Push Notifications: Best Practices and Frequent Misconceptions

When running any kind of business, your optimal goal is to be as efficient as possible. This is no different in running an online business. However, reaching efficiency requires superb decision-making, but also great solutions for monetization. When it comes to push notifications, optimization is the key to maximum output.

Push Notifications Campaigns

So, with that in mind, it’s only natural to ask yourself:

What is a Push Notification in simple words?

It is the new way to grab the attention of your potential customers while they are not on your website, but these messages can only be sent to the visitors if they have opted-in to receive your push notifications. The only catch is that your users will have to click on allow.

With this guide, the goal is to help publishers fully optimize their push notifications. However, there are a couple of segments that publishers have to carefully take care of.

Improving Push Efficiency

Measuring Performance

For maximum output, it is important to track performance stats. As it turns out, solutions that are in-house made have a competitive advantage in this field.

In-house solutions offer more transparent and detailed forms of performance management. However, if you do not, then-campaign trackers are a way to go. This is only because ad networks mainly have limited possibilities when it comes to push notification optimization.

Seemingly, campaign trackers offer detailed performance scrutiny. Besides that, they give access to various tools that can help you optimize your ads. Through this, you’ll see what converts, and what doesn’t.

Push Creative Optimization and Split-Testing

As mentioned above, push creatives are among the most important elements of every push notification.

Push creatives are basically headlines, images, and descriptions located within a Push Notification.

There are three elements of every push notification creative:

  • Image
  • Headline
  • Description

All three elements are extremely important, so each of them has to be taken on individually. To fully optimize a push notification ad, your creatives must be top-notch, followed by a clear message projected through your own unique sales angle. This implies that reaching a well-optimized push ad that actually converts, takes time, so you might need some serious split testing first

How to optimize Push Notification Creatives

Obviously, image is the most visible element of every push notification. However, it’s still very small, which is why advertisers generally choose icons instead of pictures. However, this rule is not exclusive. All in all, they have to be well-thought and interactive.

When it comes to headline writing, the most important thing to pay attention to is:

What is your target audience? What is your end-goal?  How can you present your goal in a unique way that appeals to your target audience?

The best suggestion you can get is to put no more than a couple of words. This should include a power word or a phrase. Keep in mind that there are limitations. For example, most title caps go up to 40-42 characters. This is where you need to fit your „power phrase“. Nailing the „power phrase“  will make a user feel more connected to the advertised content, ultimately making him ‘obliged’ to click on it.

Creative description is equally important as both image and headline. This is because you get the unique opportunity to express how your targeted audience benefits by clicking. Use it well, deliver a powerful follow-up message to your description. Also, emoji usage is strongly suggested in both descriptions and headlines, but only if it’s suitable to the overall sales angle.

Split Tests

Your primary goal is to maximize chances for lower conversion costs & higher ROI. To do that, you’ll have to split test your push notification campaign.

Split-testing allows you to see what works for your product/niche/geo/device. Also, if one creative is not converting immediately, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t convert at all. That’s why it is important to determine the testing period & track campaign progress accordingly.

Source Efficiency and Targeting Options

Push Notification campaigns are very dependent on sourcing and targeting. Most ad networks allow you to see source efficiency.

What is Source Efficiency?

In plain words, it’s a pause option for creatives that aren’t making numbers you expected them to make.

Keep in mind that sometimes it is not the source that is bringing your efficiency down. Sometimes, the problem lays in targeting options.

Again, most ad networks will allow you to see what targets are not reaching wanted performance levels. This means that you can exclude those targets without jeopardizing the whole source.

Split-testing Landing Pages and Offers

Landing pages are vital to push notifications success. However, they do require split-testing. Usually, it’s best to test a couple of landing pages. The formula is simple:

The highest number of conversions = landing page that brings the best performance

Efficient landing pages have to be visually appealing to users.

This is why landing pages need to have call to action buttons. If the landing page does not convert, you’ll have to make content adjustments and/or visual changes. Keep in mind that each and every landing page has a lifetime, which is why switching it up a bit after a certain amount of time is imperative.

Similar to landing pages, offers require split-tests and most likely content updates that will make them more optimized for conversions. Of course, it is important to test a couple of offers at the same time to know which one converts the best.

Improving Push Effectiveness

Let’s face it. A lot of advertisers still do not understand one basic push principle. Effective campaigns need unique, fully utilized features that cause better performance.

Don’t know what „fully-utilized features“ means? Here are a couple of examples:

Optimizing locally in terms of time

This simply means that different time periods generate different outputs, which is why you need to use it to your own advantageTechnically, this is one of the most important things that advertisers have to pay attention to.

Generally, it’s not as easy as it seems, but luckily, there are multiple options that allow you to flip this into your favor.  This is why frequency capping in local time might prove useful.

With this, you can target users based on a time preference you set. Of course, it is important to get to know your target audience, but also to know your product. Hence, if your timing is right, there is more chance for potential conversions; because more people will see the advertisement.

User lifetime targeting

Experienced Advertiser or not, you’re most likely already aware that user-lifetime plays a massive role in successful campaigns. By following this logic, it’s obvious that targeting older subscribers will ultimately save you a lot of money while helping you earn more at the same time.

Moral of the story? Re-target existing users to increase LTV(Lifetime Value), or in other words, make them more engaged in your advertised content than they were before, and they will stay subscribed longer.

In house creatives

Let’s get things straight right away. Creatives are a must-have! An ad format simply won’t convert without a creative part of it, e.g. an image/icon, title, description, etc. Despite knowing this, advertisers still use generic creatives (because they’re easy to get or make) which causes poor campaign performance.

