Most times developers and companies measure their app’s success based on the downloads of their app; but most forget that the app only gets profitable if the user actually uses it. The “traffic of the users” on the app is what actually measures its success. You could attract the user to download the app but the question is the user actually using the app after a week, a month or a year. This in the app world is called retention of users.
Keeping the users engaged is one of the most difficult stages; especially in this fast-paced world where similar functionality apps are being introduced in the market with new and better features. This is where customer loyalty comes into play. A loyal customer is the one that will choose your app over your competitors even after a week, a month or a year. The key to gaining a loyal customer could be achieved by gentle “pushing” – in the app world known as a Push Notification.

​What Are Push Notifications and How Do They Help?

As most of you must be aware, they are the messages that pop up on your smartphone reminding to use the app or sending you offers and updates.  As a whole, push notifications are effective; they encourage both purchases and user retention. However, these messages become even more effective when they’re expertly crafted and personalized.
It’s worth investing time and effort into building push notifications that users really care about. These ensure the most engagement. Remember, if your push messages aren’t valuable, people will simply opt out; or perhaps they won’t opt in to begin with.
As per Localytics, most app users who have enabled push notifications will use an app for at least 9 sessions, with 46% remaining beyond the unofficial retention point of 11 sessions. However, almost half of users who don’t enable push notifications will abandon an app after just 2 sessions. Also, they discovered that the perception of push notifications has improved over time, with 52% of respondents to a 2018 poll stating that pushes were better than they were several years ago.
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There are 3 essential types of push notifications to inspire loyalty from your users: 

  1. Mechanical Push Notifications
  2. Behavioral Push Notifications
  3. Location-based Push Notifications

Let’s take a look at each one in detail.

1. Mechanical Push Notifications: This type of push notification is sent for a specific activity – it is triggered by a user action, predetermined time, or event. 


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  • User Action: For instance, if the user has been shopping on an e-commerce app and leaves their cart abandoned, he/she will get a push notification to go back and purchase the items. Nearly, 75% of all shopping carts are abandoned – hence, mechanical push notifications are important.

  • Time: For instance, a phone provider will send a notification to the user 24 hours before their card expires. If an app is integrated with a calendar, it can send reminders every time a user has an event planned.


  • Event: For instance, if someone comments or likes a picture on Facebook, the user will get a notification stating so. This push notification is triggered by a simple event.

Mechanical push notifications are used in a wide variety of apps and have simple logic. Google and Apple provide their own native services for building mobile apps with push notifications for business. Check out these services for Android and iOS.
To set up mobile app push notifications, you can also use third-party tools such as Kinvey, Localytics, and Kumulos. Their advantage is that they can be used cross-platform.

​2. Behavioral Push Notifications: This type of push notification uses Artificial Intelligence to gauge user behavior based on user data and statistics. In other words, the application predicts what the user wants before they even know it.


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A recent study by Localytics discovered that users consider notifications triggered by in-app behavior as spying. About 49 percent of respondents stated that they prefer apps that send pushes based on stated preferences over in-app behavior.
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  • New Releases: For instance, if a new comedy show is going to be released on Amazon Prime, and the user has seen most comedy shows on this platform; it will send a push notification to the user that a new show is going to be released soon.


  • New Arrivals: Similarly, if the user has been shopping in a certain store, for instance Marks and Spencer and a sale is going to come up; M&S will send a push notification to user intimating them about the upcoming sale.

H&M uses deeply personalized behavioral push notifications to increase sales. The H&M app acts as a personal stylist, offering items that go great with your latest purchases.
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  • Cheer-up Notifications: Apps belonging to Fitness genre or Mental Health genre would ideally send out a message to the user during the day. For example, Activity app on Apple Watch is a fitness app that sends helpful and supportive notifications during the day; MyFitnessPal, will kindly remind you if you forget to log a meal; Headspace, a mental health app, sends users notifications to improve their mental state.

3. Location-based Push Notifications: This type of push notification is geo-targeted; which means that it is sent to the user when they go to a certain place. These are relatively new in the market. Say for example, if the user has an M&S app, they will be sent a notification that a M&S store is 500m from their current location. 

According to a Localytics survey from 2018 of 1,000 smartphone users, 49% would use an application more if it sent them push notifications in their hometown, and 42% said they would use an app more if it sent pushes triggered by their present location.
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Two types of location-based push notifications:

  • Based on collected user data: This type of notification is based on a user’s IP address, city, region, and country.


  • Geo-triggered pushes: Such notifications are sent in real time when a user enters or leaves a certain geographic zone (if they’ve shared their location via their phone).

These two types of location-based pushes may contain:

  • Announcement of discounts, rewards, and other special offers
  • Information about new products
  • Information about buying top-ups when travelling
  • Updates on the status of orders (for example, when a taxi has arrived)

Examples of location-based push notifications:
Welcome to Paris! At Starbucks? If you use Foursquare, you probably recognize these questions.
Alexa, set a reminder to pick up a book from Penguin Bookstore. When you pass by Penguin’s bookstore, Alexa will notify you. The Alexa app lets users adjust the reminder location radius to as close as 500 feet, which is helpful if you’re on foot.
Google Keep, an easy-to-use note-taking app, looks like a dashboard and provides a location-based option for each note. A user can tap “Remind me,” choose “Pick place,” and type an address or search for a location. Users can share notes and location-based reminders with friends who have Gmail accounts.
Don’t Push the User Away with Push Notifications  
Like they say, all good things should come in small packages; similarly, make sure that you do not overwhelm the user with push notifications. Sending them a lot of information in a short duration of time could drive the user away instead of winning him/her. Give the user the opportunity to choose the push notifications that he/she is interested in; for example, a retailer could add preferences such as, Online Specials, Product Suggestions, New Range, etc. 

When users download an app, give them the option to opt out of allowing you to collect data related to their location and send them pushes. Permission is key! You don’t want the user to feel like they are being stalked or their personal information is being used against them. Conduct thorough research and test notification timing and content to figure out what resonates with your customers.
If you are building your app and require assistance with setting push notifications, you can contact the App Scoop mobile app developers and app development team:

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