This article relates to our Attribution Analytics product, which was acquired by Branch in September 2018 and is being integrated into Branch Universal Ads. To learn more about Branch Universal Ads, please visit branch.io/universal-ads/.
Acquiring users takes time and money, and we know you work hard for them. Push notifications are the followup to user acquisition, to make sure your marketing dollars stretch as far as possible.
Think about the app lifecycle. If 5 million people see an ad for your app, 100,000 click on the ad for it, 5,000 download it from the app store, and 4,000 open it, how many of those users will be high-value? Dropping from 5 million to 4,000 may seem drastic, but what if that number of high-value users who engage in your app is only a handful? Push notifications are vital to keeping the proportion of users who download the app to those who engage with it as high as possible, giving you return on your ad investment. Here are the top push notification best practices.
Rule 1: Set Limits for Your Messaging
An effective push strategy has both transaction and engagement-based messages running full-steam. But too much of a good thing can be bad — plan to make sure you don’t over-message users.
For instance, if you have a dashboard of 20 campaigns planned out, think about whether sending more messages is going to annoy the user. If that’s a possible outcome, in your platform, set a designated maximum number of messages a user can receive in a given day, week, and month. That way, if they receive more transactional notifications than you expect, they won’t be bombarded with the engagement-based ones marketers have sent out.
Having these parameters is like guardrails to make sure your push notification plan doesn’t crash and burn by over-engaging and irritating users. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all number for how many messages is “too many,” and the two biggest things to keep in mind are:
Rule 2: Be Realistic With How Often You Message
A healthcare or insurance app does not need to message users every day because people aren’t in those apps every day. But a shopping or travel app with many deals and offers and many daily active users could send more push notifications. Sending less frequent but more quality and targeted messages is a strong and smart game plan.
Rule 3: Be Creative With Your Push Notifications
Find the optimal time to send to users. We don’t mean between 5-8 p.m. when everyone is home after work (everyone knows that one). Think in the bigger context of your average user’s life. For example, if you run push for a sports ticketing app and want to sell tickets to the next Seahawks game, the optimal time to message users about it isn’t when they are in their app after work one random day. Segment users who have shown their interest in the Seahawks by their previous behavior in the app, such as looking at those tickets. Send those users a message about the game about a week before. Serve the message during the day to get the wheels turning and thinking about the game, and message the user again during happy hour about how few tickets are left to create urgency to purchase.
Note that there are exceptions to setting limits. Sometimes, you may have campaigns that you do not want to limit. If you have priority messages you want to go out, it’s important to have a system that can accommodate a variety of rules and configurations and is as flexible as your campaigns.
There are 10 more best practices that are easy to follow. Download the free push notification e-book to get them all today.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.