That’s why you need to do this on your own. Make your own creatives. Although it takes more time and effort to make it,  your subscribers will be more satisfied,  and your campaign will ultimately convert way better than before.

Call to Action

This is a very important segment if you wish to pursue effective push notification strategies. Yet, most advertisers do not pay enough attention to Call to Action (CTA). Usually, these can be seen on pages e.g. ‘Sign-up for Newsletter’. They are usually the main driving force behind successful subscriptions.

Bottom line, CTA works very well. You can raise conversions by strategically adding one or a couple of CTA-s on the page.

What are the most frequent push mistakes & misconceptions?

To be honest, lots of potential users get suspicious over the usage of push notifications; most publishers believe that push notifications do not bring added value. That’s why we’ll make sure that you don’t take any misconceptions seriously about push notifications that are just not true.

But most importantly, you’ll learn why push notifications do not reach their objectives, and how to fix that.

Of course, to stay highly educated about all problems and useful suggestions, it is essential to read appropriate and up-to-date literature.

Misconception No.1 – The URL is Visible in the Notification

For some reason, a large number of users think that push notifications, somehow, indicate towards the page that is issuing push notifications. However, this is far from true. Push Notifications rely on the creative part we discussed earlier. This is the main driver of traffic, the URL is not important within this particular part. That’s why nothing in the push model leads towards the site.

Misconception No.2 – Users Will Not Subscribe to Push Notifications

This is by far the most widespread misconception about push notifications. If you believe that no users will allow push notifications, sorry to break it to you, but you are wrong.

Nevertheless, allowing push notifications requires no time or effort for the user. However, push success depends on the quality of the campaign’s content. If you’re not seeing subscriptions, but at the same time seeing low CTR’s. that means it’s time for an update.

Misconception No.3 – Push is too Spammy

Although it might be correct that push can become too spammy, it is important to know that they are configured in a way that doesn’t affect your user experience.No user wants to be bombarded with notifications. It’s common sense.  Instead, they want to experience notifications that actually bring value, and finding that a satisfactory timeframe requires a lot of split testing. Nevertheless, it’s a trial-error process. You’ll most likely test 3-4 different timeframes & the number of push prompts sent to your users before you hit the jackpot.

Misconception No.4 – Users do not Pay Attention to Push Notifications

Users not paying attention to push notifications is definitely another misconception that needs to be debunked. Push Notifications immediately grab attention. Why? Well, It’s a small dialog box that appears at the bottom left side of the desktop. Plus, it’s followed up by a default notification sound of your user’s PC, so saying that it’s not soaking up attention every time it pops up is plain wrong. So, if you say „Users don’t pay attention to Push Notifications“, you probabbly meant „ My Push is not converting as I wanted it to“. If so, then guess what, it’s time for a content upgrade.

Frequent Push mistakes

1. No Personalization

Custom messages have been successful and always will be. They are always more focused, giving more impressions and clicks. This alone will help you convert leads and ultimately,  make your customers return. The most important part is initiating a demographic analysis. In plain English, do some extensive research to see what your clients want and provide them with something truly worthy rather than just pushy general notifications that aren’t optimized for your targeted audience.

2. Bad Targeting

Targeting is essential.  If you want to reach your targeted audience, there are three key features you should definitely know about.

  • GEO(Location)
  • Demographics
  • Previous preferences/tastes fetched through cookies

While keeping this in mind, you can personalize your messages up to a point where you start to reach distinct customer groups. This leads to more clicks,  impressions, leads and conversions.

3. Time Zones Ignoring

Time zones in which your subscribers are living are very, very important.

Possibly the best choice to choose from is sending out push while your users are scrolling their feeds around breakfast/lunchtime. This has been proven as the most receptive period (or in other words, the period were users are highly interested in provided content), so use it wisely, don’t over-clog. Provide value instead.

4. Too Many Notifications

Honestly, would you like to hear a notification noise on the phone every hour? In addition, would you like to see that this is just another promo? You won’t like it, certainly. Quantity and that is the primary point, does not imply quality.

Send a message only when it needs immediate attention of the user. Do not send messages when you have nothing significant to reveal.

5. No Testing And Optimization

Let’s face it, Split-testing, statistical outputs from your users, as well as clicks & impressions are strong indicators that will help you have a very successful campaign. No testing and lack of optimization will eventually lead to your push being boring to your subscribers. Bottom line, you need to include fresh methods, clear messages, and top-notch content if you want your push to convert.

How to solve Push Notification problems?

Behavior-Based Targeting

There are many reasons why people go online. More than you can imagine.Shopping, travel, policy comparisons, information related to credits and loans, etc. The list is never-ending. But, for the sake of the argument, let’s consider the online shopping scenario.

This would be an ideal scenario, but only if  69.23% of users didn’t abandon the cart at the very last moment, which has been shown as very frequent in this particular niche. Solution? Abandoned cart push notification prompts aimed at re-targeting and retrieving these users that were almost lost.

This is just a basic example that shows how Behavior-based targeting works, but it’s most certainly applicable in every niche, not just online shopping.

Setting up Double Opt-in

This is best explained through an example, so,  for instance – first, send a web message through your browser that’s asking the user if he’d like to receive any notifications. Once he clicks on allow, he’ll receive the actual browser opt-in prompt. This makes sure that your user experience remains undamaged, potentially creating space for new customers that will actually engage with your push notifications.

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