Tag: push notification services

Push notification service – 5 easy steps to grow recurring revenue

Push Notification Service

 

In this post, we’ll explore how to get going with one of the easiest recurring revenue offerings — a push notification service for your customer’s mobile apps.

One of the biggest concerns any mobile app publisher will have is “Will my app be a success?”. And while success comes in many forms, ultimately it’s about app user engagement — getting more people using the app, more often. There’s nothing more frustrating for a client, (and for you I guess) than investing time and cash, in an app, and it becoming a “static” statistic — one the 83% of apps that become zombie apps.

As an agency, you have a great opportunity to help your clients and manage this concern. It’s your job, after all, to make sure the app you give them is a great app. In the eyes of the client greatness comes in two parts. First, an app that does the job it’s set out to do. Second, an app with a community of highly engaged users delivering the business results your client needs to get a return on investment. Many Mobile App Development Agencies focus hard on the first part, with little attention paid to helping build highly engaged users.

But you’re different. Right? You stay with your clients through the life of the app, so your clients get a better outcome from their sizable investment with you. That’s why big companies the length and breadth of the land work with you, year after year. They stay with you because you continue to offer them value, by continually helping their app perform better and better. That’s why you are special, that’s why YOU are different.

So in this blog we’ll show you one way to do this with a Push Notification Service. This is a great place to start building services that tackle that second stage of “greatness”, customer engagement, AND a perfect service to start building agency recurring revenue. A Push Notification Service lets you stay with your customers through the life of their app; working with them to building highly engaged user community for their app. Your customers win. They get a better app. You win. You build recurring revenue services that will give you a better business. A business that’s built on strong foundations of recurring revenue. A business that’s worth 8–10 times more when you come to sell.

Why are Recurring Revenue Services Important?

At Kumulos we get the chance to talk to and work with some of the largest and most successful mobile app development agencies in the world. One thing struck us a while back. Big mobile app development agencies generate a large share of client income from recurring revenue services. The question is: Do they do this because they are big? Or have they grown big because they do this? Well, we asked them. And they told us, every one of them, that building a monthly recurring revenue base for their business was the single most important ingredient in allowing them to succeed. They said it gave them the breathing space to innovate and grow, by taking the edge off meeting monthly expenses, like payroll. They said it took stress out of the decision to scale, removing some of the anxiety that they’d over-stretch themselves.

When we asked them to think back about the challenges they said the biggest problem was knowing how to get started: which services to pick, how to package them up and how to price. So to help you get started, in this blog we’ve picked a Push Notification Service. Its one of the easiest places to start and can offer real impact on the successful outcome of your clients app.

What is a push notification service and how does it help my agency grow?

A Push Notification Service is a series of campaigns driven by your mobile app agency to increase user engagement within your customer’s apps. The types of campaign you build will depend on what the objectives of the app are and where you need to make the biggest improvement, so you focus resources on the areas that will have the biggest impact on the outcome your client needs from their app.

Push Notifications are a great way to remind your client’s app users that you’re thinking of them. Push campaigns for your client’s app users should act as a discreet nudge, rather than being overly sales focused or intrusive. They are there to draw wandering app users back into the app by offering them information or something that they find useful. Push messages should also be timely, well personalized (you can do this by segmenting your audience into different groups) and highly engaging, without each message being perceived as an annoyance.

Why your customers value them so much is because they drive engagement within their user base. Users that are in the app regularly and have been in the app recently going to be highly engaged with the app. The more engaged users the better the app will perform.

So here are 5 ways you can create your first agency push notification service:

1. Start small and scale up

If you’re new to running push notification campaigns for your clients, the best thing to do is to start small, scale up gradually and use a Build/Test/Learn/Optimize approach. Many App Agencies start by working with an existing customer who has a decent sized user base, but has struggled to get that user base to engage.

Understanding the client and their app users is going to be important here, so you can build the right sort of campaign for them. Once you crack this with one client it’s relatively easy to then wrap this up in a service and offer it to the rest of your clients or to new prospects apps that you’d like to work with. Showing new customers how you can drive success for them is a sure-fire way to win that next mobile app project from them.

2. Cover all of the major push bases

This part is obviously very important. You can’t deliver great push campaigns for your clients until you have the basics covered. The good news is that there are some great quick wins when it comes to creating your first push notification service for clients.

