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Push Notification Best Practices 2020

When is the best time to send push notifications and what’s the optimal number?

When it comes to push notifications, timing means almost everything. Push notifications are mainly used to re-engage users that have been distant from your product, and If you send the wrong message to them at the wrong time, you increase the risk that notification will be ignored and ineffective or annoying and causing the app to be deleted. 

What is a Push Notification?

Before learning about the best practices for sending push notifications, you need to know what they are.

Push notifications are (usually small) messages that can reach people anywhere and at any time. A push notification is a message that pops up on a mobile, a tablet, or a computer. These messages are one of the most powerful ways for communication between apps or websites, and their users. The most important thing when embracing the power of push notifications is to send them at the right time with the right message — frequent push notifications might seem irrelevant and disturbing to users, and can be detrimental to your business.

If you wish to learn more about push notifications, read our blog post: What are Push Notifications?

Best Practices for Sending Push Notifications:

Tips and Advices for Sending Better Push Notifications

  • Don’t send messages and push notifications at a time your users are supposed to be asleep. Many people sleep close to their phones and don’t put it on silent mode. As a result, your notifications will wake them up and disturb them.
push notifications click rates
Click rates for push notifications
  • As we mentioned, push notifications are mainly used to re-engage users. So, try to send your messages at times during the day that your users are more likely paying attention to their phones or your app. You might want to consider that users around the globe live in different time zones and day times.

  • Don’t overuse this marketing channel. Use it when it’s necessary and be precise. Try to send them valuable information or reminders. Also, personalization is something you can get advantages from, helping you send the right message to the right person.

  • Be careful with the frequency of the messages you send. The frequency at which you send the notifications to your users depends on various factors like industry, initial purpose, and user behavior, to name but a few.

  • Have predictions on when users tend to churn from your product and send them related notifications before that time to prevent it from happening.

  • Make your push notifications actionable. Don’t just send a message that can’t go any further; instead, try to persuade them to take action after they see your push notification.

  • Here’s the advice that is going to save your business: Personalize your messages! Every customer or user is interested in one thing about your app or your website, and you can learn about that with machine learning algorithms. Hengam is a tool that you can use for the apps, and BestPush is another that can be used for shopping websites. These tools learn about your users and their behavior, and send personalized messages with the right content to them at the right time.

  • Use media in your push notifications. Thanks to the developed technology, you can now add images, videos, or even voice messages to the push notifications that are going to be sent to users. Rich-media push notification can be very catchy and helpful.

  • A/B tests your messages. If you haven’t heard the term before, it means that you have to choose two small controlled groups, and target them differently (with different messages as the push notification or at different times); then you will check the results and send the better message to the rest of your user base. Good news is, you don’t have to do it manually and you can use the A/B testing function in many marketing tools. Some even have this option internally and will use it automatically to improve your campaigns, like Hengam or BestPush.

What Makes Users Opt-Out of Receiving Push Notifications from an App?

Learning about what pushes people to opt-out of receiving your messages through push notifications helps you to avoid things users don’t like in your campaigns and to get a better idea on what strategy you should have to send the best push notifications.

We are going to talk numbers. So, we are going to look at different factors that might have an influence on how people react to received push notifications.

Common sense might tell us that sending too many push notifications is annoying. So, probably, the number of sent push notifications matters. Let’s look at the diagram below and see what’s happening:

weekly push notifications
Resource: localytics

This diagram shows that between 2015 and 2017 people have either become less sensitive about push notifications being annoying, or the messages have become more relevant to them. But still, one weekly push will cause 10% of users to disable app push notifications. The rate of opting out also seems to be increasing with the number of push notifications being sent, up to a limit. The most important number we can get out of this diagram is that if we send 5 weekly push notifications, we will lose about half of our users.

Another factor that may cross our minds is the industry. Maybe users are okay with receiving push notifications from a banking app, but not so okay with receiving push notifications from a game app. Now let’s look at the diagram below and see what’s happening:

push notification unsubscription rate
Resource: VWO Engage

Users of apps in the software and SaaS industry are more sensitive about push notifications. As a general trend, we can see that the percentage of unsubscription increases as the number of sent push notifications increases. So, pay attention to the industry you are working in, and try to be convenient with the number of push notifications you send daily as possible.

But what’s behind these numbers and data? Why do users opt-out of receiving push notifications? Different surveys were done to see how people feel about receiving push notifications, and over half of them simply said they were irritated by notifications. Nearly as many find them a distraction, and comfortably over a third said they disturb them at the wrong time.

push notification satisfaction
Resource: VWO Engage
push notification satisfaction
Resource: localytics

The above chart shows about 40% of people mentioned that they receive push notifications at the wrong time and they find it disturbing. You can use the suggested timings given below to be a little more time relevant. However, this is not a “push notification bible”, and it’s always better to see what suits your users best. Also, keep in mind that users around the globe live in different time zones and you need to consider this when timing your push notifications.

Industry-based time

  • News: 10 – 12 pm, 5 pm
  • Fashion & lifestyle: 12 pm, 5 pm, 9 pm
  • Travel: 9 pm
  • Hospitality: 10 am, 2 pm, 8 pm – 10 pm
  • Entertainment: 8 pm – 10 pm
  • Education: 11 am – 1 pm, 8 pm
  • Healthcare: 12 pm
push notification best time

Persona-based time determination

  • Working class: 9 am, 12 – 2 pm, 9 pm – 11 pm
  • Young mothers: 11 am – 12 pm, 7 pm-8 pm
  • Middle-aged housewives: 12 pm – 2 pm, 9 pm – 11 pm
  • Students: 9 am – 12 am, 7 pm – 2 am
push notification best time

This is also something you can think about as the best time during each day for sending push notifications:

push notification best time

Now that we’ve learned a little more about push notifications, we can see that handling everything that makes this practice perfect is hard. Here is where technology comes to our rescue. Machine learning is very powerful in learning about your users and taking actions based on what it’s learned. Hengam actually uses this opportunity in its push notification automation tool and starts learning about the users of your app, their persona, and their behavior. With this, it predicts when and what users are at the risk of churn and automatically sends them the right message at the right time. Isn’t this everything that makes sending push notifications perfect?

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