What Is A Push Notification? And Why Should You Care?

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What is a push notification and how is it different from a text message?

Texts and push notifications are so similar that it can be tempting to lump them together and treat them the same way. They both arrive on a user’s mobile device, they both have to fit within tight character limits, but they both have average open rates that are over 90%.

So, why would anyone argue that push notifications are better? And again, what are push notifications?

Well, one consideration is cost. Many users do not have unlimited texting plans and will wind up getting charged for each text message you send. This can irritate users and lead them to look at your message negatively. Or, they may opt-out of future messages altogether, which is bad for business. In the infographic below we explain what is a push notification and how it can benefit your business.

what is a push notificationThe same is true on the business end as well. The cost to send out a massive amount of texts is relevant for many businesses, especially small ones, depending upon what service and platform are used to blast out messages. Push notifications, in contrast, are unlimited and totally free when you build and manage your app using Bizness Apps!

The opt-in / opt-out dynamic also favors push notifications, when it comes to user attitude. Users have total control over which apps send them notifications, and may even specify which types of notifications they want from each app. Text messages, on the other hand, often come unsolicited. In fact, due to the sale of phone number lists between companies, some users may receive spammy texts from time to time and view SMS as a lower-quality messaging channel.

Push notifications also increase engagement with your app and improve user retention rates. Thus, not only can they help drive activity on the topic of your message, they also help increase the returns you see from your app. Push notifications serve double duty and offer a number of benefits at once.

With Bizness Apps, we also enable you to send custom messages to your customers that entice them to come back into your business. For example, you can send a beautifully designed push notification message in seconds offering people 10% off their dinner within the next hour if things are slow during certain business hours.

This not only helps bring in new customers, but can help attract loyal customers back into your establishment. The return on investment here is absolutely staggering for a small business.

Whether you’re a small business owner with a mobile app or a seasoned marketer, sending your first push notification can feel a bit like cannon-balling into a pool full of strangers. I mean, what are push notifications anyways — as we keep asking? What is a push notification? It’s scary and awkward and somewhat invasive. Why?

  • There are no take-backs. Once it’s sent, it’s sent.
  • It can be tough to nail the timing.
  • You might end up annoying your users, or worse, driving them to uninstall.
  • They deliver front and center to users’ devices.

But clicking “send” doesn’t have to be daunting, and when done right, push notifications are an incredibly effective way to increase customer engagement. Below we’ll share some tips on navigating the push like a pro.

ALSO READ: Push Notification Basics Every Business Needs to Know

Whether you’re a small business owner with a mobile app or a seasoned marketer, sending your first push notification can feel a bit like cannon-balling into a pool full of strangers. It’s scary and awkward and somewhat invasive. Why? What are push notifications?

1. Avoid being pushy, despite the name.

You’d rather be invited into someone’s house than forced. Now apply that to push notifications. Condense and frame the title; for example: “We’re giving away 15 free pizzas! Click to learn more,” instead of “CLICK HERE for a chance to enter our free pizza contest giveaway!” Remember, it’s a message from you to the consumer and you have a limited amount of characters to work with, so make the most of them. Be human; avoid robotic language and play to the consumer’s interests and benefits, not just your own. What benefit do push notifications offer? Push notifications can serve as a great customer retention tool, but they need to be read! So what would make you click if you were on the receiving end?

2. Hit the right target.

Geofenced push notifications create virtual boundaries (or a “fence”) around a particular area, so only users who travel in and out of the fence for a specified period of time receive the message. You can customize the push notification’s fenced area and duration our platform, sending only to users who enter your chosen hot spots during the span of an hour, a day, a week, etc. This considerably lessens your odds of bugging people with irrelevant notifications. Say a frequent customer is on an out-of-state business trip—they probably won’t care about your half-off appetizers deal, so leave them out of it. Notify people who are most likely to take advantage: the ones nearby.

3. Don’t wake me up, and…

Hopefully we all agree that the wee hours of the morning should be push-free, but there’s a lot more to timing than just that. Since poorly planned push notifications can drive people away just as quickly as they arrived, it’s important to consider the lifestyle and habits of your average user. Studies show the best time to send push notifications is between noon and 5pm on weekdays. Mondays are best avoided, since the average smartphone user tends to be busiest at the start of the week, but Tuesday through Friday you’re golden. Now, this only accounts for the average user. If your target demographic works weekends or odd hours, you’ll need to factor that in. The main takeaway? Send your push notifications when users have enough downtime to read them, but don’t disrupt their quiet hours.