You need to have a high percentage of your app users with Push Notifications enabled. These won’t be enabled by default by the app. They are an opt-in feature. It goes without saying that there’s little point sinking effort into running push campaigns if very few of the current app users have push messages enabled. How the app invites users to accept push messages is really important. Make sure it’s clear why this service will be valuable to them and make sure that there is a critical feature in the app that needs push enabled. A quick win here is to look carefully at the app onboarding process and see how you can improve the percentage of new app downloads that activate push within the app. Next is to see how many existing users you can get push enabled for. If there’s a new feature coming out that needs push, this is a great opportunity.

Creating user segments is a huge selling point when suggesting a push notification service to new and existing clients. The days of effective mass-marketing techniques are long gone and it’s essential that you adopt a tailored approach for each customer you work with. ‘Blanket bomb’ push messaging is grossly ineffective and leads to high push notification opt-out rates. It’s important to work with each app you develop to identify clear user segments based on behavioral traits and characteristics of their users. The segments you pick will in part be driven by the nature of the app and what your client needs to achieve. The trick is then using the right messaging to target each individual user segment.

Great push messages always possess a clear call to action (CTA). Once app users have opted in, they expect mobile marketing messages to be delivered in a highly targeted and contextually relevant manner. Avoid fluffy language in your messages and make sure that whatever action you’re asking the app user to perform, that it’s clear, concise, and most importantly, liable to deliver value for your app client. Convey urgency in your messaging and make it clear what your client is offering.

Timing is essential. Make sure you always use the right time zone and avoid waking app users up in the middle of the night. This is one sure fire way to generate eye watering opt-out rates. Using holidays or special events can also be a great way to ensure that your messages are perceived in a contextually considerate way. Timing is essential, but frequency of deployment is also crucial. Be very careful when it comes to defining push frequency. Over communicating is almost as bad as no communication at all. So strike the right balance between frequency and the relevance of the message to that target segment.

So having covered the basics of your first client push campaign, it’s time to start thinking about how you test and manage on an ongoing basis. Use split testing to create and analyze different variations of each message and test varying message lengths and styles to suit your client’s audience.

3. Prove that you can deliver great value

Proving that you can deliver great value is all about having the right reporting and analytics tools in place for the app, at the get go. This also means always starting with the end in mind and define with your client what the key measures of success and performance indicators will be. This might tie into engagement such as the ratio of daily active users to monthly active users, number of downloads with push enabled or monetization of push notification offers. What is success, of course, depends on your customer’s priorities for their app. So make sure you agree a clear set of KPI’s based on the technical and commercial priorities.

We’ve touched on this earlier, but it’s important so worth mentioning again. You’ll need to focus on increasing opt-in rates and minimizing the number of app users that opt-out and abandon your campaign. This is not just something that you can do once and forget about, it’s about constantly finding new ways to optimize the performance of your app clients push campaigns. An area where you can constantly provide value to your clients and a service that should be baked into your Push Notification Service Offering. To prove your value, make sure you produce reports monthly and that you are offering insight and recommendations on how things can be improved, rather than just giving clients the raw data. That said, there is a place for just communicating raw information. See the section on pricing below.

Make sure you Test, Test, Test. If certain tactics (perhaps altering frequency of deployment and style of messaging) prove to be successful, then you know where to double down your efforts. Similarly, if certain push techniques aren’t working and causing high app abandonment rates, dial them back. This is common sense of course, but it’s easy to lose sight of this, so worth stressing.

4. Roll out your services

Once you’ve proved a Push Notification Service can be successful for your first customer, you can start to consider how your market them to your existing customer base and to new customers. The trick here is to leverage the success of your first client campaign to convey value to other clients. Again, this will all come down to analytics and concise reporting that gives prospective push notification service customers an insight into why this is essential to drive success for your clients app. You need to convey that you’re focused on the right push notification KPI’s and develop marketing programs for your agency that enable you to scale up your push notification service. This may be as simple as baking this service into your sales process and customer on-boarding, to making sure that all new customers know this is just part of your standard offering. It may be targeting existing customers to get them to adopt this or it may also be a very lucrative way to target existing apps built by our competition. Competition that most likely is only focused on the build phase of the app.

Often one of the best ways to achieve this is by having a dedication optimization account manager. Generally speaking, app developers are not always best positioned to deliver optimization and push services to clients, and it’s tough to make the leap and hire someone in the hope that someone will buy. Kumulos may be able to help you here. We support App Agencies who want to offer these services, but don’t have the in-house skills right now. We offer Kick Start App Optimization Services that helps you get going. We act as your optimization back office and then transition this to you once you’re ready.

