Push Notifications Best Practices: Successful Implementation 101

Before you can successfully send push notifications, you first have to convince your users to accept them. When they are asked, upon the install of your app, whether they wish to accept push notifications, you want them to say “yes.” For them to agree, users need to understand why they’d want to receive messages from your app. I’ve installed too many apps that ask if they can send me push notifications, but offer no glimpse into why I’d want them to, or what kind of notifications I would be receiving. If you want your users to opt-in (and you do), you need to make it very clear in the description of your app (inside the app store and upon install) how and when you’ll be engaging users via push notifications.

Then, you have to ensure they do not opt out of your notifications. To keep your users opted in, we highly recommend you make it easy for users to manage their push preferences within the app itself. Make it simple to turn notifications on and off, to set up quiet hours (times when no alerts will be received on the device), and let users decide for themselves which method of push-notification alert they wish to receive for which types of message. Some users will want audio and / or video alerts for more important information and badge updates for less crucial or less timely messages. Ideally, you’ll have a strategy for managing push methods yourself. There’s no reason to treat all push notifications equally.

Finally, analyze user behavior after you send your notifications. If you notice a decline in active users, or an increase in opt-outs, you are probably pushing too often, or without enough value.

In the end, you have to demonstrate value to the user or they’ll opt out of your push engagements——or worse, they’ll delete your app. By allowing your app to notify them, potentially interrupting them in the middle of something they are doing on their device, users are trusting you to communicate with them on their terms. Use push notifications successfully and you’ll have a priceless channel for user engagement; provide insufficient information, and they’ll turn you off.

This post is part of an ongoing series Push Notification Best Practices. We’ll look at different aspects of push and provide guidance on effective tactics. Up next, we’ll cover Measuring Push Notifications Effectiveness.