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50 Tips for More Effective Mobile Push Notifications

Angela Stringfellow

Last updated on

Push notifications are a ubiquitous part of the mobile experience. Emails had push notification systems from the beginning, but mobile push notifications became commonplace with their introduction to the iPhone. Today, all mobile operating systems have push notifications that application developers can use.

Push notifications are also helpful to marketers. It helps them to engage users, retain consumers, and increase sales. Push notifications can be sent to segments of consumers that exhibit similar characteristics. Marketers can send targeted messages to users according to their tastes.

This article delves into various pointers that can help to improve mobile push notifications. Incorporate these tips to improve the effectiveness of mobile push notifications.

Expert Tips & Best Practices for More Effective Mobile Push Notifications

  1. Ensure notification visibility. Mobile devices have relatively less real estate compared to PC browsers or applications and even tablet PCs. That’s why the visibility of notifications is a key determinant in capturing users’ attention. Use a notification design that ensures the message in the notification is easily readable.
  2. Opt-in from customers. You need your users’ explicit consent to send notifications. Ensure that users understand what they’re signing up for. Understand the value of customer attention and manage notifications accordingly. Customer opt-in and participation are necessary for a successful push notification strategy.
  3. Customize notifications for devices. The dominant mobile operating systems – Android and iOS – are used on a variety of devices. These vary in screen sizes, resolution, and performance. Users should experience optimal performance while interacting with mobile notifications. Developers have to take measures to ensure that all notifications scale well and operate well on all devices. Customizing notifications for all devices is among the top best practices to follow for push notifications.
  4. Notification timing is important. Users spend considerable time on their mobile devices, but that doesn’t mean they’re always inclined to engage with your application. Understand what drives your users and the time period in the day they are most active. Sending mobile notifications at the right time can improve user engagement significantly.
  5. Segment users. Your application has many different types of users. They may have different behavioral characteristics, demographics, or temperament. Understanding users is one of the keys to improving the effectiveness of mobile push notifications. Use your knowledge of your customers to categorize users into different segments based on their characteristics. All users in a segment should share a common attribute.
  6. Send relevant messages. Users expect useful content to be delivered when they consent to receiving notifications. The notification permission should not be viewed as a license to send loads of garbage to the user. Provide value to users by sending them messages that are most relevant for them. Creating user segments allows you to tailor relevant messages to different sets of users. Sending relevant notifications must be the core component of your push notification strategy.
  7. Data collection enforcement. Data is the oil that drives the new-age digital economy. Collect and store user data to gain insights from it and improve user engagement. Ensure your application collects and stores all relevant data, including how users interact with mobile notifications.
  8. Leverage data with analytics. Collecting data alone doesn’t offer business value; you have to put that data to use. Perform analytics on the data collected to improve your application’s user experience. Analytics will also shed light on how users engage with notifications. These insights can be used to design notification messages that can improve user engagement and other metrics. Analytics is an unavoidable part of operating successful applications. Leveraging insights from analytics also enables you to improve the effectiveness of push notifications.
  9. Provide value to users. Users don’t want to populate their notification feed with applications that don’t provide value. When users give notification permission, they are in fact offering a part of their attention span. Respect the user and ensure that your notifications provide value. If the user does not receive any perceivable value from the notifications, they’ll start ignoring them even if they haven’t revoked their consent to receive notifications.
  10. Ask at the right time for notification permission. The time you send notifications is important, but the time to ask for notification permission is equally important. If the user is asked for notification permission right after installing your application, they’re less likely to consent. The user has to engage with your application and should gain some value from your application before you ask for notification permission. If the user is convinced of the value your application provides, they’re much more likely to consent to receiving notifications.