5. Get your pricing right

Most Agencies want their Push Notification Service to make them money, so it’s important that you have it priced correctly. If you don’t already have a push notification system in place that enables you to deliver these services, there are a bunch of different platforms that you can choose. Find a decent platform that fulfils your app client’s goals and make sure that you’re able to access the right analytics to measure KPI’s. Ideally try and use a platform that enables you to package up these KPI’s into a weekly or monthly report that outlines the success of each campaign and makes recommendations in terms of what you plan to do in order to enhance campaign performance.

A good way to structure your offer is to have a number (three seems to work best) service packages and offer tiered pricing. This gives you two advantages. First it allows you to sell progressive services, services that you can upsell when the client is ready to take a more strategic service for you. It also lets you show that’s you can “right fit” the service for each client. A tailored service rather than a one size fits all.

First Tier – Reactive Push Notification Service

This is as you’d guess simply reporting on the key metrics of push within the app. Things like percentage of downloads that have push enabled, the number of push notifications sent, the number opened, the number of unsubscribes. This is a good entry level service, just to let your customers see how things are performing. It’s a fully automated service, so you’d sell it at low price to get the customer used to paying you monthly.

Second Tier – Proactive Push Notification Service

As you’d guess it’s a bit more involved and your customer pay more for it. It covers the same metrics as the reactive push notification service, but offers insight and commentary into what should be done to drive the numbers in the right direction. Improvements to the app onboarding to drive up notification opt-ins, changes to messages to drive down opt-out rates and more. This is a great way to flag up work your customer needs done. Work that you would do for an additional fee.

Third Tier – Managed Push Notification Service

This is where you run everything for them. All the campaigns, all the messaging. Everything. You agree the KPI’s and targets up front and you commit to delivering that for them. To do this you really need to have a good understanding of the customer and their target audience, so most App Agencies progress to this having first delivered Reactive, then Proactive Push Notification Services. Of course, this is the highest cost and highest margin service you can offer and an awesome way to really get close and stay close to the client.

The critical thing here is to consider the cost of deploying your push notification services in terms of systems and labor. You’ll find that it will be pretty labor-intensive at first to build highly effective and highly engaging campaigns. So make sure you allow for this in the price you agree with your customers. Also make sure that your app customers are committed to you with a monthly retainer. This lets you plan with more confidence and know it’s worthwhile sinking that effort in up front, safe in the knowledge that you are building a long relationship with the client and, of course, a long term revenue stream for your App Agency.

Final words on building a Push Notification Service

So, one of the key ingredients for building a successful (and valuable) mobile app business is an underpin of monthly recurring revenue. It takes the edge of your monthly running costs and makes sure that money keeps coming in, no matter how busy you are. There are many services that you can offer, but the best ones are those most closely aligned to the needs and desired outcomes of your clients. A Push Notification Service isn’t right for every client or every app. But for those that need a highly engaged user community this is the easiest way to deliver services that customers will pay monthly for. It’s also easy to build clear KPI’s for your work so you can easily demonstrate your value add.

Here at Kumulos, we’re fanatical about helping mobile app agencies grow and we have some awesome features to help you achieve these goals. If you’re a mobile agency looking to increase monthly recurring revenue streams, check out Kumulos today and sign-up for free.

Best Alternative to Parse Push Notification

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Parse Push Notification Service is ending. With the surprise announcement that Facebook is closing the shutters completely on Parse, there are a lot of mobile app developers who use Parse Push Notification left with the headache of what to do next. But as you’ll know, its OK, you have some time, the service wont be withdrawn until the end of January 2017. But the sad part is that the Parse Push service wont be open-sourced like other parts of Parse. So you’ll be forced to find an alternative to Parse Push.

So no point in hanging about.

What’s the Best Alternative for Parse Push?

You have two routes you can go. Take on a free standing push notification service and integrate that with the server-side of your app project or pick a provider that offers you a push service that is already integrated within a backend. The route that right for you will depend on many things including how comfortable you are with the overhead of building and maintaining the integration between your push service and your mBaaS platform. Also whether you will actually need some of the specialist features that come with the free standing systems and whether they are worth paying extra for those features.

So here’s a short summary of the best alternatives to Parse Push Notifications. Its not designed to be an exhaustive list. There are dozens of services out there, each having their own merits and no doubt de-merits. But maybe this will help you short-list what to use once the Parse Push Notification service finally shuts down.

