4 Rules to Rich Push Notification Success: A Primer for Mobile Marketers

By: Kahuna | February 10, 2017 | Mobile Marketing, Push Notifications

As a mobile marketer, you’re familiar with push notifications. But what surprises me is that not all of you are enhancing your mobile campaigns with rich push notifications, which allow media assets to be delivered along with the text. Not sending rich push notifications is like sending an email without images or graphics. You just wouldn’t do it. So why treat your mobile channels any differently?

A little background: Android has supported rich push since 2013, but it wasn’t until Apple’s launch of iOS 10 in September 2016 that you could send rich push notifications to all of your users. Apple also expanded the palette of what could be included in a rich push notification to include animation, audio, and video content.

What have we learned about rich push as a marketing and communication channel in the subsequent months? Let’s take a closer look.

Why every mobile marketer must use rich push notifications

Most U.S. mobile users opt in to receive push notifications from selected apps. That’s because traditional push notifications deliver timely and relevant information that users eagerly want to consume. As a result, push notifications are the most proven and effective channel for increasing customer engagement. And by going a step further to attach compelling media, your push notifications are more likely to stand out against a backdrop of (surprisingly) predominantly text-only push notifications.

5 rich push campaign ideas to try

Keep in mind that rich push is a great vehicle for reinforcing your brand’s identity while you deliver information. Whether your creative asset is product imagery, brand collateral, or just a whimsical cat photo—whatever you choose to attach to your push notification (and even the amount of media you choose to include) influences your user’s perception of your brand. Case in point: choose wisely.

The uncluttered nature of rich push requires you to focus your message. Most users will read, decide, and act in a moment, so your rich push notification must be easily digestible in that sense. Think of your customer, their wants and their needs, and the action that you want them to take. If the media adds value to your customers, or helps you to achieve your goals, then add it. Otherwise, take a step back and reexamine the purpose of your campaign in the first place.

Here are 5 rich push campaigns to get you thinking:

  • Abandoned shopping cart? Include an image of the item.
  • Did it snow at your ski resort? Add a still from the snowcam.
  • New arrivals from their favorite designer? Attach an animated gif of lookbook photos.
  • Helping a traveler to find their boutique hotel? Add a street view of entrance.
  • Movie now available for streaming? Send a brief trailer.

My last piece of advice is to stay away from media that screams “advertisement.” Your customers may love your brand, but attaching a stand-alone logo to your push notifications won’t add value to your customer relationship or move people along towards your goal.

How often should you send rich push notifications?

You are building relationships with your customers. Rich push notifications can seem more, well, pushy than their text-only predecessors. So be respectful of your users. Rich push should give users a reason to engage with your brand—how often depends on your customers’ affinity for your brand and offering. Not every message warrants attached media. Ramp up slowly and keep a close eye on signs of saturation, like flat or reduced engagement or increases in unsubscribes. If customer engagement flattens, or you start to see a rise in unsubscribes, then you want to quickly decrease the frequency with which you send rich push notifications.

Thankfully, even rich push notifications are relatively simple to create, so test several variations.  For each of your campaigns, be sure to test your rich push message against text-only push to monitor how your customers feel about the added media and to determine the rate of media attachment that performs best for your customers and your brand. What you find may surprise you.

Rich push is a complement, not a replacement to email

Email marketers may be thinking about if and when they should substitute rich push for email. But that’s probably the wrong way to think about the opportunity, because rich push isn’t a replacement. Email performs well with many consumers, while other consumers convert better with rich push. If you want your message where each user will respond best, then rich push will be most effective as part of a cross-channel communications plan that includes email. And by using signals from all channels of a customer’s engagement, all of your messages can be more targeted, leading to better business outcomes.

The 4 rules to rich push success

If rich push is new for your brand, or your early attempts missed your expectations, then keep these 4 rules in mind for your next campaign:

  1. Attach media that adds value to your customers, and builds your relationship.
  2. Optimize several variants with and without media to maximize conversion.
  3. Monitor for signs of saturation and adjust the frequency of rich push accordingly.
  4. Use rich push in combination with email to reach all of your users in the channel that performs best for them.