We live in a mobile world: over 30% of the world’s population uses a smartphone, and we carry them with us every day. It is hardly surprising, then, that companies see mobile as a key marketing and service platform.
Many choose to create apps, looking to support the core business, add new value to their services, and take advantage of a new marketing channel. Consequently, the number of apps has exploded in recent years.
According to a comprehensive overview of recent stats on apps, complied by TechJury, people spend 2.3 hours a day using apps, and collectively we download 175 billion apps yearly. However, “21% of downloaded apps worldwide are accessed only once during the first 6 months of ownership.”
The average person only uses 30 apps every month, and only nine on a daily basis. In fact, one source found that one in five users will never return to an app after just one session. So companies have gone to the expense of making these apps, but there is no guarantee that they or their users are getting any utility out of them.
Push: an app-native mobile channel
Push notifications are messages delivered via an app installed on the recipient’s phone, rather than through their SMS app or to their email inbox. When a company wants to send a message to people using their app, they just need to create the message and “push” it to the app.
This is a lot simpler than it sounds: if you already have an app you can simply connect it via an API to GMS Business Communications Suite, which allows you to send messages via push, OTT messengers, and SMS.
When you select push, the message will be sent to your app’s interface. (If a particular contact hasn’t downloaded your app you can always request that the message be sent over one of the other channels.)
Push should still be your first option, however, because your app doesn’t even need to be open: the message will appear on the device’s lock screen or as an icon in the notifications tray.
This offers a few benefits to start with: push notifications get seen instantly, and the user can customise the experience — Android users can block notifications from specific apps, and iOS users must be given the option to opt in before receiving any push messages. (Don’t worry, most users do choose to opt in, although this can vary by industry.)
If you’re a company that is thinking of sending push messages via your app, you can also be confident that the messages you send — whether transactional or marketing — will reach a receptive audience.
After all, they have already downloaded your app, presumably because they are interested in your brand or services. People receiving push messages are therefore more likely to view your messages favourably.
Why use push?
Push notifications can be used like other mobile marketing messaging channels, to remind users about your app or educate them about its features, as GMS client UKRSIBBANK did.
They wanted to make the most out of their investment, and so chose to send push notifications to people who had downloaded their app. Doing so allowed them to inform users about app features (and remind them it was available) they might not otherwise be using.
This made users’ lives easier: they could carry out banking activities without needing to call or visit the bank, which in turn improved the efficiency of UKRSIBBANK’s customer service at those touchpoints.
As a communications channel, push is arguably more effective than others since it leads directly to the app itself. This preserves and builds the value of your app in the eyes of users and associates your messaging directly with the platform you have created specifically to interact with them.
Obviously, this is not all that you can do with push. It is a messaging channel, like many others, and so it serves as an excellent medium for transactional and marketing messages.
Push can deliver:
- Mission-critical notifications and alerts
- Transactional information
- Marketing to promote services and products
- Information about activity or new features within the app itself
Push serves all these functions well because it offers instant delivery with excellent visibility. Moreover, these messages are both cost-effective, offering savings over OTT messaging and even SMS, while also providing more flexibility than the latter.
Push can contain up to 1,000 characters in any set character set, as well as richer elements like images and logos that reinforce branding and engagement. They can also include quick action buttons and deep links for interactive marketing collaterals and to help guide users through the marketing funnel.
Tips and tricks
Push is an undeniably powerful customer engagement tool. However, its immediacy can be easily over-used. Sending too many messages can easily lead to users blocking or opting out of push notifications, or deleting the app altogether.
Analyst’s Localytics found that the ideal number of push messages to send in a week was 2 to 5. That way you keep their interest without continually bombarding them with messages. Much more than six messages and people may stop using an app altogether.
They should also have a purpose — they should deliver new information or inform the user when something has happened (for example, an out-of-stock item they were interested in has become available). Messages which are not perceived as useful will be considered spammy.
Localytics also found that, of all the possible personalisation efforts, responding to stated preferences is more likely to encourage someone to use your app more. Meanwhile, while some people were more inclined to use an app if push messages incorporate data about their in-app behaviour, this was one of the main reasons for others to use the app less.
This matches advice elsewhere that argues that the best messages — push or otherwise — are ones that are relevant to a user and enhance the value they get from messaging. Take advantage of your CRM and customer profiles to create targeted campaigns for specific segments that match their interests and preferences.
Push is an excellent channel for delivering messages that are simultaneously rich and engaging, cost-effective, and targeted towards a receptive audience. For app owners, they represent an essential and flexible addition to the multichannel marketing portfolio.
Apps are big business these days. If you have created an app, you should be taking advantage of it to send push messages, alongside your other channels. This ensures you and your customers get the most value out of it.
At GMS, we deliver push over GMS Business Communications Suite, our multichannel messaging platform, which means that even if a user has turned off push notifications or doesn’t have your app, truly important messages can still be delivered using Viber or SMS as a fallback.
This means you can allow users autonomy while ensuring mission-critical messaging still gets through. Speak with our experts to find out about adding push to your app and marketing strategy.