Push Notifications: Do’s and Don’ts of Best Mobile App Communication Tools

Push notifications play an imperative role in the mobile app business as they help engage users, prevent churn, and even win lost customers back. Yet, it is very important to use these tools in the right way because up to 31% of smartphone users stop using an application once the volume of notifications reaches 6-10 per week. 

Thus, in order not to annoy or overwhelm your users, it’s imperative to know the do’s and don’ts of push notifications and create an effective strategy for leveraging them. This is precisely what we’re going to talk about in today’s post. Let’s dive in.

Types of Push Notifications

Before we move on to some of our main tips on using push notifications for your app, it’s worth distinguishing between the different types of notifications that are out there.

Transactional Notifications: messages that are sent to users to notify them of the status of a transaction. These may appear when they place an order, complete an online payment through your app, or subscribe after interacting with a conversion-boosting paywall. Typically, these alerts let users know whether everything is on track and keep them updated so they don’t worry. 

Informative Notifications: notifications that inform users about new releases, product changes, and other potentially relevant updates. Overall, they can be used to ensure your customers know that you’re constantly working on your solution and making it better for them. These notifications also used to notify users on errors.

Geo Notifications: alerts that pop up whenever a user enters or leaves a specific location. These notifications are often used in dating apps, as well as to find nearby stores, restaurants or hotels. 

Promotional Notifications: messages that deliver information about exclusive offers, sales, or giveaways to your users. These alerts are created to urge users to complete a desired action like a purchase.

Personalized Notifications: those that are generated based on the unique interests and behaviors of each specific user. For example, notifications may be based on their browsing history, favored products, past purchases, and the like. Overall, this type of a push notification is key for customer retention and churn prevention as they make users feel valued.

Triggered Notifications: alerts that can be activated at the most impactful moments of a user’s customer journey. These messages are based on personalization and are triggered whenever a user completed a specific action or, on the contrary, has stopped an activity prior to completing it.

Feedback Notifications: messages that aim to collect customer feedback through surveys or App Store ratings. With these notifications, it’s best to be infrequent as they can get highly irritating for users and cause them to uninstall your application.

Push Notifications Do’s

Now that we are on the same page about what push notifications actually are and the different types you may want to leverage, it’s time to talk about the best practices to follow.

Be Clear in Your Messaging

Your messaging should always be clear in any communication efforts, but especially in push notifications. You should always make sure your alert is coherent and that users aren’t misled after clicking it. So, don’t send out a notification advertising a 20% discount only to redirect users to a page with a 10% off offer.

Send Timely Reminders or Urgent News

Timing is imperative for users to be satisfied and not opt-out of your communication efforts. Hence, you should set up a push notifications strategy that alerts mobile app users of updates or changes that they find valuable and are sent at the right time.

For example, if you have a travel app, you should notify your customers of delays, changes, or other time-sensitive occurrences that will help them during a trip. Overall, it’s all about keeping their needs top-of-mind and sending notifications when they might be most needed.

Showcase Personalized Content

Personalization is a must in a modern world filled with extensive analytics and consumer behavior insights. Customers expect it, and when their expectations aren’t met, problems ensue. 

In fact, a 2019 survey revealed that 90% of U.S. consumers find company messages that aren’t personally relevant annoying. So, personalized communication is imperative for a successful mobile app business.

A great way to incorporate your personalization efforts into push notifications is by using them to showcase content and updates that are most relevant to each user based on their app behavior data.

For instance, send a notification when new content is published that you believe will be interesting to them. This does not mean that you message users with every new piece of content you create; rather, only those you believe they’ll actually be interested in reading (or listening).

Send Scheduled Alerts Based on Churn Data

Churn is an inevitable factor of any business and a mobile app metric that is imperative to track. Hence, preventing churn is one of the most important priorities for any app marketer or developer.

Luckily, push notifications can help out here. Specifically, by re-engaging customers whenever it seems like they’re falling out of touch with your app. For instance, with the Qonversion analytics, you can see after which month customers typically cancel their subscriptions. Based on this data, you can create push notifications that start going out a few months prior to the drop-off period and try to interest the less active subscribers with relevant offers.

Learn more about Qonversion cohorts here

From the example above, we can see that the largest dropoff occurs during the first months. Hence, it’s a good idea to remind users of the subscription’s value and encourage some engagement in this period. To learn more on churn prevention strategies, watch our webinar

Generally, just remember that customers who have become less active won’t necessarily leave you, especially if you take preventative action and re-engage them with your mobile app.