Kumulos Push

Kumulos Push is the only Push Notification Service that is purpose built for Mobile App Development Companies. As such it has a range of features that are specifically designed to help make App Developers lives easier, and help them get more apps that they build on monthly retainer. It doesn’t aim to be as full featured as the specialist stand-alone systems. Kumulos offers a push notification service that strikes a good balance between ease of use, functionality and price. It gives you the choice of using their push platform stand alone with an existing mobile backend platform, or already integrated within the Kumulos mBaaS platform. Either option also lets you give your mobile app clients access to their own push notification dashboard that allows them to run their own push campaigns and measure the results.

There is also the option of an automated monthly report. This is typically offered by Mobile App Development Agencies to their clients as a service on monthly retainer.

Pricing

This is one place that Kumulos Push scores highly. Fixed monthly pricing fits well with mobile app developers offering Push Notification as a Service to their customers. Kumulos starts from as little as $50.00 per month which gives you an unlimited number of notifications each month, there is also an up to 30 Days Free Trial available.

Carnival

Carnival is definitely worth a look if you are looking for a system well featured system to run complex push notification campaigns.  It  seem to offer a well balanced push notification services catering for the needs of developers and the marketing team that will be running the push notification campaigns. Too often push notification services are bias towards developers needs, so its good to see Carnival getting the balance right.

Their push notification services offers rich messaging, granular audience segmentation, message automation that includes timezone (and language) settings and narrow geo-fencing targeting and user behavior analytics that can be automated and sent directly to your inbox.

I’d say they definitely have to be up there when considering an alternative to Parse Push.

Pricing

This looks to be a closely guarded secret so best to email them if you want a demo or to find out if your project can afford them.

Streethawk

StreetHawks Push Notification Services have  good platform coverage iOS, Andriod, Phonegap, Xamarin, Corona, Telerik, Titanium. They say, and it seems to make sense, that if apps don’t use deferred deep linking properly it can lose 70% of its users day 3 from the first install. So StreetHawk put a lot of emphasis on this within their “Growth Offering”. But their real strength comes in their “Engage” offering. It offers impressive features around segmentation and life-cycle management, highly configurable push notification services and rich in app content. Their iBeacon and geo-fencing functionality is also worth a close look. Possibilities here to keep app users engaged makes StreekHawk a very interesting push notification platform.
StreetHawk lets you focus effort on the most valuable app users with some interesting “viral analytics” and some pretty cool engagement automation tools.
Churn within any app is inevitable, but if you can use push to help reduce churn, particularly among your most valuable app users, or use it to increase use frequency of less engaged app users then its value will be immense. StreetHawk has real strengths here.

Pricing

StreetHawk’s push notification pricing is one of the more complicated plan structures out there. They set their pricing out based on what you are trying to achieve. Best just to browse streethawks price page for yourself to see if its for you.

Urban Airship

Urban Airship’s goes beyond what you’d typically describe as  a Push Notification Service. It positions itself as a mobile engagement platform offering an impressive array of features including of course push notification, but also a very user friendly message center, fine grain segmentation configuration and location technology including beacons, geo-fencing, location history and location targeting.
This makes Urban Airship a pretty powerful in app marketing automation platform that allows highly targeted (if done right highly relevant) real time customer experience. Also the message configuration settings help prevent spamming the app user with too many push notes.
The analytics package is pretty impressive too. It can give a real insight into what activities, push, in app messages or whatever, are driving the desired behavour. Knowledge is power after all, but its how you use it that counts, of course.

Pricing

In terms of plan pricing, Urban Airship keep their Push Notification Services a secret. That’s rarely a good sign.  If you need to know the price, you probably can’t afford it.

Push Woosh

Push Woosh positions its push notification services more at the development community.  Its the classic stick to what they are good at software provider that you could argue is less likely to do a Parse Push on you.

