Today, every smartphone user has experienced a push notification and you, as an app developer, probably know that there’s a big focus on push notifications in the messaging space right now.
In contrast, in-app messaging is seeing increasing adoption among developers and marketers, due to its ability to create more targeted, purposeful user sessions.
Not sure which approach is right for your app? Here’s what you need to know about each method.
A user receives an in-app message only when they are actively in the app. Because users are already active, in-app messages have a high likelihood of being seen. These messages can take the form of plain text, images, video or other rich media. They often have a call-to-action button and appear as a pop-up during specific activities in the app.
According to Localytics experts, “In-app messaging should feel like a natural part of the app, not additional marketing, and can be used by marketers to fine-tune app content or promotional strategy.”
The biggest drawback to the in-app approach is that you can only send messages to users who are already in your app, so conversion is directly proportional to the number of active users. If your user base is pretty small, it’s unlikely you’ll see much growth with in-app messages. And, even though you can optimize a user’s experience, you must be careful. Too many unplanned messages can put off a currently active user. As a result, users may choose not to return or may even uninstall your app.
The power of push
Push notifications are alert-style messages that appear on the home screen of a user’s device or as a pop-up at the top or bottom of the screen, in the case of TV. The notification is delivered whether or not the user has the app open. These messages provide a good opportunity to connect and re-engage.
Users typically see the push notifications consent option during the app installation process. The key is to provide a solid value proposition to convince your new users to opt-in.
According to Localytics, push notifications boost app engagement by 88 percent.
Distinct types of push notifications
Here are the most common types of push messages:
- Informational – Think of these messages like status updates. For example, a travel app might send an update about a flight’s departure time.
- New features and promotional offers – These messages alert users to something new in the app or to a new promotional offer that might get them to re-engage.
- Social actions – This alert is tied to a user’s social network and lets them know that someone has performed an action, such as liking or commenting.
- Take action – This lets a user know that they need to take a specified action. In a game, this might notify the user that it’s their turn or that someone surpassed their high score. A health app might remind users to open the app and log their water consumption for the day.
Some closing thoughts
Whether you use push notifications or in-app messages in your marketing strategy, it’s vital to have detailed analytics integrated into your app. Track each and every possible attribute, including user behavior and activities. Create segments based on the analytics you get, so that you can strategically organize efforts directed to those groups based on their behavior.
At the end of the day, push notifications and in-app messages each provide an invaluable opportunity to connect and re-engage users with your app. And, when done well, creative strategies can help boost app engagement and revenue.
New eBook available
Check out our new eBook, Best Practices for Push Notifications. This publication highlights some best practices for delivering personalized, timely and actionable push messages. We also cover how to measure the success of your efforts and the tools you can use to get started with push notifications.