push notification strategy

Using a Bulletproof Push Notification Strategy to Maximize Success

Push notification strategy requires some thought. That’s because push notifications are a powerful tool in any app marketing campaign. Used correctly, push notifications can re-engage users, spur users to take a specific action, and boost retention rates and other key metrics. When used incorrectly, push notifications can very quickly contribute to uninstalls and bad reviews. This can make app marketing even more difficult. A relevant, timely, personalized push notification is magic. 

In this post, we’ll explore how you can incorporate the best of push notifications into your mobile marketing strategy. We’ll also look at the role a mobile advertising agency, like Moburst, plays in push notification success. Your bulletproof push notification strategy starts here!

Push Notifications Primer

Push notifications are used by a mobile advertising agency or app marketing team for many different purposes. 

Push notifications could be about news or the latest offer, a new feature or update, or triggered by a specific event – for example, a ride-hailing app letting you know that your ride is waiting.

Push notifications are especially powerful because users don’t have to be logged into an app in order to receive them. There are some powerful push notification statistics that you should take into account:

  • US smartphone users can receive up to 46 app push notifications per day
  • There’s a 7% push reaction rate on Android devices and 4.9% on iOS
  • Basic personalization can improve open rates by 9%

Push notifications have come a long way since an untargeted 1-liner popped up on your screen at the most inopportune time. The best of today’s push notifications will incorporate rich push notifications: that is, including a rich media attachment such as images, videos, audio, and even interactive elements.

Push notifications will also be highly targeted and personalized, like being based on where you are or what you’re doing. Additionally, they will add value, be unobtrusive, and feel like they are a part of the app experience. 

It’s important at this stage to differentiate between push notifications and in-app messages. In-app messages are shown to users when they are active within the app itself. They have many different purposes and advantages and can be used to improve the chances of high ratings, encourage in-app purchases, or inform people about new features. Push notifications, on the other hand, are sent outside of the app and pop up on the user’s screen when the mobile advertising agency or app marketing team decides to send the push. 

Next, we’ll look at your push notification strategy, and how to take it to the next level.

Push Notifications Strategy

When it comes to app marketing, most people will agree that the ability to communicate with users is absolute gold. For yourself, your mobile advertising agency or your app marketing team, this is could be your number one way to boost your key metrics. There are multiple ways to do so outside of push notifications, but each of these methods has significant drawbacks:

In-app messaging

In-app messaging is powerful and completely controllable by the app developer. The look and feel, timing, and messaging can all seem completely native. The massive drawback with this type of messaging is that the user actually has to be active within the app at the time of the message. 

This is even more problematic when the mobile advertising agency or app marketing team wants to target users with low engagement, or who are at risk of uninstalling the app. The chances of the user being on the app at the exact time that you want to send a message to them, are remote. 

Social media

Today, speaking to users through platforms such as Facebook has become increasingly difficult. Organically, not all users see all of your posts, and in order for users to actually engage with most posts, boosted or paid ads will need to be used. This is a costly strategy and still does not guarantee results.


Emails are generally a great way to communicate with users, especially during sign-up and onboarding. Emails can be used to send timely, informative messages to users, but they have well-known downsides of course. Open rates are relatively low if they get delivered at all. Programs such as Gmail are likely to stick your email in the “Promotions” box, which makes it even less likely to get read. So how do you get through to your users in the most effective way?

Push notifications are an extremely effective way to communicate with your users. 

When you are crafting your push notification strategy together with your mobile advertising agency or app marketing team, we’ve found that the following questions are helpful in achieving maximum effectiveness:

  • What is the goal of your push notification campaign? 
  • What type of push notification campaign is most likely to achieve my goal?
  • How can you contextualize and personalize the messaging?
  • When should your notification be sent? 
  • What is the action you want the user to take?

We’ll unpack each of these and provide an example to help you and your mobile advertising agency or app marketing team construct your bulletproof push notifications strategy.

What is the goal of your push notification campaign? 

This is obviously the most critical question to address, as its answer affects your entire push notification strategy. As a mobile advertising agency, we recommend having one clear KPI for your push campaign and building everything around that goal. Your goal, of course, should be specific and measurable. For example, “We want to see a 35% increase in Daily Sessions per DAU within the next month”. Yes, other goals can be achieved in conjunction with your main goal, but it’s important to stay focused. Make sure you have analytics in place to measure your goal too. 

What type of push notification campaign is most likely to achieve my goal?

