Push Notifications — Your 9 Ways to User Engagement

Time and time again we have to remind ourselves — with attracting users to your mobile app your job is far from being done. Your major efforts must be invested in user retention. After all, engaging an existing user is 5 times easier (read — cheaper) than acquiring one.

User engagement and re-engagement have multiple ways and tools. One of the most well-known is push notifications.

Push notifications have gained immense popularity, and for a good reason too. When used correctly, they can show incredible effectiveness and help your marketing team engage new and re-engage your existing users.

But you have to be extremely careful. Running your push notifications thoughtlessly is like carrying a live grenade — it can blow off any second and ruin everything you’ve been carefully building for so long.

According to Localytics, 37% users will disable push notifications if they receive between to and 5 messages from a single app weekly.

Image source — localytics.com

31% would uninstall an app that would send 6 to 10 notifications weekly.

Image source — localytics.com

What does that mean? It means that you have to treat your push notifications marketing with extreme care. Remember, the things that will determine the success of your push notifications are:

· Quality of the content

· Frequency of notifications

· Optimal timing of the messages

Here are the ‘golden’ rules you should consider when planning your push campaigns:

1. Push notifications, not SPAM

Are you planning to use your push notifications for stuff like “don’t forget to check in today” or “Get back, you’ve been gone for too long”? Forget about it! You can convey that same message but in a million creative ways. Just don’t turn your push notifications into SPAM. You’re already fighting for attention with other apps on your user’s smartphone. Don’t let the others win the fight just because your message was cr*ppy.

2. Let’em feel your touch

Make your push notifications as personal as possible. Use all the data you have to set up the right geo-targeting, choose the best time to send the notifications, etc. Remember user segmentation? Use it! Analyze your users and their behavior and interests and go for it!

3. Quality always counts

Make your message valuable. Don’t send out stuff massively just because you can. The content of what you’re sending out must matter — like time-sensitive events or value propositions. Make your users appreciate what you’ve got to say. Why? Because it’s the only way to engage them with your app.

Image source — localytics.com

4. Mix, but not shake

Don’t miss the chance to use the mix of push notifications + in-app messages to convey your message. Your main rule here — use either option that would fit best for the type of message you’re sending. But don’t use both for one and the same content. Your users are smart guys — they’ll get it the first time they see the message.

5. Be moderate

Seriously. Don’t push too often. Remember the stats? Well, what else can you add here?

But note — no one will give you the exact number that will work for you. It’s your job to collect data, analyze it and determine the perfect threshold for your app.

6. Don’t forget about the “WHEN” part!

If you were a user and got your push notification in the middle of a business meeting — you’d be irritated at the very list, wouldn’t you? On the other hand, if you’re commuting or stuck in a traffic jam — an interesting message could actually trigger your attention. Again — think who your users are, what they do and when would be the perfect time to pitch them.

7. Be precise

Your message, call-to-action and the links behind both should be clear and transparent. Your user shouldn’t guess what you’re trying to convey. They must understand your message and have an easy way to do what you expect them to do.

Image source — accengage.com

8. Let your users take the lead

Let them decide which information they want to opt in for. And respect their choice. If your users opted in only for special offers, don’t push them with events announcements or brand news.

10. Analyze, analyze again and then once more

In order to get your own golden formula, you’ll have to put in some efforts, too? Because it’s you who knows your app, your users and what they’re interested in. Analyze your user base, do user segmentation, split-test your notifications and do post-analysis. It’s the only way you can make push notifications really work.


Push notifications are an immensely powerful engagement tool when used correctly, and a destructive machine when used senselessly. Do your homework and draw out the pattern that will work for your app best. And don’t forget to keep your messages personal, valuable and timely. Now, go for it!