How to Target Your Mobile Customers with Push Notifications

Every day that goes by seems to push marketing more and more toward the mobile side of the spectrum. As mobile search requests and email, viewing continues to increase (while traditional desktop utilization decreases), the importance to take full advantage of mobile marketing increases right along with it. One of the latest advertising methods for connecting with current customers is through the aid of push notifications.

Push notifications run in conjunction with an installed mobile application. Without a mobile app, it is impossible to take advantage of push notifications. So, before any business can move forward with this method of advertising, it’s critical to begin the process of developing and rolling out a new mobile application.

Once available, current customers can download the application. With the app installed it is then possible to send push notifications. These in many ways work like a text message, sending the customer important insights and information. However, instead of going into a recipient’s text message application, it appears as a standard notification, allowing it to gain prominence over other information a customer’s phone receives.

This advertising method provides a new method for connecting with current customers who have already demonstrated an interest in the company (they have, after all, downloading the application). Now, it is important to fully harness the power of push notifications. Here are several methods for how any business can target its mobile customers by fully taking advantage of push notifications.

Segment Push Notifications

Much like an email marketing campaign, it’s often critical to segment push notifications. Different customers may respond differently to notifications. Due to this, it’s important to know what a customer is looking for, what their purchase history is and to adjust the kinds of notifications they receive. If a customer continually receives notifications regarding material they have no interest in it, they become that much more likely to block future notifications.

As Push Engage points out, push notifications coming from a media site or blog receive a 218 percent increase in its click-through rate when recipients are broken down into categories. This way, only those interested in specific topics receive the notifications. E-commerce performs in a similar way, with a 200 percent increase in the click-through rate. Deal sites also receive a sizeable improvement in the click-through rate at 133 percent. All of this points to the importance of knowing the key demographic and understanding what works best for the particular audience.


Design the Mobile Application for Android

The Apple iPhone helped bring the idea of mobile application development to the forefront. However, in terms of allowing user-generated notifications, Android has remained on top of this category. Due to the Android operating system, notifications are easily received and viewed.

According to Plot Projects (2017), 13.6 percent of all push notifications sent to Android-based devices are opened. This number drops to 4.1 percent for iOS devices.

The nearly 10 percent difference in click rate isn’t due to a major shift in demographic users of the two operating systems. Instead, the Android OS provides greater support for push notifications and it’s easier to access these updates. Additionally, Android offers visual “stick notifications” on the top of the phone, while iOS does not.


While this doesn’t mean a designer should avoid creating mobile applications and sending push notifications to Apple iOS-based devices, it does indicate the importance to create apps and send these notifications to Android apps.

Shorter the Better

Keeping push notifications short and sweet is one of the best ways to attract a mobile customer and to prompt them into following the included link. According to Localytics (2016), the idea is to ensure the push notification information appears on a single line. Often times, mobile users will pull down their notification bar to see the information highlights. Notifications shorter than one line will appear in full, while longer notifications while the user to specifically select it and bring it up.

Much like an email subject line, it is critical to fit all the information within the display text without having a portion of it cut off. As the Localytics information points out, push notifications of less than 10 words to receive an 8.8 percent click rate. Notifications between 11 and 20 words see a sizeable drop to 4.9 percent. The percentage drops down to 3.2 percent when 21 words or longer. So, whenever possible, it’s of the utmost importance to keep notifications short and to the point.


Timing is Everything

Just like posting to social media or publishing a blog, the timing of a push notification is extremely important. It needs to go out when individuals are more likely to view and read the notification. Sending one out in the middle of the night wouldn’t make much sense (unless the push notification is geofenced based and only goes out when someone approaches a place of business).

According to Marketing Land (2016), push notifications that go out between 10 AM and 1 PM receive a 15 percent click rate. The next highest click rate is the 1 PM to 5 PM time slot, which receives a 12 percent click rate. 9 PM through 1 AM is the only other time slot above 10 percent at 11 percent (the lowest performing time slot is 1 AM through 6 AM, which has a five percent click rate). By making a shift in the time push notifications go out, a business can experience three times more clicks.


Know the Industry

Different industries experience substantially difference click rates than others. Click rates often depend on the importance of a message. Updates from service providers, such as rideshare companies, offer important information as it notifies a rider where the driver is and when they might arrive. The same is true with hotel reservations or stock services, informing a customer whether they should buy or sell a stock.

According to Kahuna (2018), utility and financial service companies experience a 40 percent click-through rate. Taxi and ridesharing is the next most prominent business type at 30 percent. This drops down only slightly to around 29 percent for travel and hospitality businesses. The lowest click rate for industries are messages coming from eCommerce and retail businesses, sitting at 11 percent. While eCommerce may be on the lower end of the push notification spectrum, it’s still important to take advantage of this notification service as this is still 11 percent more customers receiving important product updates than if a company didn’t use push notifications at all.


Real Estate is Limited: Include Only What Matters

When sending a push notification there are a few different options. Some are only text-based and include little more than a line and a link. Others, especially eCommerce push notifications, contain visual aids and provide added insights when selected. Even with these larger notifications, it is critical to put in important information.

As Push Engage points out, the title of the notification is the make-or-break feature of the entire message. Unless the message is attention-grabbing, users will avoid the notification and delete it. In this way, crafting a visually backed notification is similar to that of an email. It needs to include the push title, a push description, the website icon (so viewers instantly now who the push notification is from), a contained image and the call to action. The call to action is generally a link that sends the recipient to the product page or whatever another service a company is informing the consumer of.


Know When to Use Visual Aid

While a picture might be able to say a thousand words, there are times that is about 990 words too many. Some push notifications need to be kept short, sweet, to the point, and with no visual aid. Often times, a picture doesn’t help the click rate and, potentially, can hinder the chance of the recipient actually opening the push notification, to begin with.

As Push Engage points out, there is a major difference between what notification types perform the best with visuals and what don’t. Deal sites, where a site is specifically notifying the recipient of the desired product going on sale, will see a 62 percent increase of its push notification click rate. There is a 34 percent boost in entertainment notifications, a 30 percent boost in blog click rates and 26 percent boost when coming from a job site. However, for push notifications coming from educational sites, the click rate drops by 37 percent. It has an even bigger negative impact on financial push notifications, with a 45 percent decline.


All of this information shows the importance of knowing the industry and what a target audience expects from the company, financial institution or school.

In Conclusion

There are a number of beneficial reasons why a business should take advantage of mobile application development. One of these is the ability to send push notifications to those who have downloaded and installed the app. While it’s important to not overuse the push notification features, as this runs the risk of over-saturating a user’s exposure, it does present businesses with the ability to directly increase marketing potential. By taking advantage of these different tips and tricks, it’s possible for companies, regardless of type or size, to boost sales and develop repeat customers.

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