2013 Good Push Index Offers First View of Push Notification Impact Across Vertical Industries

On the heels of delivering our 100 billionth push notification, we’re happy to share our most expansive Good Push Index (GPI) study to-date. We conducted a six-month analysis of more than 2,400 apps and 500 million push messages and found what our prior studies had, that push messaging can more than double app user retention and dramatically boosts engagement. What was new this time around, and we believe an industry first, is that we categorized more than 1,000 of the apps into six traditional industry verticals to compare the engagement and retention lift that different types of apps are getting from push messaging.

The differences between certain industries highlight unique industry characteristics and opportunities for greater results. We also used this vertical categorization to provide the world’s first quantitative view of push notification opt-in rates. On average, all apps retain users opted in to push messaging at nearly double the rate of those opted out. Those opt-in users are much more engaged with 26% more average monthly app opens per user. Due to greater retention of opt-in users, the vast majority of an app’s total opens over time will be from users that receive push notifications. Our past GPI study, which gauged the additional lift of a best practice push messaging approach, found that apps practicing High Push Engagement had nearly four times more total app opens from opt-in users compared to opt-out users.

For many industry verticals, the engagement and retention lifts were much larger than the overall sample’s averages. Retail led all industries with opt-in users generating 40% more average monthly app opens than opt-out users, and these opt-in users were retained at well more than double the rate of opt-out users. Media and Sports apps had the first and second highest long-term retention rates and highest average opt-in rates respectively, but the lowest average engagement lifts across industries. Clearly push is valued for Media and Sports apps. However, in some cases the push itself is the media (i.e., breaking news headlines and sports scores) and these apps may be driving cross-channel objectives in getting opt-in audiences to tune-in via TV, for example. That said, the data suggests a missed opportunity to drive more app opens by deep-linking pushes to related in-app content that offers additional perspectives and deeper information.  Check out how ABC News is reinventing the way users follow news stories, which seems designed to boost in-app engagement while giving users control over exactly what they want to hear about.

Like all data studies, the Good Push Index (GPI) is an exercise in averages. In mobile, and in relationships, no one should strive
 to be average. The range of performance between apps in the same verticals and across all measures is vast, with minimum and maximum push opt-in rates offering strikingly clear evidence. So while this data offers interesting points of comparison for your own app it highlights the immense opportunity for leaders to distance themselves from the competition through thoughtful best practice approaches.  Complete results of Urban Airship’s latest GPI study, as well as an infographic, are available for download.