Smart mobile marketers know that user retention is the lifeblood of a successful app. In fact, a 10% uptick in user retention has the power to increase the value of your business by more than 30%.
The key to getting meaningful insights from your user data is cohort analysis — AKA dividing your users into groups by defined characteristics and looking for patterns among the different cohorts. You might discover that users who never take a specific action (like adding a friend) tend to abandon your app after Day 4, for example.
By comparing these insights with the journeys of your most successful and engaged users, you’ll identify ways to improve user retention across the board.
Make sense? Cool.
NOW your only remaining task is to create engaging experiences that keep users coming back for more.
Enter push notifications: the irresistible siren song that draws users back into your app.
Two Types of Push Notifications
Let’s clear something up straight off the bat: not all push notifications are directly, immediately linked to ROI. But all pushes are crucial — because once you get users back into your app, you can continue to dazzle them with all the value and delight you’re providing.
Say you send a push notification to a user who started creating her profile inside your dating app. She nearly finished the signup process but didn’t add a photo.
Inviting her back into the app to add her photo gives her a chance to become more familiar with the app, and gives you a chance to offer her more value.
This is a win-win situation that can boost your retention rates — and keep you out of the 25% of apps that are only used once and then abandoned.
No matter your app’s purpose, all of your push notifications will fall into one of two categories: transactional pushes, and engagement pushes.
Transactional Push Notifications
Transactional pushes deliver time-sensitive information— for instance, “Hey, your flight’s gate number has changed,” or “Your package was delivered to the front porch,” or “Here’s a receipt for that thing you just bought.”
Amazon pushImage: @Bubble1615 on Twitter
Users expect these notifications and may have specifically opted in to receive them (especially in the case of retail and delivery apps).
Even when a transactional push doesn’t lead to a tap or app open, it builds retention by providing the user with information they need.
In fact, most Colombia Phone Numbers Listusers expect apps to inform them of updates via their lock screens. According to The Guardian’s Mobile Innovation Lab, 84% of users across several push notification studies dismissed a notification because they’d been informed and didn’t need it anymore.
So don’t be discouraged if your transactional notifications tend to get lower open rates than your other pushes. They’re still helping you boost or maintain user retention.
Engagement Push Notifications
Engagement notifications are designed to get a user’s attention and encourage them to interact with your app. These types of pushes may not be expected or specifically opted-into, which makes it all the more important (and tricky) to get them right.
Here’s the Pokemon Go app congratulating its user base on a job well done:
Pokemon-GoImage: @ReversalYouTube on Twitter
Highly engaging pushes focus on the user. And we mean focus on the user at every level: in the push’s content (which should be tailored to the user’s activity or preferences), in the push send timing (which should be optimized for when the user is most likely to see it), and even in the push’s word-for-word copy. More on that later.
Whether they’re transactional, engagement-boosting, or both simultaneousl, all of your push notifications must follow three basic principles. They’ve got to be Relevant, Timely, and Actionable.
Let’s break each of these principles down.
Principle 1: Every Push Must Be Relevant
Relevancy is one of those concepts that sounds easy, but when you break it down, you realize it’s more complex than you thought.
So what makes a push notification relevant? It requires a combination of factors, like users’ in-app behavior, location, how useful the content of your push is, the level of personalization, and more.
Whew. If it helps, you can think of relevance as an equation:
User Retention Guide
Put another way, notifications must be relevant to what your user is doing, who they are, where they are, and the actions they’ve taken (or haven’t taken) inside your app.
To parse all that data, you’re gonna need to segment your users.
Not just by age, location, gender identity, and other common bulk demographics, but by characteristics like device type, usage habits, typical session length and frequency, customer or profile type, and most frequent in-app behaviors.
Push notification secrets from todays top mobile apps
Push Notification Secrets from Today’s Top Mobile Apps
Learn how Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, and others send timely, personalized push messages