Its highly configurable, with loads of great features, but not that friendly out the box, compared with other push notification services. But it comes with a big user community amongst mobile app developers so your not going to be short of programmers to help you out.
With a technical solution you won’t be surprised to hear that there is a huge list of platforms and formats that Push Woosh works with – it covers 19 platforms in all. By far the most comprehensive of any Push Notification Service platform. Android, Blackberry 5-7, 10, Windows Phone & 8, Nokia Asha, Amazon, OS X, Chrome, Safari, WordPress, Cordova (phonegap), unity, Adobe Air, Marmalade, Corona, Appcelerator Titanium, Xamarin, PhoneGap build and Trigger.io

Pricing

Pricing looks decent also with a good free tier, albeit only allowing very limited functionality. But at $49 a month used well it should more than cover its cost.
Alternative to Parse Push- PushWoosh pricing

Catapush

Catapush’s push notification services feels a bit raw around the edged but could be an interesting option for the smaller mobile app projects. It offers a narrower platform choice than some of the more established players with SDK’s for just Android and iOS. It has a RESTful API. That said it does offer some interesting features. For example delivery status tracking and failover to SMS when the app user has lost data connectivity. This gives the option to send an SMS using the standard protocol even if the app isn’t currently installed on the phone. Pretty useful if you’re trying to win back lost app users. That said, not sure how this fits with permission based push notes and how invasive this would feel to the user, so best used sparingly.

As for analytics,  this isn’t integrated but accessed through an API. The stats appear to be very centered around note delivery, so less useful to analyse and drive more granular campaigns.

Pricing

There’s no free in-use tier with Catapush’s Push Notification Service. Pricing is in Euros for this Italian based company, there is no US $ pricing.  Entry price is €29/month (plus purchase tax) for up to 2,500 subscribers. For that you get to send an unlimited number of push messages.

You’ll need to ask them about pricing for the SMS service.

Xtify

Always tempting to discount push notification services once they are bought by a tech monolith. Xtify was absorbed by IBM (Push.io was bought out by Oracle and merged with their Marketing Cloud offering a while back also). What you lose in access and engagement with the software company you gain in security and the fact that if you go for Xtify (or Push.io) you can be pretty sure the push notification services will be around in a few years. Well, you’d like to think so, wouldn’t you. But the lesson learned from FaceBook and Parse Push is that maybe a broadliner like IBM may lose interest in Xtify. So some caution is needed, perhaps.

Xtify offers the standard set of SDK’s, and one of the few offering it for Blackberry. It allows you to target either simple or rich text HTML push notifications. It also offers a “persistent” notification inbox, which is pretty neat. So messages stay visible until they are read or deleted. It also offers a scheduler that can be configured on timezone and location. It’s also one of the few that lets you integrate with any existing CRM data, so gives a more complete view of customers full contact history regardless of medium.

Pricing

So it’s from IBM so it’s not going to be the cheapest option for push notification services. It’s not easy to find out pricing, which probably tells you what you need to know in terms of cost.

Quick Blox

Quick Blox gives you coverage of iOS, Android, Javascript, Blackberry as well as for WordPress, Phonegap and php platforms. It also offers a Restful API.
It offers the choice of a shared cloud or dedicated instance. The cloud instance is pretty fast to get going. It offers simple drag and drop configuration to get the SDK into your app code as well as copy past credentials from the QuickBlox dashboard.

Pricing

Its free tier gives you 20,000 monthly active users and unlimited numbers of push notes. That said it throttles those to 20 per second. So could be OK for retail location-based apps maybe where instant volume isn’t critical, but for a high volume app where you’re wanting to push out large numbers of push notes all at once, it can get pricey. You could be looking at pricing in the range of $49/month to $219 per month for the shared cloud option. Up to $2,399/month if you need more than 500,000 monthly users.

More Reading on Push Notification Services

This blog from Waracle has another great review of push notification services that’s worth a look.

It’s all well and good having a great push notification service running in your app, but if your not clear about how you use it, it’s going to do little for you. This is a good read if your looking to improve app engagement from your push notification services.

Push Notifications – 5 best ways to Maximize Engagement

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Push Notifications are the one of the most effective ways of driving recency, frequency and higher mobile app engagement.  Used well push notifications can drive up to 20% greater app engagement, reduce attrition and drive more profit from your apps. Research from our friends at Netmera, shows that push notifications an drive up orders by as much as 180%. Check out their infographic.

But just having push notifications installed within your app isn’t enough to guarantee success. You have to work at it.  How successful you are at driving users to enable push notifications at first install (30% success is a good number) and how you drive push notification campaigns is what will make a difference.

1. Relevance of Push Notifications

Delivering the right content, to the right user, at the right time is one of the most important drivers of success from your mobile app. For this to be effective you need to carefully segment your customer base and use intelligent segmentation tools to build different customer groups.  You then need to build the specific rules that will deliver that relevant content to that segment when they are most ready for your content.