4. Appreciate your positioning.

Something remarkable about your small business drove users to download your app. Don’t forget that. Guiding your target audience to profitable decisions has never been easier with today’s technology, so USE IT. With push notifications, you’re already leagues above email marketing. According to research, push notifications see 50% higher open rates than emails—that’s nothing to sneeze at. Wield your power wisely. If users have invited you into their sacred mobile space, respect and appreciate your position.

What are push notifications? And how do they work with Bizness Apps? Here’s how it works:

1. First, enter your push notification message at your Bizness Apps dashboard online. This is just a simple piece of text that will let users know you’ve got something to share.

2. Then, choose the location you want to broadcast to (i.e. just your users in a particular neighborhood, or all your users throughout the entire world?)

Now the fun really begins…

3. After choosing your location, you can select your offer template. We have a variety of professionally created, industry-specific images for you to pick from, as well as your choice of color scheme. This ability to customize offer templates is an advanced feature that we are very proud of, and that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

4. Lastly, type in your offer text, and then set a date and time for sending. Now, you’re all set. Your offer is looking good and ready to help you drive some business!

Our push notifications also have a few extra features, just to sweeten the deal.
You can 1) sync your Facebook and Twitter accounts to the system, so that pushed offers are simultaneously posted to your social media pages, 2) choose what devices you message will go to (e.g. only Android users, or only iPhone users), and 3) send offers that contain a link to a URL or a tab within your app.

In short, our push notification system is one of the most advanced systems available, and it can be a major asset for boosting interaction with your users and increasing revenue.

How do you engage your customers with smart push messaging? Let us know in the comments!

Conclusion

So what is a push notification? When a user gets a push notification, it’s a message from a company they know and want to hear from. And from a business standpoint, the cost couldn’t be lower. Considering their effectiveness and ability to address a number of goals at once, we find push notifications to be just as good as, if not better than, text messages. (Of course, there’s no reason not to employ both in your marketing strategy, but if you can use only one, we know which one we prefer.)

To get started creating an app with free push notifications, click here.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in [February, 2014] and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Comments (12)

  • nacho Feb 18, 2014 at 17:02 PM

    The anticipated update, which you announced the other day, there will be some improvement for push notifications? as to eliminate the word template tab notifications?, improve the reliability of the notification pops really?
    Good work, push notifications are what has my best apps

    • Bizness Apps Feb 18, 2014 at 20:02 PM

      Absolutely there will be huge improvements. We will also be introducing “geo-fencing” for push notes. More details to come soon. 🙂

    • Andrew, CEO at Bizness Apps Feb 19, 2016 at 14:02 PM

      What are push notifications? With Bizness Apps we have the ability for them to be segmented and also geo-fenced for your clients. They’re a great way to keep in contact with your customers These 2 upgrades alone should provide a ton of value to your customers!

  • Suzanne Oct 09, 2014 at 17:10 PM

    We are a client. I need to send sms or push notifications to individual clients , transactional type ( your order is ready) how can i do this using your platform . Our app is EUINC embroidery unlimited

    • oladigbolu adewale Jan 28, 2016 at 20:01 PM

      Suzanne question is absolutely relevant in the industry I serve, I will kindly call on BiznessApps to reply

      • Jana Barrett Feb 09, 2016 at 16:02 PM

        Hey Oladigbolu,

        As of October 2015, we now offer segmented push notifications, which allow you to target individual users or groups! Please check out our recent blog post about our “Orange” release for more info!

    • Jana Barrett Feb 09, 2016 at 16:02 PM

      Hey Suzanne,

      We now offer user & group login capabilities and segmented push notifications, which achieve exactly what you’re looking for—targeted messages for individual users or groups. Please check out our recent blog post about our “Orange” release for more info!

  • Rosemary Jan 30, 2017 at 21:01 PM

    What this doesn’t do is tell the consumer how to stop the darn things

    • Kimberly de Silva Jan 31, 2017 at 11:01 AM

      Hi Rosemary,you can go into an app’s settings on your phone and change the push notification settings, if they bother you. Hope this helps!

  • Wilson Mar 31, 2017 at 05:03 AM

    “Really great article!” 🙂

  • PushAssist Apr 14, 2017 at 02:04 AM

    Push notifications as you have explained is a nifty tool which allows websites or app owners to push important updates, latest news, coupons or anything which they feel might be of interest to their users.

    Retaining a subscribers is not challenging if you follow good pratices and don’t bother your subscribers too much. Studies also suggests that pushing too much or too less won’t work. 1-2 notifications a week keeps them engaged.

    Scheduling a notification seems to be a great idea, so you send them at 11:30 AM on Tuesday or Wednessday and not on busy Monday.

    • Kimberly de Silva Apr 14, 2017 at 08:04 AM

      Thanks for the great insights!

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