  11. Use brand elements in notifications. Your brand is the collection of intangibles that identify your product in the minds of your users. Effective branding can increase customer loyalty and increase revenue. Branding is a requirement for all consumer-facing businesses, and notifications can help in the branding process. Incorporate brand elements in the notification design. This can be a logo, brand colors, or other elements of brand identity. This helps to solidify your brand in the minds of consumers.
  12. Reflect your brand voice in messages. A brand is not just the visual elements associated with it. The language and tone of the messages are part of a brand’s identity as well. Incorporate your brand tone into your mobile push notification messages. This helps to unify your brand across all the touchpoints users interact with. Integration of a brand with mobile notifications can increase the value your business can derive from push notifications.
  13. Enable dark mode for notifications. Dark mode is a recent UI element introduced in operating systems. It provides plenty of advantages for users compared to normal mode, which uses a lot of battery power. Developers have to provide a distinct design for the dark mode to render properly, and the same is true for notifications in dark mode. Support the development of dark mode to stay relevant to users who use it.
  14. Use an effective call-to-action. Your call-to-action (CTA) has a significant impact on the actions users take after receiving a notification. A better CTA delivers better user engagement. Every mobile notification should include a CTA that entices users to engage with the application.
  15. Send personalized notifications. Developers have access to user information that can be mapped with the device identity. This can be used to customize each notification message with the name or other relevant personal details of the user. Users tend to prefer products that offer personalized communication, so this can improve user engagement. Personalization can be done programmatically to reduce the overhead for developers.
  16. Application optimization for devices. Mobile notifications and their respective applications are connected intricately. Customers engaging with a notification are directed to the app to complete the transaction. The experience with the application must be smooth so that users are more likely to engage with future notifications. An optimal application experience also becomes part of the notification strategy. The application’s performance must be optimized for all the different devices and operating systems.
  17. Categorize notifications. The notifications sent from an application aren’t all alike. For example, an eCommerce mobile application can send notifications regarding product shipments and also regarding product releases. However, every user might not be interested in all types of notifications. Categorize your notifications according to their nature and content, and allow users to select the types of notifications they wish to receive. This will increase user engagement with the notifications by avoiding notification fatigue.
  18. Schedule notifications. Marketers and developers don’t have to be glued to the screen to send notifications at the right time. Software solutions used to send push notifications have features that support notification schedules. Scheduling notifications in advance allows your marketing and developing teams more breathing room to operate.
  19. Inform app updates with notifications. Developers update applications quite often, but users don’t always install those updates. These updates often include security updates and patches that ensure the users’ safety. You can use mobile push notifications to make users aware that an update is available. This makes the user more likely to install and use the latest version of the application.
  20. Use notifications to engage users. Your app is more likely to remain top-of-mind when users engage with it regularly. Data and analytics can be used to track individual users’ usage. Use this information to identify users that have not engaged with your app in a while,and use targeted mobile notifications to improve user engagement.
  21. Send notifications based on location. Location data is among the most valuable data available to developers. This information can be used to improve engagement and sales. Mobile notifications can be programmed to send relevant messages based on the user’s location, such as instant discounts on an immediate purchase or updates on local events. Timely and actionable notifications can be sent based on location data.
  22. Use notifications for transactional messages. Transactional messages are used to inform users of transactions, such as resetting a password or making a purchase. Sending emails on top of notifications is redundant and wasteful and can contribute to notification fatigue. A notification inbox can be used as a repository for all transactional messages, and notifications can be used to deliver the messages instead of emails.
  23. Use notifications for reminders. Users occasionally need to take timely actions with an application, such as completing a task or taking part in a limited-time sale. Notifications can be used to remind users about events to increase engagement related to those events.
  24. Upsell with notifications. Upselling involves convincing users to make an additional purchase on top of the purchase they already made (or are planning to make). You can leverage user data to identify your most profitable customer segments and send targeted mobile notifications to upsell them to premium products or entice them to make additional purchases.
  25. Leverage A/B testing to improve the effectiveness of notifications. Choosing the right notification strategy involves a lot of trial and error. A/B testing can be used to send different sets of notification messages to different sets of users and measure the efficacy of each message. This process will give you insight into how to craft notifications that deliver expected business outcomes.
  26. Create (and measure) KPIs. Mobile notifications should have key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be tracked quantitatively. The KPIs selected should align with the business objectives of your application and notification strategy. Track the notification KPIs through the lifecycle of your applications. This helps you understand the success or failure of your notification strategy in a tangible, quantitative manner.
  27. Improve notification CTR. Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio between the number of users that clicked notifications to the number of users that saw the notification. CTR is a good measure of user engagement with the notifications. Improving notification messages, visibility, branding elements, and calls-to-action can help to increase notification CTR.
  28. Use mobile push notifications for events that need immediate attention. Information about time-sensitive events has to be sent to users immediately. Mobile push notifications can be delivered anywhere, with many users carrying their mobile devices with them almost everywhere they go. This makes mobile push notifications the most effective means to deliver information that requires users’ immediate attention and action.
  29. Use notifications for viral campaigns. A critical element of a campaign achieving virality is the speed at which the information is shared. It needs to have strong momentum to become viral. To increase this momentum, the next person in the chain has to receive the information as fast as possible. Delivering messages with push notifications happen instantly and can be instrumental in creating and propagating viral campaigns.
  30. Make mobile the primary notification device. Smartphones were the first devices to have push notification capabilities. This was later extended to desktops and web applications. But users have a more intimate relationship with their mobile devices than with any other device. Create a notification strategy that focuses on improving user engagement with notifications.
