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How to Use Mobile Push Notifications to Reduce App Churn

 

In the early stages of a mobile app launch, rapid growth is a key priority. User acquisition builds a solid foundation for market success, and while acquisition remains an important metric throughout an app’s lifecycle, the emphasis should shift towards user retention for long-term traction.

 

Arguably, building a loyal customer base is far more valuable than acquiring the occasional apathetic user. Leveraging mobile app push notifications properly is paramount for uplifting and maintaining retention rates.

 

To that end, this post will describe how to reduce app churn by implementing push notification best practices to engage and convert users into long-term, loyal customers.

Opt-In Conversions

User browsing apps

 

Messaging opt-in rates directly correlate with heightened user retention. Push notifications open direct lines of communication with your audience from which you can encourage activity and re-engage inactive users. But, in order to spur action, users need to agree to receive messaging from you, and that can be a difficult task in itself. Most people have enough activity happening on their phones and often decline push notifications unless they see the value in receiving them. In fact, a staggering 78% of users will turn off push notifications if they’re unsatisfied with the messaging. 

 

It’s never too early to promote your app’s value proposition. Beginning with the app store bulletin, you can advertise both the app’s generic value as well as the advantages of opting for push notifications. It’s essential to remember a user is thinking about how messaging will benefit their experience and not your marketing strategy.

 

Another tactic involves a straightforward, albeit creative first impression. iOS supplies a default dialogue box for push notification permission. More often than not, this advantageous tool does not reach its full potential. Serving users a generic, and often unimaginative request does nothing to pique interest, nor does this type of messaging incentivize action.

 

For the best results, initiate your onboarding strategy with a splash page. This extra screen is prime real estate for communicating how push notifications will enhance the overall user experience. An interactive walkthrough can effectively define the core functionality of push notifications. If a user completely understands the personal benefits of app push notifications, the likelihood of opt-in success significantly increases.

 

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Timing is everything. Putting off the initial request with an interactive and contextual splash screen affords you time to evaluate a user’s interest in your app. This way, you can advertise mobile app push notifications at the most opportune moment. If a user agrees to receive notifications in the pre-ask splash page, you can then direct them to the official dialogue box. If a user declines push notifications, wait until they familiarize themselves with the application before requesting permission a second time.

Reducing App Churn with Push Notifications

Once users agree to receive push notifications, you can deliver strategic, contextually relevant messages. Here are several guidelines to follow to help leverage push effectively.

 

User scrolling through push notifications

Quality Over Quantity

The type of app you have and the nature of service/experience it provides will – at least in part – dictate notification frequency. In some cases, less is more. It’s not necessarily about how often you send notifications, but about when you send them and what type of value they provide. If you’re sending too many notifications to users who don’t find them useful, they’ll opt out of notifications or worse, become annoyed enough to stop using the app altogether.

 

Leanplum stresses that copy is important in all messaging, but creativity is crucial for delivering quality push notifications. In one of their blog posts they outline several attention-grabbing push notification strategies that add value to user experience. Every mentioned push strategy effectively uses behavioral triggers, interactivity, personalization and creativity. A key takeaway is the importance of personalization in targeting messaging.

User Segmentation

When it comes to push notifications, context is king. Not all users can be grouped into one category. The type of messaging each user receives should be based on past preferences, behavior, and engagement with the app. Using in-app data will allow you to properly segment users into appropriate groups to provide relevant and contextual messaging.

 

Over time, marketers have noticed the benefits of segmentation. Localytics noted that in 2015, segmented push notifications grew from 53.51% to 65.73%. In contrast, generic broadcast messaging declined from 46.49% to 34.27%. Users are far more likely to engage with push notifications when the copy directly relates to them. Segmentation also has a positive impact on lead conversions. Leads are 3 times more likely to complete a conversion when the messaging is user-specific.

Give The User What They Want

With user segmentation and analytics you can determine which users are likely to find particular messaging useful. As a result, you can decide which methods drive higher engagement rates on a user to user basis. Personalizing the notification to provide content that is relevant to the user is crucial for a successful notification strategy.

 

When it comes to personalization, it’s important to pay attention to a user’s activity within the app. This way, you can send content based on what the user finds most relevant. The goal is to encourage a sense of one-on-one communication rather than putting the user on the receiving end of a non-specific broadcast.

 

Personalized Instagram messaging 

Image via Hans Vivek

 

Another key tactic for personalization is to employ rich notifications. Rich notifications allow you to incorporate text, images, audio and interactivity in your push notifications. On top of that, mobile marketers can now add clickable responses within push notifications allowing users to like, share or save specific content. This adds another level of functionality allowing users to receive more individual-level value from your app.

 

As Leanplum points out, interactivity amplifies the engagement and retention factor of push notifications. When users have the ability to interact with messages the experience becomes more meaningful, personal and engaging.  

Re-Engage

Push notifications are hugely beneficial when it comes to re-engaging users who have dropped out of the conversion funnel, or have otherwise disengaged. Re-engagement is a major part of any mobile marketing strategy, and again, relies heavily on personalization. To properly employ a re-engagement strategy with push notifications, behavioral patterns play a huge role in winning over users. Truthfully, users withdraw for a reason and sending them a multitude of irrelevant messages will likely make them withdraw further.

Track Engagement Metrics

There are a number of key engagement metrics for tracking app success that can help you ensure you retain your users, improve push messaging and segmentation, and make improvements to drive more user loyalty and activity.

 

Using dimensions like purchase frequency, location, device, and more can help you determine what’s working and what isn’t in your app. For push notifications, you can use this data to improve personalization, adjust and test messaging, and boost lifetime value (LTV) and revenue.

 

While tolerance for push notifications varies from app to app and user to user, leveraging push using the guidelines above can help you reduce app churn, keep users engaged, drive long-term usage, and ultimately increase the LTV of each user. Using analytics to determine when and what to communicate to your users can significantly improve engagement and retention rates, helping ensure app success.

 

 

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As a full service custom mobile app development company, Clearbridge Mobile handles the entire lifecycle of your product from Planning and Strategy, UX/UI Design, App Development, QA/User Acceptance Testing, to Technical Delivery. We use a unique agile development process that gives you control over scope, reduces your risk, and provides you predictable velocity. Start a conversation today to get started on your mobile project.

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Dan Kosir

Director of Marketing