The statistics prove it: with push notifications, time and frequency definitely matter.
According to Localytics, users who enabled push notifications launched an app nearly 15 times per month on average compared to a little over five times for those who did not.
Furthermore, a recent study by Tapjoy found that notifications sent early in the week had higher open rates, with Mondays seeing the highest open rates.
Like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” app users don’t like “too much or too little” when it comes to notifications, engaging most with messages that are sent weekly. The Tapjoy study even found that there is a perfect hour for delivering a push notification: just after lunch.
Carefully control your timing
Because push messages are generally paired with sound or phone vibrations, timing should always be top of mind.
Think about it: you don’t want to send a push notification to your app users at 4 a.m. and frustrate customers who may be sleeping. Rather, incorporate local push timing into your strategy so that user segments receive messages at one time—for instance at 8 a.m.—regardless of location. Another factor to consider is time of year. Sending notifications based on date can help provide relevance and humanize a brand, especially around various holiday times.
For example, a push notification for a restaurant review app scheduled to go out three days before Mother’s Day could read, “Happy Mother’s Day! Have a lovely brunch. Here’s a discount code for dining with us.”
Extra tip: don’t forget to halt messages when they “expire.” If you sent that Mother’s Day push notification at midnight—or a day late—it would obviously be irrelevant. Even worse, that kind of mistake doesn’t earn you any respect in the eyes of potential customers.
Draw on users’ past behaviors
When looking at your user data to decide on your app’s personalization strategy, consider drawing on past behavior to decide the optimal times for connecting with your users.
For instance, perhaps you have a segment of users who prefer to engage with your app in the evening hours. You will want to send these users a push notification at night when they are most likely to engage.
Streaming media devices: adjust your strategy
Unlike mobile phones and tablets, which encourage multi-tasking, streaming media devices typically engage users more deeply in a single activity. They may be immersed in a their favorite show, for example, or watching a movie. When users are focused on content, rather than interaction, push notifications can appear particularly disruptive. Anything that interrupts concentration or causes a break in focus risks being seen as unwelcome. Because of this, it’s especially important to limit push notifications on streaming media devices, making sure they are truly informative and likely to be considered useful (or even necessary!) by the user.
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Best Practices for Push Notifications highlights some of the most effective ways to deliver personalized, timely, and actionable messages using push. It also covers how to measure the success of your efforts, and the tools you can use to get started.
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Push notifications are a powerful and effective tool for engaging mobile users, but there’s more to a successful campaign than a simple shotgun blast whenever the mood strikes. Timing is critical, and the more you are able to adjust for user behavior and platform, the more positive the engagement will be for everyone.