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Designing a Push Notification Strategy to Increase Engagement

Push Notification Strategy

Designing a Push Notification Strategy to Increase Engagement

To engage users with your app, push notifications play a powerful role. Push notifications boost app interaction by 88 percent when used intelligently. Yet with push notifications, there’s also a big opportunity to transform users against your app.

The same research by Localytics? It found that more than half of app users assume that “annoying” push notifications are “annoying.” These notifications appear to disregard user objectives, dismiss meaning, and among other faults, leverage the wrong resources.

To make sure your push plan provides your users with the most value, we developed this resource. Read on to understand the opportunities for interaction and user experience created by push notifications. You can also learn the basics and some complex approaches that go into developing a better push plan.

Why Craft a Better Push Notification Strategy

Let’s take a look at the key advantages push strategies offer app developers before digging into the nuances of developing a push notification strategy. You’ll learn how well-crafted push notification tactics can do wonders for re-engaging users in this section and increasing the intrinsic value of your app.


A research by Braze found that less than 25 percent of users return to an app on average the day after they download it. Each day after the first the percentage continues to decline. Push updates will help reverse the pattern.

When they’re not in your app, push notifications give you an opportunity to connect with users. When they pick up their computer, your alerts appear right in their eye-line, making them powerful instruments for driving users back into your app experience. Smartphones has also transcended by alerts. On the web and other mobile devices, such as watches, personal assistants, and screens, consumers now see or hear them.

You send your users a direct line back into your app with push notifications. To go straight into your app, they just need to tap the notification, leveraging a single-step route to re-engage. You can go a step further by pairing push alerts with deep ties. Within your app experience, deep linking pushes the users through a particular screen, further simplifying the journey and bringing them closer to the action you want them to take.

For instance say a customer left your app without checking out after putting a pair of shoes into their shopping cart. You may submit a push notification to that customer with a prompt to return to the app to complete the order. The message will send the customer back into his or her cart on tap, shoes at the ready, to check out.

Better still by enticing the client with an offer for the transaction in the push notification, you might follow the example of 1-800-Flowers (R1) and have more value. On tap, with a discount, the customer can return to their cart to apply for their order.

A similar approach is taken by the fashion resaler, thredUP, to try to re-engage consumers who leave their shopping carts. When a customer places a clothing item in their shopping cart, it is kept for 24 hours by ThredUP for them. They unlock the item for someone else to purchase if that customer does not check out within the time limit.

The chances that a customer can find another item exactly like the one sitting in their shopping cart is slim since thredUP sells used clothes. ThredUP alerts clients of this truth by sending a push notification (R2) to the customer shortly before the 24-hour deadline. The notification alerts clients of their pending transaction and generates urgency in order to prompt the client to take action.


Although push notifications are treated by some products as a way to drive uninvolved users back into the app experience, others rely on push as a central part of the experience itself. These products use push, even if they are not in the app, to give their users exactly what they want when they want it.

For service-oriented apps such as Uber and Lyft, banking apps such as Chase and Capital One and payment apps such as Venmo and PayPal, consider the important role push plays. To alert users to significant time-sensitive details such as estimated driver arrival, low account balances, odd transactions, and new payments, these products use push notifications. These apps send reminders to grab the attention of their users when it is necessary, because their users are not likely to wait around in the app to get this vital information.

A good example of using push alerts to produce a better product experience is Dark Sky Weather. Dark Sky’s push notifications carry the forecast to users when they need or want it most, instead of asking users to go into the app to check the weather.

In a push notification (R3) that appears on the system lock display, the app serves local weather information. In the notification, all users want to know is there; they don’t need to tap it and go to the app to get the details. Dark Sky also enables users to build custom push alerts of their own. (Later, more on that.)

How to Create Your Push Notification Campaign Strategy

Now that you know the advantages, how do you schedule and build push notifications for your app? The four main steps for designing an effective plan for your push notification campaign are covered in this section. These measures are discussed in relation to how we built one of the push notification campaigns for Jellies, a video app for children.


Identification of its intent is the first step in developing a push notification campaign. Is there an issue that you’re trying to fix or a target that you want to achieve? You will identify success until you comprehend the issue or goal.

Do you find, for instance, that users are not taking the actions you want them to take? Do they quit your app? At a certain stage in your user experience, are they leaving your app? This is all basic issues that anyone can solve with push notifications.

Jellies offer more power to parents over what their kids are seeing. In the app, in Parents Mode, parents add video topics to their library. They then trigger Kids Mode and hand the system over to their kids so that they can watch the subjects that are pre-approved.

Eventually, we started to find that certain parents didn’t return to the app to engage with the latest content, even though we added brand new videos all the time. Our aim was to encourage those parents to frequently revisit the app and add fresh subjects to their libraries.


You need to reach users where they are in order to craft a successful push notification campaign. This means knowing what’s important to your customers, where your customers come from and the possible hurdles in their path before a solution can be planned.

