What is the future of Push?

By: Kahuna | July 7, 2014 | Mobile Marketing
Marketing Automation

This is a fascinating question, and the topic of many late night brainstorms at Kahuna.

History repeats itself, and we can expect Push and the Notification Center to progress in a similar fashion to email. Right now, Push feels like email in ’99, where the loudest emailer fills in the Inbox and gets the most attention. Similarly, some companies are just now seeing how powerful Push is, and are excited by the prospect of filling up a user’s Notification Center. They have yet to discover the power of sending highly targeted Pushes, rather than spamming their users and hoping something sticks.

Email response rates in ’99 were off the chart (10%+), simply because email was novel.  According to MailChimp, these response rates are now down to 2-3%.  Because of this, there is a short-term opportunity to get more revenue and engagement simply by sending Pushes – hence the haphazard ‘when in doubt, send it out’ strategy many companies are employing.

Following in the footsteps of email, the high response rates from generic push messages will be short lived, and the spammers are going to fall by the wayside.  Push is more intrusive than email, and it takes only two or three bad pushes for users to uninstall an app (uninstall is the user’s go-to response, since it is easier than figuring out how to turn off push notifications).

Kahuna is excited for Push to evolve and pick up the core features of email: whitelists, blacklists, priority inbox, filters, folders and spam reporting.  This will enable companies that send perfect Push to rise to the top and be seen, while the spammers will fade away.  If you’re interested in leveraging Push without spamming your users, our Stop Spamming Your Users blog post will help.

It makes my day when our customers’ users write a positive app review because they got a personalized, relevant push notification.  Push has the potential to be a personalized conversation with your mobile customer, and can drive amazing engagement.

Email has devolved to the ‘meat and potatoes’ of Marketing – everyone does it, and expects a meager 2-5% response rate.  There is still a ton of Email Marketing innovation to be done, but customers have been burned by email spam and are now trained to quickly filter and ignore emails.  Meanwhile, the average engagement rate of a Kahuna Push is 21%, and trending up.

The market will mature, and it will be exciting to see how Apple and Google will continue to accelerate the evolution.  One idea Kahuna pioneered and is lobbying for is that Push engagement rates should affect App Store Rankings.  We think this would improve push notifications, and improve quality app discovery.

There are a bunch more Push innovations brewing in the Kahuna labs – stay tuned.