2. Buying Preference

Know your customer and you’ll sell to that customer. Using analytics to understand their historic behavior and how/when they have consumed a push notifications from you in the past. Its likely that different market segments will react to and interact with your push notifications in different ways. Modelling your push automation systems against this behavior will  have a huge impact on the engagement you’ll get.

3. Driving Intent into the purchase phase

Engaging someone just as they hit the intent to buy with a well targeted offer is one of the best ways to drive them to buy from you.  A well targeted push notification just after they have been browsing your products and services but not bought will give you a huge lift in your sales funnel. There are many push notification services with powerful cross platform engines that can drive very clever re-marketing campaigns.

4. Not every metric is born equal

Its always tempting to measure and judge success based on the measures most easily available. More important is to study and understand what the true purchase lead indicators are and then build your measures of success around those.  Be clear what part your push notification programs play in that buying funnel and ensure that the metrics you are using analyse push notification activity results against the specific objectives you set. Be clear that it is push notifications that are driving that and not other factors. A/B testing where you have a control group receiving no push notifications is probably the most effective technique here.

5. Measure/Refine/Measure

Treat this as an ongoing exercise. Its important to continually measure and refine your push notifications campaigns to make sure you optimize their effectiveness. Buyers behavior changes – your push notifications need to continually adjust to fit. It also important to continually raise the bar of what you expect. Complacency is death to progress.

Push Notification Services have come a long way in the last few years. There is a broad choice of Push Notification Services out there to chose from. Some are very strong at rule base automation engines and intelligent algorithms that are great at predicting behavior and intent. Others are incredibly strong at analytics and segmentation. Some focus hard on delivery with sms fail-over or virtual in-box technology that keep the push notifications visible longer. No one covers all areas. Which one is best will depend on many things, including the size of your data set and most probably how deep your pockets are.

Looking to pick one of the best Push Notification Services,  then this summary of the Best Push Notification Services should help you decide.

Best Push Notification Services for Mobile Apps

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Whether you’re looking to find a new push notification service or are one of the many now looking to migrate away from Parse Push this could help. We take a look at the best push notification services for mobile apps. We are deliberately not just taking the obvious push notification providers, but review the more established alongside some cool players less well known. With any mobile app, push notification services right is critical to drive ongoing engagement and success of your app. Research shows a huge link between the recency and how frequently an app is used and its monetization.

Push Notification Services are one of the best ways to keep users interested and engaged. Push notification services have come on a lot in recent years. The degree of personalized content you can now push at users is staggering. But as the saying goes, with power comes responsibility. Push notification services have to be used carefully and not fall foul of overly enthusiastic marketing departments. A push campaign that’s too noisy will drive folk from your app, either making them “unallow” push notification services or worse triggering uninstalls.

Here are 5 suggestions on how to get the best out of your Push Notification Services.

Why do Push Notification Services work?

Well two reasons.

First, they can be highly targeted. Many push notification services allow detailed segmentation based on demographic, behavioral or location based targeting. So the information being pushed to the app user can be highly relevant. Offering a special discount coupon triggered by i-beacons – delivering an offer right at the moment the potential customer passes a competitor’s retail outlet, for example.  It can also use cleverly configured analytics to predict when a user’s loyalty could be slipping. Catching them early, bringing them back into the app is shown to have a huge impact on retention. Minimizing app attrition is one of the biggest challenges mobile apps face, so even small reductions can deliver huge value.

Aberdeen Group’s research shows that mobile apps using a precision push notification service can drive a 20% rise in customer engagement.

Aberdeen Group Push Notification Services Report

The second reason why push notification services work is they are 100% permission based. The challenge, of course, is to get push notification services enabled at first install.  But get this part right and you’ll be in a great position further down the track. Some say as little as 30% of apps are installed with push notification services enabled. But when push notes are on they’re telling you they’re receptive to push notification messages and they’ll stay receptive, particularly if you keep push notes highly targeted.

So what are the best push notification services for mobile apps out there?

Before you chose which is right for your mobile app project, its important to know which analytics packages the push notification services integrate with. In our top 8 we’ve picked those with a broad suite of analytics integrations, the likes of  Flurry, Adobe Analytics, Amplitude, Mixpanel, Localytics and of course Google Analytics.

