Savvy mobile marketers know that customer engagement is key. The best brands research their target market, hone their messaging, and pore over analytics to determine which efforts are worthy — and which are futile.
When done well, push notifications can provide a strong return on investment. They’re an affordable tool to increase conversion rates, user retention, and profits.
But you can’t expect to foster engagement from a message that was never received.
To increase your brand’s success with push notifications, it’s vital to first understand how they work, why they sometimes fail to reach their recipient, and what you can do to remedy the situation.
Understanding push notifications
What are push notifications? Quite simply, they’re messages sent from a downloaded app to a user’s mobile device. By driving users directly back to your app through a clickable link, push notifications can alert users to promotions, new products, and an app’s updated features.
Push notifications, which pop up on a phone’s lock screen, are short. The character limit will vary slightly depending on the device, content, and operating system. When in doubt, opt for lean messages. Push notifications with fewer than 10 words have a higher click-through rate.
Android users can also receive mobile web push notifications.
Factors that decrease delivery
The content in your push notifications matter, but it’s a moot point if they never get delivered. Some factors may initially seem out of your control.
Users may have opted out from receiving these messages. Apple permissions on iOS devices are set so that users must choose to accept notifications upon first launch of a newly installed app. Meanwhile on Android devices, push notifications are automatically opted in upon app install.
Outdated operating systems may be an issue for some users who don’t choose to update their OS, causing push messages to fail. Some push notifications just time out due to connectivity issues. And some Android devices halt background processes in order to preserve battery life.
But marketers and developers are nothing if not creative, and new workarounds and strategies pop up regularly.
It may take some sleuthing on your part to determine the crux of your delivery issues, but once you do, these four strategies can help you increase your push notification delivery and reach.
4 Ways to increase delivery
1. Invest in push amplification
When standard push delivery fails, push amplification can save the day.
Serving as a backup to standard gateways, push amplification can track undelivered push notifications and send them back to a user’s device using an alternative gateway.
For many Chinese OEM devices, push amplification can increase delivery rates by up to 50%. This, in turn, translates to a better click-through, conversion, and retention rate.
2. Switch to omni-device engagement
The pandemic solidified our dependence on gadgets. Between smartphones, streaming devices, laptops, and gaming consoles, the average household in the United States now boasts 25 connected devices.
Sending push notifications to all active devices on which your app is installed increases the chances of reaching the user by 10%. Beyond just ensuring delivery, omni-device notifications can increase engagement. This is especially true with time-sensitive campaigns.
By opting for a platform that allows you to choose all active devices rather than only the last device that was used to access the app, marketers can exponentially increase the chances of their message being received—and read.
3. Use a stand-alone push service
When Chinese OEM devices restrict background apps to save battery life, it might be beneficial to the user, but it’s bad news for mobile marketers.
This well-intentioned software feature can put a crimp in your reach, but it’s not impossible to overcome. Third-party push services powered by Xiaomi and Huawei send messages from the cloud to a device, significantly decreasing your undeliverable messages.
It’s hard to argue against an option that increases delivery rates to users you otherwise can’t reach.
4. Customize each opt-in time
While opt-outs can often be due to poor messaging, the blame for a lack of opt-ins may lie squarely on timing.
It’s tempting to try to secure permissions on each user’s flagship visit to your app. But the problems this approach takes are twofold.
Firstly, they’re already being asked to give access to a long list of privacy-invading features. The app wants permission to use the device’s microphone, its camera, and the user’s contact list, among others. Declining an invitation to opt in for push notifications in a flurry of other requests could easily fall under the category of “permissions fatigue.”
Secondly, you haven’t earned the user’s trust. Focus on converting first-time visitors to app users. Ease them in with a custom in-app message and consider delaying opt-in permissions until they’ve hit a particular milestone.
Once you scrutinize your analytics to know when each user is engaging with your app, make your move to ask for push notification permission.