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Tackling push notification opt-outs : One strike and you're out

Posted on June 29, 2016
With: 0 Comments

People usually wake up to find a ton of notifications on their phone, although only a fraction of those are from people they actually know. The rest are from random apps trying to get them to check out new products, or inform them of certain discounts. Notice the word random? That's because these notifications are simply going to be swiped away unceremoniously in one go. And now, there's something that is going to help users do this way quicker.

Currently, more than half of Android users allow push notifications on their phones, compared to only 40% of their iOS counterparts. This can be attributed to the fact that the latter insist that apps collect location and push permissions at the time of install from the user, making it straightforward to refuse unless it's an app they're really keen on hearing from. In contrast, apps on Android receive permission to send push notifications by default at the time of installation. 

Disgruntled users have to turn this feature off manually, a roundabout way they're are less likely to take. With their new update, however, Android are making it way easier to block permissions. Now all a user has to do to is something as simple as press and hold a push message to opt out of further pushes. This means it's time to take mobile push engagement to the next level because now,  with one poorly crafted message, you could end up losing a major marketing channel to connect with that user. 

The repercussions: lesser app abuse

Applications, especially ones that the user hardly uses, can no longer afford to employ 'hit or miss' tactics with their content. If the user already doesn't want to hear from you, and your messages aren't that useful anyway, chances are your future Push messages will be blocked. Even regular users are less likely to give you a free reign, and a couple of irrelevant or untimely messages can get them reaching for that opt-out option. So how do you take it from here?

Tackling opt-outs
  • Prioritize and personalize content - The obvious starting point. If the your push messages contain useful information (rather than rhetoric aimed to imprint your brand on the user), it is unlikely that the user will look to exercise the opt-out. Push Notifications are like profiles on a dating site. There's just too much stuff the target user goes through in such a quick time, you'll never be noticed without 'stand-out' content. 
  • Implement carousel push better - We all know the problem with dynamic push messages. They usually have a killer first slide, but that's about it. They either go too fast, or way too slow, and never seem to stop at the one slide that contains the information the user is really interested in. By focusing on introducing proper pause and navigate buttons to enable the user to peruse them properly, brands can negate the 'more is less' problem and prevent carousels from being rendered completely useless.
  • Push timing and location : A smarter degree of personalization -Timing your push messages is an art, and perfecting it can make sure your message doesn't get swiped away into obscurity along with countless others. A badly timed push message might just end up sitting on the user's phone for ages without being seen, until the user is no longer interested in the information. Using user data to figure out when to send notifications based on time or location is an excellent idea. For example, a car pooling app that sends ride recommendations to its users based on their location and usual time of commute is more likely to engage with its user base and build up a sizable audience.

In summary, push notifications might have the widest reach among all marketing communication channels, but the flip side is that they're also the easiest for the user to opt out of, especially with this new update. Focusing on engaging, rather than annoying, your hard won user base may make the difference between utilizing this channel effectively or losing out to competitors who do. 


Naren Madan

Naren Madan

A thousand years from now, everything I said and did will become irrelevant, just like this bio.

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