  31. Cross-sell products. Cross-selling is the process of selling other products to existing customers. The products that are generally sold in such a manner are complementary in nature. Mobile notifications can be used to provide more information on other products users may be interested in. Appropriate and timely discounts can be delivered via notifications to increase sales through cross-selling.
  32. Grant notification control to users. When notifications are adequately categorized, users can choose the categories of notifications they want to receive. A notification inbox incorporated with your application can serve as the hub to manage all mobile notification-related activities. When users select the type of notifications they want, they are much more likely to engage with them.
  33. Use offers to engage users. Incentives can help to drive human behavior, and application engagement can also be influenced by the right incentives. Most consumers react positively to offers, so use them to your advantage and push offers to your users through mobile notifications. Offers and discounts can be used as powerful tools to drive user engagement.
  34. Create personalized offers with analytics. The next step of advancement is to send personalized offers to users. Your application data and analytics can be used to identify the best offers for different consumer segments. Mobile notifications can be used to send targeted messages with personalized offers to increase engagement.
  35. Use notifications for product introductions. When launching a new product, businesses want to do everything they can to increase the chances of success. Mobile push notifications can be used to inform customers of new product launches. They can also be used to deliver personalized offers for new products.
  36. Send stock updates with notifications. eCommerce stores can rely on mobile notifications to deliver stock updates to consumers. Developers can incorporate the ability to send notifications when a particular product is back in stock. Users can subscribe to these alerts and complete their purchase when the item is back in stock.
  37. Add a notification inbox to your application. A notification inbox for your application can be used as a central hub for all the messages you have sent to your users. If a user wants to access a notification that was sent previously, there is no way to do so in the normal application architecture. With a notification inbox, users can access these notifications and control the type of messages they want to receive. MagicBell is a notification inbox that developers can incorporate with their applications in mere minutes.
  38. Leverage analytics to retain users. Retaining existing users is much more cost-effective than acquiring new users. Retaining users for a long time will also increase customer lifetime value. Push notifications can be used to regularly engage users and deliver personalized offers. Users who engage with your application regularly are less likely to stop using it, or worse, uninstall it from their device.
  39. Share brand-related news with notifications. Fostering brand loyalty with users can boost user retention. It also opens avenues for upselling and cross-selling. One of the best ways to engage users with your brand is to deliver brand news and updates. Mobile push notifications are the easiest and most effective methods to send brand-specific information to users and increase engagement.
  40. Send limited-time offers to increase sales. Creating urgency is a proven tactic for increasing sales. Limited-time offers are a common way to create a sense of urgency. Mobile notifications can be used to send these offers in a timely manner to increase their effectiveness.
  41. Track user engagement with notifications. Historical behavioral data is incredibly valuable if you know how to use it. Data concerning user engagement with notifications can be used to identify the factors that resulted in higher user engagement. The learnings gained from analyzing older notifications can be used to design better, more engaging notifications in the future.
  42. Use notifications to replace emails. Emails are one of the most common means of digital communication, but application developers cannot avoid the use of mobile notifications. Carrying the cost of both push notifications and emails isn’t always feasible. All the information sent with emails can also be sent via notifications. Implementing a notification inbox provides easy access to these messages and can functionally replace emails.
  43. Measure notification performance. Mobile push notifications are used to achieve business objectives. It’s important to track, measure, and analyze notification performance to understand the efficacy of your push notification campaign. Use the lessons learned to improve future campaigns towards different business objectives.
  44. Send notifications to the device in use. A user may use the same application with the same account across different devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and iPads. Receiving the same notification across multiple devices simultaneously is redundant and annoying. Deliver mobile notifications to the device that is currently in use to avoid notification fatigue and increase the likelihood that users see your notifications promptly. Use user data to determine the most appropriate devices to deliver notifications to.
  45. Adhere to compliance standards. Various governments and regulatory agencies have set compliance standards that developers must follow. These include data protection and privacy laws designed to improve consumer safety and privacy in the digital world. Mobile push notifications must comply with all applicable regulations.
  46. Synchronize mobile notifications with other notifications. The same application can be used by users on different mobile devices, desktops, and browsers. Synchronize between the devices to identify the right device to push the notification to ensure user engagement. The same message can be seen in the application’s notification inbox if it has an inbox feature like the one offered by MagicBell.
  47. Increase mobile engagement. Mobile platforms have the most engaged users. Mobile notifications can be used to shift consumers’ usage patterns. Mobile-specific offers and notifications exclusive to mobile devices can be used to engage more customers with their mobile devices and your applications.  
  48. Create custom messages for festivities. Holidays and special occasions have a significant impact on our lives. Leverage these occasions to market your brand by sending mobile push notifications for higher engagement. These messages can also be customized and can be used to send messages to users on personal occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
  49. Increase notification opt-in rates. Ensure that your application and services deliver value to users before sending push notifications. Once users are convinced of your application’s value, they are much more likely to grant notification permissions. This strategy of delivering value before asking for consent to send push notifications increases your opt-in rate.
  50. Use mobile notifications as part of a broad application strategy. Mobile applications play an important role in delivering business value. A variety of strategies are used to acquire and retain customers, and mobile notifications are one effective tool that can be an integral part of your broader business strategy. Mobile notifications can be used to send targeted notifications directly to individual users. They’re delivered instantly and also can be algorithmically programmed. These characteristics make mobile push notifications a potent tool for reaching the right customers at the right time.
    There are many ways to use mobile push notifications, but following the best practices for creating effective mobile push notifications is key. With MagicBell’s notification inbox, you can ensure that your users never miss an important push notification by notifying your users where they are and according to their preferences – while avoiding notifying users more than once. MagicBell enables developers to create an all-in-one notification inbox in under an hour that’s perfectly in sync with your product’s aesthetic.