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urbanairshipPortland-based Urban Airship, a leading provider of mobile push notifications, released its latest Good Push Index report today, which examines the impact of push notification use on the company’s customers.

The key takeaway from the company’s data is that, for mobile app developers, push notifications provide tremendous value when it comes to retaining users. That makes sense: sending a push notification reminds users that they still have an app on their smartphone, and assuming that they still want to engage with that application’s content, a notification will drive engagement.

For example, Redbox’s first push notification generated 16 times more traffic on its site than its busiest day of the year, the report says.

In total, Urban Airship found that long-term retention was on average 92 percent higher each month for users who opted into push notifications.

But just spamming users with push notifications isn’t the answer, either. Urban Airship tried looking for the right notification frequency to get the most users to engage with an app, and they couldn’t find it. Instead, they said, it seems like the best way to get users involved with an app is to ensure that the push notifications they’re sent are high quality, whether they get one a week, or one every two hours. The report notes:

If push messages aren’t personally relevant and valued, or if they are brand-centric versus customer-centric, many users find that it’s easier to simply delete an app than to hunt for a preferences panel and toggle push notifications off.

…Beyond a subpar app, there’s probably no easier way to cause a mass exodus of users than by pushing self-serving, interruptive or annoying messages to the one device consumers always have with them.

Adding yet another wrinkle to the report is the fact that different app verticals actually see different effects from push notification use.

Credit: Urban Airship
Credit: Urban Airship

For example, while Retail, Gambling and Entertainment saw the greatest improvement in retention from the use of push notifications, Media, Sports and Gambling saw the best long-term retention rates.

Some of that may have to do with how different people engage with different kinds of apps, but it also means that basically everyone else needs to catch up to the gambling apps, whether in terms of increasing short-term retention, or boosting their long-term prospects.

For example, fifty percent of Betfair customer acquisitions come through mobile and 38 percent of customers opening pushes place bets immediately.


To get a full look at the report’s results, it can be downloaded here.

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