Diary of a growth team 1: On push notifications

“Push it, real good”

Read this to learn how you can improve your retention rates by over 50% by employing push notifications.

Intro (and brief self-promotion)

TuneMoji is GIFs with sound. It is available as an Android and iOS app, as well as inside your usual messaging platform (WhatsApp, Messenger, Kik, Telegram, etc). If you want to see how it works, this funny one minute long video does such a great job at explaining it that it won a Silver Lion at Cannes Lions awards 2017! (#proud).

Not asking your users to login? You can still engage with them

Earlier this year we compared our apps against a few online benchmarks, which allowed us to understand we had room to improve on our retention. We decided to start by getting in touch with our users who disengaged, essentially hoping to find out why by speaking to them. In case you are wondering why we hadn’t done it so far: in order to keep friction at a minimum we never built a sign-in process. We simply didn’t know how to get in touch with them.

After some brain squeezing, we realised that most of the Android users had push notifications enabled, and that a good chunk of the Android disengaged users still had the app installed. That was enough to convince us to try our luck, by sending them a survey via push notification.

Firstly we created a survey with Survey Monkey, with the key questions we wanted to ask them, like for example “How much do you like the app, from 1 to 10?”, and “If you could change a thing, what would you do?”.

Then we sent a push notification to all of our Android users who still had the app installed, but didn’t use it in the last 7 days a few thousand of users), essentially asking their help to make the product better and including a link to the survey.

We didn’t have huge expectations in terms of turnaround, so we were positively surprised when we got about 20 replies, including some very useful insights. It turned out that more than 90% of our users who disengaged still loved the app, but simply forget they had it. One user went as far as to write in the suggestion box to remind him more often about TuneMoji: in our eyes that looked like a license to spam!

So yeah, we tried push notifications…

Once we established that disengaged users found value in the app, but needed a gentle nudge, the next logical step was to find out what to tell them in a way that provided value. Luckily, analytics tools today provide everything required to run plenty of experiments real fast. In our case we used Localytics (https://www.localytics.com), but MixPanel and other similar tools will do the job just fine.

We started by drafting a simple message (“Hey, remember to check out the latest TuneMojis!”) and sending it to a small set of 50 users or so, then we checked how many opened the notification and how many then converted to opening the app. The first results were encouraging: the conversion rates were decent (3–6%) and almost no one uninstalled the app as a consequence of receiving the notification, so all the users we converted were effectively bonus users returned from the dead!

We decided to start A/B (sometimes A/B/C/D) testing different versions of the copy, to see what would yield better results. We experimented with quizzes, artist of the day, and much more. The kind of notifications that got us the best results employed catchy text and were actually useful, helping our users finding our best content. For example we would take the clip that got the most plays / sends / likes, and send it to everyone who didn’t see it yet, with a text like “You haven’t seen the most popular TuneMoji of the week, click here to watch it now”, or even the more clickbaity ones such as “Try not to laugh!”.

To make the notifications more useful and engaging, we experimented with rich media notifications, that contained a thumbnail of the clip, and are deep linked inside the app directly to play the selected clip. Then we rolled them out to our whole user base.

Overall it took less than a week to get to results nothing short of amazing. Today, push notifications are a crucial part of our retention strategy. They single-handedly increased retention by over 50%, with a minimal extra cost and extremely few uninstalls. #MovingTheNeedle.

Note: this story focuses on Android, where opt-in rates are very close to 100%. To see how we tackled iOS, read the next chapter here.

The journey continues, because growth is never done…