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More than 635 million tickets were sold for the recent, record-breaking $1.5 billion Powerball drawing. For Shoutz, the company that operates LotteryHUB, the official app of Powerball, the historic jackpot meant an incredible 30% increase in push notification opt-ins.

“Our mobile opt-in skyrocketed with the record jackpot,” says Corey Pool interactive manager at Shoutz.

LotteryHUB allows users to enter the numbers on their Powerball and Mega Millions tickets and the app will send notifications, using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, if you have the matching numbers. At least one of the Powerball winners were sent a push notification telling them they won, says Pool.

To capitalize on the influx of mobile opt-ins, Shoutz will soon revise their push notification strategy. The goal is to develop better campaigns and increase user retention and engagement.

Don’t be so pushy

As the jackpot grew throughout the month of January, Shoutz sent more than 6 million push notifications to its user base, which is about 2 million less than in a typical month.

The reason for fewer push notifications, says Pool, is because traffic to the site was highly organic. “Don’t push if you don’t have to. Let the organic interest in a particular situation or event drive the traffic for you,” he says.

Users received messages including reminders to purchase tickets as well as a notice after the drawing to log onto the app to check the winning numbers.

“We don’t give them the numbers upfront in the push note because we want them to open the app and engage with us,” says Pool.

The immediate nature of push messaging has been key to Shoutz’s success. In fact, the company sends very few emails, after an analysis concluded that many users would open these emails days after a time-sensitive message mattered.

While email produced great open rates, the company realized that they needed a channel to provide more immediate gratification to customers eager to know if they won.  With email, the message might get lost in the shuffle of cluttered inboxes.

“We kept seeing high open rates in our emails, but that didn’t mean our customers were truly engaging with our content,” Pool says.

With a billion dollar prize on the line, Shoutz saw record engagement with its messages sent in January.

Keep your cool

According to Pool, the overall effort was taxing to Shoutz’s infrastructure and the company is making several changes to prepare for the next massive jackpot.

He offers this advice for companies that anticipate the need to scale their efforts rapidly: Be prepared.

“We were surprised and not necessarily prepared to scale up as quickly as we did,” Pool says. “The data we received during the record Powerball jackpot was impressive, amazing, and exciting, but we’ve learned a lot from this experience and feel we will be properly prepared for such an influx in the future.”

Pool also says it’s important to keep your cool and not panic.

“The record Powerball jackpot was exactly that, a record. No one could have prepared for the amount of traffic this jackpot would drive to our properties,” he says. “So, when things are not working out, let your technical team do what they do best, fix it, while marketing can devise the appropriate plan to manage the aftermath.”