Kumulos Push – Best Push Notification Services

Kumulos Push is the only Push Notification Service that is purpose built for Mobile App Development Companies. As such it has a range of features that are specifically designed to help make App Developers lives easier, and help them get more apps that they build on monthly retainer. It doesn’t aim to be as full featured as the specialist stand-alone systems. What it is, is a push notification service that offers a good balance between ease of use, functionality and price. It gives the choice of using it stand alone with an existing mobile backend platform, or already integrated within the Kumulos mBaaS platform. Either option also lets you give your mobile app clients access to their own push notification dashboard that allows them to run their own push campaigns and measure the results.

There is also the option of an automated monthly report. This is typically offered by Mobile App Development Agencies to their clients as a service on monthly retainer.

Push Notification

 

Pricing

This is one place that Kumulos Push scores highly. Fixed monthly pricing fits well with mobile app developer offering Push Notification as a Service to their customers. Its quota free. $25 a month gives you unlimited numbers of push notification messages and unlimited numbers of devices connected to the service. It also has a 60 day free trial period.

Carnival – Best Push Notification Services

Carnival seem to offer one of the best balanced push notification services. It caters for the needs of developers and the marketing team that will be running the push notification campaigns. Too often push notification services are bias towards developer’s needs, so it’s good to see Carnival getting the balance right.

The things they are doing with push notification services is very very interesting, rich messaging in particular is cool.

Their push notification service offers rich messaging, pretty granular audience segmentation, message automation that includes time-zone (and language) settings and narrow geo-fencing targeting and user behavior analytics that can be automated and sent directly to your inbox.

Push Notification Pricing

This looks to be a closely guarded secret so best to email them if you want a demo or to find out if your project can afford them.

Catapush – Best Push Notification Services

Catapush’s push notification services could be an interesting option if you want to include reliable push and SMS into your mobile app projects. They are the only Push Notification platform with a proprietary XMPP IP channel for delivery. They offer SDK’s for Android and iOS. It has a RESTful API. That said it does offer some interesting features. For example, delivery status tracking and failover to SMS when the app user has lost data connectivity. This gives the option to send an SMS using the standard protocol even if the app isn’t currently installed on the phone. Pretty useful if you’re trying to win back lost app users. That said, not sure how this fits with permission based push notes and how invasive this would feel to the user, so best used sparingly.

As for analytics, this isn’t integrated but accessed through an API. The stats appear to be very centered around note delivery, so less useful to analyze and drive more granular campaigns.

Push Notification Pricing

Catapush pricing There’s no free in-use tier with Catapush’s Push Notification Service. Pricing is in Euros for this Italian based company, there is no US $ pricing.  Entry price is €29/month (plus purchase tax) for up to 2,500 subscribers. For that you get to send an unlimited number of push messages. More information on their pricing page.

You’ll need to ask them about pricing for the SMS service.

Streethawk – Best Push Notification Services

StreetHawk’s Push Notification Services have  good platform coverage iOS, Android, Phonegap, Xamarin, Corona, Telerik, Titanium. They say, and it seems to make sense, that if apps don’t use deferred deep linking properly it can lose 70% of its users day 3 from the first install. So StreetHawk put a lot of emphasis on this within their “Growth Offering”. But their real strength comes in their “Engage” offering. It offers impressive features around segmentation and lifecycle management, highly configurable push notification services and rich in app content. Their iBeacon and geo-fencing functionality is also worth a close look. Possibilities here to keep app users engaged makes streekhawk a very interesting push notification platform.
StreetHawk lets you focus effort on the most valuable app users with some interesting “viral analytics” and some pretty cool engagement automation tools.
Churn within any app is inevitable, but if you can use push to help reduce churn, particularly among your most valuable app users, or use it to increase use frequency of less engaged app users then its value will be immense. StreetHawk has real strengths here.

Push Notification Pricing

StreetHawk’s push notification pricing is one of the more complicated plan structures out there. They set their pricing out based on what you are trying to achieve. Best just to browse streethawks price page for yourself to see if it’s for you.

Urban Airship – Best Push Notification Services

Urban Airship goes beyond what you’d typically describe as a Push Notification Service. It positions itself as a mobile engagement platform offering an impressive array of features including of course push notification, but also a very user friendly message center, fine grain segmentation configuration and location technology including beacons, geo-fencing, location history and location targeting.

This makes Urban Airship a pretty powerful in app marketing automation platform that allows highly targeted (if done right highly relevant) real time customer experience. Also the message configuration settings help prevent spamming the app user with too many push notes.

The analytics package is pretty impressive too. It can give a real insight into what activities, push, in app messages or whatever, are driving the desired behavior. Knowledge is power after all, but its how you use it that counts, of course.

