.

“Utilizing geo-targeting to ensure that your messages are shared by the appropriate audience is the number one tip for creating an engaging push notification campaign…”

Audiences who are geographically dispersed can receive different messages depending on where they are located in the world.

Even though not everyone has geo-tracking enabled on their mobile device, a significant number of individuals do. The process of sending push notifications can be made significantly easier by utilizing this feature.

Users receive these push notifications based on the information you've already collected about them, such as their IP address, or the information they've provided on order forms, such as their location in the world, and they're sent to their mobile devices.

These push notifications are delivered to users who are physically present in a given location through the use of simple targeting techniques. When sending these, neither the precise nor the current location of a user within a city or region is taken into consideration.

Michael Hamelburger

Michael Hamelburger
Michael Hamelburger

Michael Hamelburger has been the top-rated sales rep 7 years in a row in multiple firms. Michael founded Sales Therapy to help business owners stop fearing sales calls and see them as the opportunity they really are.

“My #1 tip for creating engaging push notifications is…”

Use statements that add a mystery to motivate the reader to tap on the notification. Make your copy great and appealing to leverage this strategy.

Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane
Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane is a qualified Electrical Engineer, working in the fast moving renewable energy sector.  Mogale is also founder of the power tool and measurement equipment blog, ToolsGaloreHQ. Mogale has skills in internet marketing, search engine optimization, blogging, career advice for young professionals and entrepreneurship.

“By adding emojis and asking optimized questions specific to each person…”

We were able to see an increase in engagement. As a freelancer for various clients assisting them to implement push notification technology, I have noticed that most people do not like being disturbed by their phones and generally ignore or completely turn off push notifications that do not spark curiosity or are just a blank wall of text.

Sam Shepler

Sam Shepler

Sam Shepler is the founder and CEO of Testimonial Hero, a 7-figure location-independent services business. Sam is a career entrepreneur with 1X previous acquisition. 150+ B2B revenue teams at Google, UiPath, Medallia, InsightSquared, and many others use Testimonial Hero to easily create customer videos that engage prospects, reduce friction in the sales cycle, and drive more revenue faster.

“We have to take care of specific characteristics such as timing and briefness…”

However, we should prioritize personalization when it comes to making push notifications as engaging as possible. From a user's perspective, getting push notifications may seem annoying and even invasive, but it shouldn't be that way if done correctly.

Personalizing push notifications is what makes people interested in your message. Make the content of the push appeal to the user as an individual. When I say personalize, it does not only involve copy. Personalization spans from the user's location to their in-app activity.

Gather information through the app about the kind of people they are as well as what they like and what they dislike. You'll have all the information required to make super-engaging push notifications.

Jesse David Thé

Jesse David Thé

Jesse David Thé is the President and CEO of Tauria, the first video conferencing solution in the world to provide e2e encryption.

“Know who you’re trying to reach and to speak to them, directly…”

Personalization is, without a doubt, the most valuable aspect of any marketing scheme. This goes for push notifications too. When you’re communicating with customers via their cell phones, it’s a deeply personal thing. It is, after all, a direct line of communication between you and them. Keeping that perspective in mind, do you really think sending customers a generic notification is the best way to cut through the noise of the various other messages and updates they receive daily?

Customers love to be treated with priority, and they love being shown that they’re important. That’s why adding a level of personalization to your push notifications can make a massive difference in your response rates and engagement.

Personalizing doesn’t just mean addressing customers by their name; it means also personalizing their content. This can be done in a number of ways, but the absolute best way to do this is to direct push notifications to customers based on their purchase history. Doing this allows you to connect with your customer and show them that they are in fact a priority to you and that you’re paying close attention to what they like and what products they’re most interested in.

Tim Sutton

Tim Sutton

Tim Sutton owns and operates a coffee blog, Coffee Geek, and a digital marketing agency.

“My #1 tip for creating engaging push notifications is…”

Know your audience and your offering. Learn about your target audience's journey map, also known as a day in your customer's life, and find a relevant touchpoint for your offering to pop in.

If you are unsure about the best time to send a push notification, you can ask them to set their own preferable time for receiving push notifications.

This is the number one step to making sure that your content is relevant and delivered in a timely manner.

Simon Elkjær

Simon Elkjær

Simon Elkjær is the Chief Marketing Officer of avXperten, home of Denmark’s most affordable electronics. Simon has more than a decade’s worth of experience in eCommerce, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

“One of the biggest rules to make push notifications more engaging and effective is to know your limits and not annoy your users…”

To do that, you need to make sure that your notifications appear during ideal hours of the day and that it’s properly timed to not overwhelm your users with too many messages at a time. After you’ve fixed this, you need to make sure that your notifications are specific but short and personalized as it’s one of the best ways to catch users’ attention and make your notifications appeal to them.

Keeping these things in mind will help you create relevant and engaging push notifications that people will appreciate.

Daniel Veiga

Daniel Veiga

Daniel Veiga is a 7-Figure Online Business Growth Expert, one of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs under 40, and a Growth Revenue Strategist who’s helped scale their clients to over $50M worth of sales online. Daniel is also a ClickFunnels 2 Comma Club Award Winner, a Digital Marketing Conference Speaker and has helped train over 700 entrepreneurs and business owners by merging technology & direct marketing on social media through their training programs. Daniel also built one of the fastest growing entrepreneur groups on Facebook which has over 65,000 members.

“As a marketing professional, my one tip for creating engaging push notifications is…”

If you want to generate more engagement with your notifications, make sure they have a clear purpose and are not spammy. You should send them out only when it’s something important that the user needs (relevant information) or wants (to feel good). Some examples of these might include reminders for an upcoming event, new features released on your app, and critical updates about bug fixes if users' devices are affected by it.

With the advent of mobile devices, it's important to keep in mind how your audience is most likely engaging with you. Consider using colorful verbs that elicit a positive emotion or sense of enthusiasm when creating CTAs and use smaller text for messages sent through social media channels. Words can be cleverly used to appeal to different segments of your audience. For bargain shoppers, try, “Get Your Discount Code.” Luxury shoppers will gravitate toward language such as, “Treat yourself!”

Want to create engaging push notifications with ease? MagicBell’s complete notification system makes it possible to notify your users no matter where they are through push notifications, email notifications, and in-app notifications, while ensuring that your users don’t get notified twice. An easy to implement notification system, MagicBell helps you launch a cross-channel notification strategy in days instead of months.