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Push Notifications and In-App Messaging Best Practices

Push Notifications and In-App Messaging Best Practices

Push notifications and in-app messaging are the perfect vehicles for urgent messages and reengagement tactics. Here's what you need to consider.

You receive them often — the push notifications when you get a match on a dating app or when there’s breaking news, they remind you to check your status or to look at something again. They appear on your locked screen, even though you aren’t engaged with any apps at the moment.

Push notifications are brief messages that speak directly to app users. When turned on, push notifications bypass spam filters and are never buried in an email inbox. Their immediacy makes them the perfect vehicle for urgent messages and reengagement tactics. Upcoming flight? Use push notifications to get a reminder to open up the flight app and grab your boarding pass. Need to reengage a customer? Use a push notification with a discount code or product update to remind them of the awesomeness of your app.

The phone lock screen is the best way to reach your users. The stats speak for themselvespush notifications boost app engagement by 88%. And in terms of engagement, 65% of users also return to an app within 30 days when push notifications are enabled. Plus, the average user checks their phone every 12 minutes. This makes the phone lock screen one of the best ways to reach users.

However, mobile settings allow users to have total control over the type of push notifications they receive. You cannot send push notifications to customers who haven’t agreed to receive them. On Android devices, users are automatically enrolled in push notifications. On iOS, however, part of the mobile challenge is the default prompt at the time of download. This prompt asks users whether they would like to receive push notifications, even before the user can see the value of them! That’s why it’s important to use an opt-in experience to stress the value of push notifications.

In addition to push notifications, use in-app messaging to communicates with users. In-app messaging shows notifications while the user is active within the app itself. In-app messaging can be used as a promotional tool (“Check out our newest features!”), to instruct a customer on how to use the app, or to highlight content. There is no separate opt-in for in-app messaging.

Push notifications and in-app messaging should work in tandem. They are a team. Push notifications get customers to open an app and in-app messaging demonstrates how to get the most value when the app is open and in use.

When you implement push notifications and in-app messaging, you need to keep a few best practices in mind.

Best practices

1. Use in-app messaging to highlight the value of push notifications

If your app user has not enabled push notifications, you can use in-app messaging to remind them to opt-in! Do your customers want to be the first to know about concerts in the area? Send an in-app messaging letting them know that the best way to get hot tickets is to opt-into push notifications.

2. Keep your messages short

Although there is no character limit, Apple enforces a payload size of 2048 bytes for iOS and Google enforces 4096 bytes for Android. From a technical and marketing standpoint, the pithier the message the better. Push notifications are not used to educate, but to get the customer to act. Remember to use a strong call to action, such as “swipe.”

3. Push notifications work best in moderation and within a larger marketing strategy

Do not use push notifications to communicate every product update or feature. Instead, use them to complement other marketing efforts. For example, if you are already sending onboarding emails — why not add a push notification into the mix?

Ready to implement push notifications and in-app messaging? Watch the video to learn more about how you can leverage a mobile strategy in your marketing program.


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