You know what’s annoying? Not knowing when your taxi will arrive. Or having to call a restaurant to get an update on your order. Or continuously logging into a website to see if you have new notifications.
Ain’t nobody got time for that. Can’t these hugely valuable pieces of information just be delivered to us automatically, when we need it?
Why yes, yes they can – through transactional push messaging. Are you using these in your app?
Transactional push notifications make your users’ lives easier (and better) because they provide highly personalized and relevant information in real-time.
These notifications alert your individual app users when something specific to them has happened. Transactional push notifications are not designed to overtly market your app – they are designed to be intrinsically useful.
In short, these swift notifications are super powerful because they keep your users’ days running smoothly, which in turn increases your app’s reliability and retention.
Your gut instinct may be to think that transactional push notifications are best suited for service-oriented apps like Uber, which sends notifications when your driver is nearby.
But in reality, the use cases for transactional push transcend many app categories. To get the gears in your head turning, here are eight examples from leading apps that implemented transactional push campaigns to solve problems and save their users’ days.
App Category: Social
Transactional Push Type: “Your friend is interacting with you and this is how."
User Action Elicited: Response to friend
Let’s be honest: many of us check Facebook’s mobile app multiple times a day. Despite these frequent app visits, Facebook’s News Feed updates quickly as family and friends post new things all day. To ensure you never miss a beat, Facebook sends out a push notification when someone likes or comments on something, pokes, or notifications you.
The app won’t bombard you with push notifications about anything and everything happening inside the app – it smartly alerts you only when someone directly interacts with you or your profile.
Also, notice the level of specificity in Facebook’s push message. Instead of using generic transactional verbiage like, “Your friend sent you a message. Read now,” Facebook tells you exactly who said what making the push notification far more enlightening.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: Your app saves people from the wrath of family and friends who think they’ve been ignored or forgotten.
App Category: mCommerce
Transactional Push Type: “An item you like is available or on sale."
User Action Elicited: In-app purchase
Many shoppers have felt the chagrin of trying to buy an item and then realizing it’s sold out or unavailable in your size. In retail stores, there’s unfortunately not much you can do to prevent these frustrated shoppers from walking out – and there’s no clear way to bring them back once you restock your shelves.
In mCommerce apps, like Gilt, you can solve for this problem by allowing your users to “waitlist” items that can’t be purchased immediately. Once their desired products become available, or go on sale, you can trigger a push notification to get latent users to return to your app and complete the checkout process.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: Your users won’t miss out on buying something they love due to inventory hiccups.
App Category: Finance
Transactional Push Type: “Here’s the receipt confirming your transaction was successful."
User Action Elicited: Sense of trust and continued app use
Despite the growth in popularity, some people are still hesitant to use apps in lieu of their credit card when making purchases.
To showcase the efficacy and simplicity of shopping with a smartphone, LevelUp sends push notifications to each user after they pay with their app. These alerts highlight the critical details of each transaction (i.e. how much you spent and where you spent it).
The brevity and clarity of LevelUp’s transactional push notifications encourage people to keep using its app and say goodbye to paper receipts.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: You give your users peace of mind that their purchase went through (and you save trees!).
App Category: Food & Drink
Transactional Push Type: “Here’s an update on your order."
User Action Elicited: Continued app reliance/loyalty
When hunger strikes at home, people often turn to their apps to order some delicious grub. Usually, the hardest part about this process is waiting for your food to arrive. Is my order being prepared? Is my dinner on its way? Should I eat a snack while I wait or will it be here soon?
GrubHub takes some of the mystery out of this waiting game by providing its users with real-time status updates on their order. Even though the in-app purchase is complete, GrubHub sticks by their users and continues to provide value by monitoring the delivery time. This is an example of an app providing an excellent post-sales experience.
As a pleasant bonus, GrubHub uses conversational language in its transactional push message to make it seem less robotic and more human.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: Your users feel like a priority even after the purchase has taken place. And they automatically get insight into their order without having to exert extra effort.
App Category: Games
Transactional Push Type: “It’s your turn."
User Action Elicited: In-app play
Speaking of waiting around - games are fun, but sitting tight until your turn isn’t. Fortunately, multi-player gaming apps like Words With Friends, use transactional push messaging to let players know when it’s time to make a word. In addition, this notification specifies which opponent just made a move, and deep links to that particular game.
Then, when users do return to its mobile app, they’re much more engaged and likely to take an important action (like playing a word, swapping their letters, etc.).
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: People can efficiently play games with their friends without the distraction of constantly checking back in the app.
App Category: Travel
Transactional Push Type: “You found a great deal, but it’s about to expire so take action now."
User Action Elicited: In-app conversion event
Buyer hesitation is a real problem. Sometimes, people spend a lot of time searching for a product, but when they find something that fits their needs, they delay pulling the trigger.
This is a good time for brands to gently reaffirm the value of their goods and services. For instance, TripAdvisor triggers a transactional push message to its users who recently found a great rate on hotels confirming that it is indeed an exceptional deal, and they should act now to lock it in.
Another reason this push notification is so effective is because of its use of the word “you.” The push message does not read, “The great hotel rate for the Black Pearl is still available.” Instead, it employs directive language to address the user and highlights the fact that he or she cleverly uncovered this offer on his or her own. In other words, it subtly pats the user on the back for their stellar app use.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: By reminding users that the awesome deals they found in-app are expiring, you ensure nobody misses an opportunity to save money.
App Category: Utilities
Transactional Push Type: “This is where your package is right now."
User Action Elicited: Ability to better track deliveries
Thanks to things like Amazon, high-speed Internet, and Cyber Monday, the modern world is all too familiar with the art of sitting on your couch and buying stuff online. But with great ease, comes great stress (the stress of lost packages and delayed shipments).
In the dark ages, you had to call the shipping company and spend countless hours with customer service reps trying to locate your order. Today, apps like My Package can automatically track your shipment and keep you updated on where it is – through real-time push notifications. And when it comes to tracking packages, a simple and brief transactional message is the way to go because it clearly gets your point across.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: Your app eliminates the headache of manually tracking deliveries and increases happiness/anticipation by showing users exactly where their order is on its route to them.
App Category: Productivity
Transactional Push Type: “This person emailed you and here’s a preview of the message."
User Action Elicited: App launch and in-app response
How many emails do you get on a regular business day? Probably a fair few. Email is one of the most popular ways people communicate with each other and with brands.
To help users manage and screen the influx of emails, Gmail’s app utilizes transactional push messaging so people know right away whose emailing them and what they’re saying. As a result, its users can scan the message and evaluate whether it requires immediate attention or can be put on the backburner.
By the way, notice how Gmail’s push notification differentiates between different email components with smart (yet subtle) formatting. For example, the name of the sender appears first (and on its own line), followed by the subject, and then a hyphen is used to signal the beginning of the email’s body content.
How this Transactional Push Notification Saves the Day: Users will never miss seeing an important email because they’ll get a thorough preview of each incoming message delivered to right to their smartphone’s home screen, as they come in.
“Wait a minute, isn’t saving our users’ day the best part of transactional push notifications?”
Of course it is!
But there’s another exciting thing that’s relevant for app marketers: You can set up transactional push notifications to trigger and launch automatically based on events happening inside or outside an app. If you want to learn how to set these up, check out this article for more details.
Remember, one of the best ways to market your app is ironically not to blatantly promote it all. Instead, make it useful for people. Make it a means of solving everyday challenges.
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