How to Cure 'Notification Numbness'

Three Ways Marketers Can Improve Push Notifications

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"Notification numbness" is spreading through today's mobile society. When driving down the street, we can predict with a high degree of accuracy when our devices will push us a notification telling us about a local savings offer at the business we just passed. The first couple of times this is fantastic. Knowing there is a BOGO offer or savings now at our favorite store catches our attention immediately, but it quickly wanes as it becomes routine every time we pass and ignore, delete or turn the notification for that app off.

Notifications are a core component to effective one-to-one mobile marketing and app retention. This is not to critique push notifications, but to highlight how optimizing delivery can help brands and consumers both win. Notifications provide consumers with highly valuable time-sensitive information and will continue to grow in usage as wearables become more entwined in our day-to-day activities and beacons proliferate into all aspects of life. The core way people are interacting with their smart watches today is largely driven by notifications, and with the AppleWatch on the horizon, notifications will play a key part of engagement.

There are a number of ways consumers can engage with push notifications that we can look to leverage. There is basic opt-in (on iOS with Android, consumers are generally opted-in automatically) -- this is what you receive when you download the app and are prompted to allow for push. According to a blog post from Localytics, 52% of people opt-in to receive push notifications when they download an app.

As marketers, we can help provide additive experiences to consumers with relevant messages and offers based on our knowledge of how to speak with consumers and leverage data to drive relevancy.

Here are three quick remedies to help cure notification numbness from an application perspective and as marketers looking to integrate their brands into third-party applications.

1. Deploy consumer-centric tactics. According to Urban Airship, a leader in the push notification space, their "Good Push Index" study of over 1,000 apps showed that on average, push drives four times more engagement and two times more retention for the application than standard broadcast messages. When simple targeting and segmentation are added, they see up to 300% to 500% greater response than broadcast messages. When a user's location history is added, they see an additional increase in response rate of four to five times. The problem is that most apps are not using any significant targeting, and even fewer are using location history. Applications should maximize these tactics in order to drive optimal consumer experiences and response.

2. Deliver custom messages based on history. Embrace beacons and create targeted connections based on user history and location. When consumers are not engaging with your notification, then optimize messages. According to Inmarket, oversaturation and irrelevant beacon pushes caused app usage to decline; sending more than a single beacon push per location caused a 313% percent drop in app usage. Beacon messaging can increase shopper interactions 45% more than traditional push messaging, but make sure the messages are relevant.

3. Find good content partners. Notifications can be co-created with publishers and provide more content as opposed to discounts on products. Not all companies and brands have applications in order to provide relevant information to consumers at the point of consideration, so partnering with content publishers can help drive immediate scale and relevancy.

As we rapidly move into a world of connected everything, push notifications leveraging location, historical usage, beacons, and entire stores being mapped out digitally to the aisle and shelf location, we need to be extra careful to connect with consumesr in valuable ways, not just mass push. We must learn from our partners, such as Urban Airship and Inmarket, as well as our own campaigns to optimize and create cures for notification numbness.

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