There are many types of push notifications that can be used to achieve your goal. For example, is it a very functional campaign, or is it a campaign that excites or encourages? Are they action-required, or passive? 

How can you contextualize and personalize the messaging?

Sometimes, a user just seeing a notification is enough. More often than not, however, you and your mobile advertising agency will want users to open your app or take action. To increase open rates, the most important thing you can do is to personalize and contextualize your message. This assumes that your campaign is highly segmented and that you have the tools in place for highly-personalized (but not creepy) messaging.  

For example: imagine a coffee chain that sends offers such as buy one, get one when they detect a user’s location is in close proximity to one of its stores. This is a great example of notifications with context and proximity marketing at it’s best.  

On the flip side, if the user is sent this notification when there is no store in sight, it’s pointless and even irritating.

When should your notification be sent? 

The next question to answer is about when to send the notification. Is it based on the user’s geographic location? Time of day? Sometimes it’s based on some outside occurrences such as breaking news. Consult with your mobile advertising agency or app marketing team to decide on the best time to send your notification. You can use app analytics from previous campaigns to make informed decisions. 

What is the action you want the user to take?

Finally, you want to look at what action you want your user to take. Always start by keeping on the top of your mind the action you do not want them to take – which is uninstalling your app, or disabling your push notifications. 

A great example of this is the Wall Street Journal app. The WSJ has started sending many more notifications (from 16 to 72). They realized that notifications have to pass the “dinner conversation test” – does it provide something interesting enough to share with friends at dinner? The outlet also sends more focused alerts, based on a user’s interests such as Finance or Politics, instead of general “breaking news” updates. The result is that users receive tailored, contextualized messages that appeal to them, get them to open the notification and engage with the content.

Finally, push notifications offer incredibly valuable insights. A great benefit to using push notifications is the intelligence that you can receive from the results that you get. Really good analytics such as the time notifications are opened, open rates and other metrics can be gained from your push notification campaigns. All of this information can be used by your mobile advertising agency or app marketing team to increase the effectiveness of future campaigns.

Tips When Using Push Notifications

Keep it short and sharp

A push notification isn’t supposed to be long and boring. It should be short, sharp, and pique your user’s interest. 

Keep it relevant

“Broadcast”, general notifications are not effective anymore. Make sure your notification is relevant to your user. 

Don’t be overly aggressive

The stats support not being aggressive unless your campaign is highly targeted, and users are interacting with and enjoying your push notifications. When this is not the case, a push campaign can hurt: one weekly push notification can lead to 10% of users disabling notifications, and 6% to disable the app completely.

It also helps to allow and encourage users to choose their preferences when it comes to push notifications. This helps the user to feel in control and reduces the friction and frustration that could come out of a poorly conceived push campaign.

Build them as part of the app experience

The best push notifications are built into the app experience. If you take Uber, for example, you’re probably used to getting notifications that your driver is arriving. So when you get a notification about a special offer every now and again, you’re used to this type of communication.

Contrast that with an app that never sends out such notifications. If you suddenly received an unrelated marketing push notification from them, it would seem completely out of place. Your mobile advertising agency or app marketing team should be able to assist you in ensuring your notification feels part of the organic app experience.

Remember that the following can really help increase engagement with your push notifications:

  • Using emojis (20%) 
  • Rich formats (25%)
  • Tailored send times (40%)
  • Advanced targeting (300%)
  • Personalization (400%)

Push Notifications: A Powerful App Marketing Tool

Push notifications can form an integral part of your mobile marketing strategy. The secret to push notifications is to use them in a considered, data-backed way, and not as a “spray and pray” strategy.

This blog was brought to you by our friends at Moburst. Moburst are a global mobile success company that helps leading brands and startups master the mobile arena. Their main specialty is helping companies conquer their toughest challenges through cost-effective, creative, and innovative mobile marketing campaigns.

About Kumulos mobile marketing automation platform

Kumulos Mobile Marketing Automation platform comes with a comprehensive range of services covering the entire life cycle of the app. Its 5 integrated services include app store optimizationanalytics & reportingbackend hostingcrash reporting & endpoint monitoring and its award winning push notifications service, which received awards from Business of Apps, Mobile App Daily and The Tool.

It provides a management console that delivers comprehensive visibility on how the app is performing technically and commercially. It’s easy to setup and there’s no SDK required.

Start monitoring now by signing up for a free trial or book a demo. And, when you’re up and running with your free trial, make sure you download the free Kumulos Companion App to try out the push notifications for real.