We devote considerable time at Savvy to user exploration. Our three-step process hones in on what is needed to provide users with real value. In particular, for push notifications, we use discovery to understand the attitude, receptivity, and needs of our users.

  • Mindset: That is what are the problems facing my users? What would they like? For Jellies, we realized that parents are busy, they are focused on other problems, and while they want their kids to watch videos of good quality, they don’t look to police every moment of the screen time of their child.
  • Receptivity: What are the conditions under which my users are most sensitive to push notifications? We knew that the parents of Jellies would like to be approached directly instead of via their children. Parents prefer Jellies because the app is ad-free and we’re not trying to sell their kids anything. This is a project that we’re taking really seriously. By targeting kids with our push notifications, we wanted to be sure not to break the confidence.
  • Needs/Value: When will the most value from a push notification be found by my users? Each week, Jellies introduces new topics to the app. Soon after the fresh topics hit the app, we decided to send out updates so families could start watching immediately.

At the right time, the push notification campaign needs to reach the right people with the correct message. It makes your push alerts important, and more effective.

Set these key parameters based on the context you have identified to make sure your push campaign is important (above).

User Segmentation and Trigger Criteria

Based on common features, user segmentation means sorting the users into classes. Trigger requirements allow you to group your users further by specifying what actions or lack thereof) they must take before your push campaign is activated. These criteria, combined, help make sure that you send your push notifications to the right people.

We wanted to target parents who are starting their free trial or Jellies subscription and adding to their library at least one issue, but not returning to the app to add additional subjects. This segment of users had the following trigger criteria:

  • A Free active trial or subscription
  • At least one subject in the user library
  • In the last two weeks, Involved inside the app, but did not add a new subject within those weeks.

Message Type

What are you going to give your customers exactly? The following categories fall into many of the typical forms of push notification messages: descriptive, geo-located, and check-in.

  • Informative: These are announcements, reminders and notifications for your items. They are used to alert users about important details such as new likes or messages, changes to traffic, order status, or new features of the app.
  • Geolocated: These messages revolve around the present position of the recipient. Based on geographical parameters, they alert the user to new possibilities or facts. Discounts at a local shop or new shows at a nearby theater, for instance.
  • Check-in: Check-in notifications connect with your client to keep your brand top of mind. Essential for re-engaging users. These messages tend to concentrate on encouraging, feel-good information, such as celebrating an objective of success or recalling a happy memory. They help improve the relationship of your product with its customers.

Be succinct, add value, and prompt the user to take action to make the most of your push messages. You may also want to consider customizing and adding photos, emojis, and gifs to make your messages stand out.

We went with an insightful reminder for Jellies that we continuously add fresh topics to the app and a call to action to return to Jellies to take advantage of the latest content.

Send Schedule

That is, when should your push notification be received by your users? In order to understand the best times for sending push notifications to your users, use user discovery and analysis, behavior data, and experimentation.

We wanted to use behavior data to notify our schedule for this Jellies push notification campaign. We scheduled the message to go out near the same time that the user was last active in the app. This made it more likely that, at a more convenient and actionable moment, the push notification would hit the user.

Bear in mind that the users are not likely to live in the same country or hemisphere. This makes it important to ensure. That instead of a blanket sending, you send updates based on the time zone of a recipient. Failure to do so may mean that while your users in the United States get your notification at a reasonable time, in the middle of the night, your European or Asian users could get their notification.


Starting sending your push notifications and seeing how users react is the next step! We use many methods for sending and monitoring push results. At various stages of the product lifecycle, each tool provides something a little different and is more useful.

  • Firebase Cloud Messaging: This tool provides a simple message creation UI and enables us to send them across platforms. To make more custom messages, we also pair it with another method.
  • Leanplum: Push notifications are just one of Leanplum users’ many engagement solutions. We like it and use it to create personalized, rich push notifications for its robust message building options.
  • Mixpanel: This is a good choice for basic push alerts to be sent. It provides an intuitive UI that makes setting up campaigns simple. As an analytics tool, Mixpanel also excels and is excellent for exploring clustered user interaction and behavior patterns.
  • Intercom: This tool offers some options for message creation (yes: names, text, deep links, no: images), but for its deep-dive analytics, we like it more.

To discover if users are engaging with your push notifications, use your analytics. If you find that your alerts are ignored by most users without further intervention, consider whether your messages are adequately appropriate and whether you are sending them at the right time. You can also try to build a call to action that is more interesting and value-driven, or include rich elements in your post.

Sometimes, attracting users back into the app is not enough. Chances are once they re-engage, you want your users to do something specific. Your user journey could be frustrating or not convincing enough if your users tap on your push notification but don’t complete the action that you want them to take inside the app. Focus on delivering value, and start using deep connections to simplify the experience of the user.

Author Bio:

For over a decade, Alex has been helping start-ups and small businesses to market creative products with best-of-breed bits of HTML/CSS, JS, Python, and C#, most recently as an independent software development consultant.He currently heads Fingentent’s app development dubai team.

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