Push Notification Pricing

In terms of plan pricing, Urban Airship keep their Push Notification Services a secret. That’s rarely a good sign.  If you need to know the price, you probably can’t afford it.

PushWoosh – Best Push Notification Services

PushWoosh positions its push notification services more at the development community. Highly configurable, loads of great features, but not that friendly out the box, compared with other push notification services. But it comes with a big user community of mobile app developers so your not going to be short of programmers to help you out.

With a technical solution you won’t be surprised to hear that there is a huge list of platforms and formats that PushWoosh works with – it covers 19 platforms in all. By far the most comprehensive of any Push Notification Service platform. Android, Blackberry 5-7, 10, Windows Phone & 8, Nokia Asha, Amazon, OS X, Chrome, Safari, WordPress, Cordova (phonegap), unity, Adobe Air, Marmalade, Corona, Appcelerator Titanium, Xamarin, PhoneGap build and Trigger.io

Push Notification Pricing

Pricing looks decent also with a good free tier, albeit only allowing very limited functionality. But at $49 a month used well it should more than cover its cost.
Best Push Notificaton Services- PushWoosh pricing

Xtify – Best Push Notification Services

Always tempting to discount push notification services once their bought by a tech monolith. Xtify was absorbed by IBM (Push.io was bought out by Oracle and merged with their Marketing Cloud offering a while back also). What you lose in access and engagement with the software company you gain in security and the fact that if you go for Xtify (or Push.io) you can be pretty sure the push notification services will be around in a few years. With other providers there’s always the risk that you have to replace your push notification services if they go out of business.

Xtify offers the standard set of SDK’s, and one of the few offering it for Blackberry. It allows you to target either simple or rich text html push notifications. It also offers a “persistent” notification inbox, which is pretty neat. So messages stay visible until they are read or deleted. It also offers a scheduler that can be configured on time-zone and location. It’s also one of the few that lets you integrate with any existing CRM data, so gives a more complete view of customer’s full contact history regardless of medium.

Push Notification Pricing

So it’s from IBM so it’s not going to be the cheapest option for push notification services. It’s not easy to find out pricing, which probably tells you what you need to know in terms of cost.

Quick Blox  – Best Push Notification Services

Quick Blox gives you coverage of iOS, Android, JavaScript, Blackberry as well as for WordPress, Phonegap and php platforms. It also offers a Restful API.
It offers the choice of a shared cloud or dedicated instance. The cloud instance is pretty fast to get going. It offers simple drag and drop configuration to get the SDK into your app code as well as copy past credentials from the QuickBlox dashboard.

Push Notification  Pricing

Its free tier gives you 20,000 monthly active users and unlimited numbers of push notes. That said it throttles those to 20 per second. So could be OK for retail location based apps maybe where instant volume isn’t critical, but for a high volume app where you’re wanting to push out large numbers of push notes all at once it can get pricey. You could be looking at pricing in the range of $49/month to $219 per month for the shared cloud option. Up to $2,399/month if you need more than 500,000 monthly users.

Appoxee – Best Push Notification Services

Appoxee is now integrated within the Teradata Marketing Applications offering. Its push notification service is part of a comprehensive range of mobile marketing tools which includes Campaign Builder, Push Messages, In-App Messages, Personalization,  as well a smart algorithm that learns the best time to send the push note based on past user engagement.

They offer SKD’s for the usual platforms iOS, Android and offer an iOS Thin Push option.
It offers some interesting in-App plugins, including an Inbox/newsfeed option that behaves as if it’s an inbox within the app. Messages will be more persistent and less likely to get missed with this plugin.

Push Notification Pricing

They offer 3 plan types, Starter, Pro and Enterprise. The Starter plan is pretty limited in what it gives you, with a pretty basic push and in app messaging service. Automation, custom inbox, personalization and deep linking are only available if you take the Pro Plan. Whereas the algorithm that learns when is the best time to send, is only on the top tier Enterprise plan. Go to their website for to find out more on their pricing.

Looking to Migrate from Parse?

If you are one of the many that’s now faced with moving their Parse mBaaS to another service check out the Welcome Terms that Kumulos is offering Parse Developers.

More Reading around Push Notification Services

This blog from Waracle has another great review of push notification services that’s worth a look.

It’s all well and good having a great push notification service running in your app, but if you’re not clear about how you use it, its going to do little for you. This is a good read if you’re looking to improve app engagement from your push notification services.