Provide Retention-Boosting Offers

As we’ve mentioned above, push notifications based on churn data are a must. However, in order for your strategy to be fruitful, you must also provide retention-boosting offers that have actually been proven to retain subscribers or even upgrade their subscriptions.

If it seems like the user might churn or is trying to unsubscribe, provide an offer that is likely to retain them. This can be based on their behavioral data or on your expertise in which offers tend to keep customers from churning. For instance, if 20% discounts have largely worked for you in the past — keep using them to your advantage.

Similarly, consider appealing to a user’s fear of missing out and send out limited time offers or unique proposals that generate a sense of urgency and are likely to get a user to stay.

Leverage Triggered Notifications Based on Subscription Events 

We’ve briefly touched on triggered notifications earlier, but it’s worth emphasizing the value of these messages once more. As you recall, triggered notifications are set off whenever there is an in-app event and users complete a certain action, like cancel a trial or upgrade their subscription.

So, it’s a great practice to automate your push notifications and ensure reminders are sent whenever important events occur. For instance, if the payment method on hand didn’t go through and the trial entered a billing retry state, you should send a notification to the user prompting them to update their card details. This practice helps reduce involuntary churn. 

On the other hand, you can also send relevant notifications whenever a new user subscribes and starts a trial with your app. Thus, helping them throughout the onboarding process and increasing the chances of a trial-to-paying-subscriber conversion.

Notify About Incomplete Purchases

If your mobile app has shopping capabilities, make sure you notify users of any incomplete purchases, abandoned carts, and the like. This will not only help with your personalization efforts, but also serve to improve revenue-generation since truly interested customers will be more likely to complete a payment they’ve forgotten about.

Push Notifications Don’ts:

You now know some of the best practices associated with push notifications, but in addition to knowing the things to do, it’s also important to remember what you should avoid. After all, too much of anything can cause frustration. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common push notification mishaps and ensure you don’t make similar mistakes.

Advertise Separate Products or Services

A definite push notification no-no is advertising separate products and services through your messages. First of all, it can become very intrusive and create unnecessary frustration among users because they will quickly understand that you’re trying to sell them something unrelated to their needs.

Moreover, sending ads and redirecting users to other products and services will reflect negatively on your bottom line as they’ll be leaving your application and, sometimes, not even coming back.

Send Pointless Messages

Notifications with “Happy Birthday” messages, “Good Morning” alerts, and other unimportant memos are definitely something you should avoid. While they may be timely, the lack of value can quickly irritate users and cause them to opt-out of push notifications entirely. Thus, limiting your communication opportunities.

Ask for Reviews

We understand — App Store and Google Play reviews are important for the long-term success of your mobile app. However, asking for them is tricky business. Doing it once or twice might be okay since users understand why you want to acquire good ratings. Yet, be very careful with these types of notifications as they can get highly interruptive and cause frustration.

Compose Lengthy Offers

According to the Business of Apps, the ideal push notification length varies across industries. For health, fitness, travel, and hospitality, 90 characters are okay. However, for apps that offer deals, coupons, education and training,20-25 characters is optimal.

Hence, concise messaging is of utmost importance when creating your push notifications. Users won’t read lengthy offers and you will have just wasted an invaluable engagement opportunity. So, create short, to the point texts that quickly convey the key message you’re trying to get across.

Improving Your Mobile App Push Notifications Strategy

As you can see, there’s a certain artform to developing a successful push notifications strategy. It’s a delicate balance between engaging your users and not being too intrusive or overwhelming with your communication efforts. However, when done properly, push notifications can deliver great results and should thus not be overlooked by mobile app owners. Use Qonversion tool to automate your customer communication, set up triggers for in-app purchases events, and build logic around your notifications.

Whether you’re looking to automate push notifications, get in-depth insights about your customers, A/B test your subscription pricing, or set up a cross-platform infrastructure  — we’re here to help. So, don’t hesitate to reach out and we’ll happily discuss how Qonversion can contribute to making your mobile app prosper.

If you’re struggling with the notification creation processes, here is an article you might find useful: Create custom push notifications on Android 12.

Read this guide if you’d like to use notifications to handle errors.