What It Means To Truly Personalize Your Push Notifications
Personalization is a popular topic, rapidly gaining “buzzword” status for those working in the mobile app space, especially when it comes to leveraging mobile marketing to drive growth. In this industry, personalization is used to describe a way of targeting customers with specific communications, particularly customized for them.
A more detailed description of personalization is that it’s a means of meeting customers’ needs more effectively and efficiently. It makes interactions faster and easier, which increases customer satisfaction and likelihood of repeat visits, builds engagement (reducing what we in the biz call churn), and consequently increases mobile growth.
Personalization can be attributed to all types of marketing campaigns, but here we’re going to focus on how it’s used for push notification campaigns, and explain why most mobile marketers aren’t personalizing their notifications to the best of their abilities.
Every marketer who looks after push notifications thinks of them in a different way. Personalization is primarily approached from the marketer’s perspective. As a result, push notifications are sent using combined knowledge of the user’s profile, history, recent activity, and typically time to determine when the message will go out. At first, this may seem like an opportune time to re-engage an app user, but does time really make it all that personal?
The Best Time is Rarely the Best Moment
Say an app sends a push notification with the goal of getting a user to complete a purchase. It might be scheduled a few days after app install and at a specific time of day, for example, 5:00 pm. On paper it seems like a good time to complete the purchase, but what happens to all those users commuting home, in meetings at work, or anyone else away from their phones? This is a good example of a wasted opportunity.
The underlying problem is that marketers collect crucial customer data, which they then use to map out the best delivery time — more and more, this “best time” is from the marketer’s perspective, rather than the user’s perspective.
It’s important to note the word “time” in this case literally refers to a time of day. In reality, marketers should be considering when is the right “moment.” Time is not effective anymore, because marketers will never truly know when is the right time for every app user.
When factoring other information, like all the constant “noise” that mobile devices generate, busy, on-the-go lifestyles, time isn’t good enough on its own – unless it doesn’t matter if the message is read or not. The right moment should mesh together knowledge of user info with meaningful context and real-time data to ensure that each and every user receives that message in a similar but personalized type of experience. This is true advanced personalization.
Best Moment vs. Best Time
How do you differentiate between the two? Using the same mobile purchase criteria from above, say you want to deliver a personalized purchase notification at the best moment for each user. If context is added to the equation, then that same notification will trigger between the hours of noon and 5:00 pm local time, when the device is first unlocked, the user is connected to Wi-Fi and they are at home, on a weekend.
Here’s an example of true advanced personalization, because it uses real-time user context to guarantee a better delivery moment than the original example. It’s important to remember that true personalization is meeting your customer’s needs more effectively and efficiently, whilst increasing satisfaction and likelihood of repeat visits – remember from the definition above.
Here’s why advanced personalization makes sense. When push notifications are tailored for the right moment and take into consideration user context, then you’re thinking user-first. Messages delivered in this way are seen exactly when they’re meant to be, tend to live in the lock screen less often and lead to improved overall app experiences. The needs of mobile users are satisfied without needing to be bombarded with too many poorly managed messages. Less is more.
Data-driven marketers can demonstrate the impact of advanced personalization campaigns by comparing notification analytics. While it differs greatly from app to app, and message to message, the well acknowledged benchmarks for push notifications are 2-4% click-through rates*, with no guarantee that the messages are delivered in the first place. With such low expectations, marketers’ resort to analyzing for other metrics like Daily Active Users (DAU), Monthly Active Users (MAU) and even app usage following push notification campaigns. Advanced personalization techniques, using Smart Push Notifications contribute to interaction rates of 60-70% and app open rates of 20-45%, and often 10x times industry norms.
Mobile marketing will continue to be an important part of an ever-evolving market, and it’s almost certain that technological breakthroughs will continue to rapidly advance new opportunities along. For all those data-driven marketers out there, we suggest that you try adding contextual triggers, user names, and other rich information in your next notification campaign. Begin to think about the moment that your message is delivered from your user’s point of view. It’s worth noting that this article was mainly written to highlight problems associated with personalized delivery of a notification. Other areas of advanced personalization to consider include adding first names into the message content, use of emojis, alternating display types and maintaining consistent display settings and global notification limits.