6 Data-Driven Best Practices for Push Messaging Content

True story: 52% of people opt-in to receive push messages from their apps. This means that over half of your user base is letting you message them, even when they are outside the app. Sending out timely, personalized push messaging is an excellent way to re-engage their users, or “push” them back into the app.  

So, why is there such a negative stigma around push messages as annoying, intrusive and ineffective? 

Because like all great marketing, they have to be useful, relevant and engaging to work.

We examined the click rate across over 100 million push messages. Click rate is defined simply as the percentage of users who actually click the push message when they receive it. For reference, the average click rate across all apps is 5.5%.

Using this data, we’ve discovered six best practices you should be incorporating into your push messages to improve click rates and lead to better in-app conversions. 


Tip 1: Send your Push Messages During the Week (And Avoid Weekends)


Push message click rates are fairly consistent throughout the week, but drop on the weekend. During the week, the click rate average is 5.8%, but for the weekend the click rate drops down to 3.5%.  This means there’s a 66% higher click rate on push messages that are sent on weekdays (Tweet this stat!). Tuesdays and Fridays, in particular, seem to be the most popular for actual click throughs. 

What this means for your marketing: People are near their phones more during the workday, and often seek out distractions for quick work breaks. Target your campaigns to send on days with the highest click rate to capitalize on this behavior and appeal to users when they’re looking for a 5-minute break. 

What your message could look like: “It’s Friday – check out our weekend sale and shop early-bird access now.”


Tip 2: Schedule Messages for the Afternoon


According to our data, most apps currently send their push messages in the evening, likely thinking that this is when people are home from work and willing to engage spend more time in-app. This, however, is a misconception. Push messages actually have the greatest click rate in the afternoon (from 12PM to 5PM).

What this means for your marketing: Know that you want to target Tuesdays and Fridays? Use this data to refine your campaigns further, and send them in the afternoon. Users are sensitive to ill-timed notifications, as they can be disruptive when sent at the wrong moment (such as 2am, but hopefully you knew that). 

What your message could look like: Sent to users at 12:30pm “Take advantage of your lunch break to catch up on today’s most popular news stories.”


Tip 3: Keep Your Messages Short


Shorter messages have a higher click rate, by a large margin. Remember, depending on the actual smartphone your push is received on the amount of words that appear on the lock screen varies. Certain smartphones have smaller screens, which results in fewer words appearing on the lock screen. Because of this, shorter messages are generally more effective since the entire message will appear on the screen. 

What this means for your marketing: Keep your messages clear, concise, and compact. You want to quickly make clear the purpose of the push message. With few seconds to catch a user’s attention (or sitting as just one in a list of notifications upon checking their phone), your message needs to identify the value, goal or reward behind the notification to prompt an open. Be upfront with the Ask, but make it primarily about what benefit the user will gain from clicking through.

What your message could look like: “Shop now: members get 50% off new arrivals.”


Tip 4: Tell Them; Don’t Ask!


Push messages that deliver a statement perform twice as well as those that ask a question. Asking a question and then answering it may seem smart in practice, but remember that you are working with limited real estate on the lock screen, and most users are looking for more definitive content.

What this means for your marketing: Be more straightforward with your language, and avoid wasting space with questions. Instead, ask this one of yourself: why should the user open this message? The answer is what you need to highlight in your campaigns.

What your message could look like: “How-to: Invite your friends and get $10 off your next ride with our referral program.”


Tip 5:  Learn by Watching What Works for Other Industries


Just as not all pushes are created equal, neither are all categories. Certain industries have higher click rates than others, depending on the content and timeliness of the message. Travel and lifestyle apps, which often offer quick information, are more likely to be interacted with than messages with a more complex call to action.

What this means for your marketing: Take a page from the Travel & Lifestyles app marketing playbook. Often, they offer information relevant to a specific trip, booking, or service, and are used to inform the user of important updates or changes. This kind of relevancy can be applicable to your push messaging, too.

What your message could look like: Send updates about products users have viewed before, and might want to track “Your favorite item: Burberry Check Coat – now 20% off.”


Tip 6: Use Promotional Language


Words like “offer,” “super,” “ends” and “deal” surprisingly have a higher click rate than game-specific language. “Win” and “today,” in particular, saw poorer performance, signaling that while sales-based terminology garners more clicks, sweepstakes or one-day only deals might be less popular. 

What this means for your marketing: Words that indicate a special deal the user can access should be used as a part of your strategy (as long as it’s appropriate). While just peppering these words in will not boost click rate, using promotional messages or phrases are more likely to have stronger engagement for your push campaign. 

What your message could look like: “Offer ends soon: swipe to see your unique deal.”


Crafting Campaigns that Convert

Each user is unique, and so sending all of your users the same push message, no matter how optimized it is according to best practices, isn’t a good strategy. Instead, use the data-driven insights in this post to inform campaigns you send to different segments of users. By segmenting users, you can create groups of similar audiences and send push messages that speak to their individual behaviors and attributes. And remember: always be tracking what works and what doesn’t in your app messaging. 

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