5 Things That Will Ruin Your Push Notification Strategy

By: Kahuna | September 4, 2014 | Campaign Strategy, Trends in Mobile
Push Notification blockers

Successful mobile-focused companies use push notifications to engage their mobile customers, but not all push notifications are created equally. Watch out for these pitfalls because these can ruin you push notification strategy, or check out the Kahuna best practices on delighting users through push.


Messaging the Device, Not the Person

Over 40% of consumers own a tablet and a smartphone, and brands need to be conscious of this when sending notifications (Pew Research). The best way to spam your users is to bombard them with duplicate messages – a hazard that is especially tricky to avoid when the modern customer owns more than one device. Worse yet, device-based messaging results in mis-personalized push notifications.

Imagine one of your top app users: Jane – a woman who frequently browses and purchases through the app on her smartphone. One day, she installs the app on her tablet. If your push system doesn’t know that both devices belong to Jane, this top shopper could well receive a spammy “welcome” notification to her tablet. This is the kind of message that alienates customers and results in app uninstalls.

Instead, make sure your push system understands the people behind the devices. This level of intelligence means that customers with two or more devices will never receive duplicate or mis-personalized notifications.

Blast Notifications – The Junk Mail of the Mobile World

These poor quality communications damage the user experience, and give mobile messaging a bad name. The majority of messages sent via mobile are generic due to marketers’ fears of mis-personalization. As a result, messages are sent based on popular topics or alerts but without any true relation to each user’s preferred content. The result? Low engagement rates and even lower conversion rates.

The lesson here is not to guess what a user wants to hear. The technology now exists to get feedback from users, learn from it and immediately adjust to make the most out of every contact with users. Some great examples of personalized push notifications are below.

trip advisor push uber push


Mis-timed Message Delivery

Just because you can access mobile users immediately and at all times, doesn’t mean you should. There’s no golden time zone. 8 AM standard is Dave’s yoga class, 9 AM is Leah’s standing office meeting and 7 PM could be when Raheem is putting his son to bed. Mobile marketing is risky when done wrong – a push notification sent at a bad time is one of the best ways to ruin the user experience and potentially lose a user forever.

Great notifications must arrive at the right time for each user. If your marketing goal is engagement or revenue, you need your customers to actually want to receive your message. Ensure that each message arrives at the best time for each person – not at the time when you press or schedule “send.”

User Segments that Don’t Make Sense

Successful mobile-focused companies engage with their users at every stage of the mobile lifecycle. A crucial step is tailoring your communication to each user’s current engagement state with your brand. Even the most sophisticated user segments must take into consideration a user’s engagement state.

For example, a customer new to your brand should not receive the same messages as a customer who is already engaged. And a one-time user should receive very different messaging from a once-active, now dormant user. Read more about the 8 push notification campaigns your app should be running, right now.
Misunderstanding the Omni-Channel Customer

Digital brand engagement isn’t just about mobile apps. For most companies, relationships with customers are created across web, mobile web, apps, and social networks, and your push notification campaigns should be informed customer behavior across all digital platforms.

For example, Jane, your top shopper, is browsing for a new dress via your mobile app. Later that day, she goes to your website and completes her purchase. Don’t send her an outdated push notification asking her to complete her purchase. Without understanding Jane’s engagement across all digital platforms, you run the risk of sending her an irrelevant message.

Rather, make sure you track user behavior and characteristics across your native app, desktop site and mobile site. Delightful digital experiences happen across platforms, and brands and apps need a thorough understanding of their customers to ensure their push notifications add to this delight.

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