In one of our previous blog posts, we have already talked about how annoying push notifications can be if not optimized. We understand that this channel of communication can be tricky. Have you read about how just a little carelessness proved extremely harmful for Myntra. The app spammed its users with too many notifications, about orders which were not even placed as claimed by users.
Using this channel as a means of generating sales and engagement can be tricky. This is what Eric Karjauluoto, the founder at Office Hours, has to say about push notifications:
“Our approach is to use notifications sparingly and judiciously, so we don’t bug our members. As such, we only send notifications when doing so is critical.”
Erics’s idea of making push notifications work is simple – time them well, and don’t spam!
Having formed a case for timing web push notifications, we will discuss the right timing and push notification best practices.
Why Marketers Need To Time Notifications Right
Marketers are missing out on a lot of potential website engagement and conversions by not timing their push notifications right. However, 35% of push notifications are still broadcast messages. Though this trend has been despised by many, marketers have still not been able to nail the timing right.
If your user is saying, why did I receive this notification now when I don’t need it, then your notifications service has defeated its purpose. Imagine a countdown sale that is running on the weekend, and you are notifying your users on a previous Monday. They are likely to forget about the upcoming sale in a few hours.
Your notifications will surely not fetch you much engagement in this case. Here are some Push notification best practices.
Your Push Notification Timing Strategy Is Everything
#1. Remember the Time Zone
Your users are all across the globe and you cannot target them all with notifications sent out for a single time zone. A Monday sale notification will not work for users in the part of the world where it is a Tuesday today.
Push notifications have come a long way from when they were still in their nascent stage. Today it is possible to schedule alerts according to time zones and ensure they are least disturbing. You can ensure that no notification goes out at the time when your users are asleep. Scheduling your notifications is one of the must do’s if you are sending out notifications. Send out alerts at a particular time and day, and make sure that your users around the world receive the notification at the same time. Here’s an interesting post on the do’s and don’ts of push notifications just in case you’d like to give it a read.
Important Note: While sending out push notifications by time zone will make your notifications relevant and non intrusive, pushing them out at the optimal time will skyrocket engagement. How do you define optimal time? Where scheduling as per time zone takes users as a collective segment, optimal timing considers individual app engagement. Notification is pushed out automatically depending on when users are most likely to open them and engage. Each user is sent notifications as per personalized timings based on their history.
#2. Set the Frequency Right
Not just the timing, but the frequency or the intervals at which you send out your web push notifications also plays an important role in making them effective. Though sending reminders or notifications repeatedly can increase recall, make it too frequent and you will only put off your users. For eCommerce websites, such as fashion or apparel brands, the right frequency would be three to four times a day for an ongoing sale or seasonal discount.
#3. Plan Your Campaigns Before Hand
Is Christmas arriving in a month or so? You’ll need to gear up for your web push notification campaigns beforehand. Sync up your event calendar and notification schedule. Make sure that general notifications do not overlap with Christmas campaign specific notifications. In the holiday season, it becomes all the more important to set the right frequency for your notifications. Sending too many notifications will only make your users miss out on the important ones.
Important Note: Keep in mind that you start sending your notifications about sales or festive discounts at least a month before the festival’s date. Do not send any important alerts or messages on the festival’s date itself while people are busy celebrating and might actually miss out on such alerts from you.
#4. Best Time of Day to Send Push Notifications
Is there a ‘good day’ to send out your notifications? Any fixed day of the week that will fetch you more click-throughs or conversions than a notification sent out on some other day? While you cannot pick a day from your week that shows you better results than the other, it always makes sense to send reminder alerts just one day before the actual sale or event. For example, if you are an online blog running an online contest for young writers, and your event is planned for the weekend, you should send out reminder notifications on a Friday to all those who have registered.
Keep these Push Notification Best Practices in Mind
- Understand Your Audience: Study your user demographics, behaviors, and preferences. This information will help you determine when your audience is most likely to be active and receptive to notifications.
- Time Zones: Consider the time zones of your users. Sending notifications during hours when your audience is most active in their local time zones can increase engagement.
- Behavioral Analysis: Use data analytics to track user behavior patterns. Identify when users are most active within your app or website and schedule notifications accordingly.
- Peak Engagement Times: Typically, peak engagement times are during morning commutes, lunch breaks, and evenings. Experiment with sending notifications during these times to see if it boosts engagement.
- Appropriate Frequency: Avoid bombarding users with too many notifications. Striking a balance between staying engaged and not becoming intrusive is essential. Monitor user responses and adjust the frequency accordingly.
- Event-Based Notifications: Send notifications based on specific user actions or events, such as completing a purchase, reaching a milestone, or receiving a message.
- Personalized Timing: Utilize user data to send notifications at personalized times. For example, if a user often logs in around 3 PM, send notifications around that time for better results.
- A/B Testing: Conduct A/B tests to determine the best timing for your push notifications. Test different sending times and analyze the results to find the optimal time.
- Local Holidays and Events: Be aware of local holidays and events that might impact user behavior. Sending notifications during such times can be more effective.
- Seasonal Variations: Different seasons might influence user behavior. Adjust your notification timing based on how your audience’s habits change throughout the year.
- Push and Pull Strategy: Combine push notifications with a pull strategy, where users can access the notification content within your app or website at their convenience.
- Snooze and Do Not Disturb: Respect user preferences by offering options to snooze notifications or enable “Do Not Disturb” mode. This can improve user satisfaction and prevent annoyance.
- Dynamic Timing: Use real-time data and predictive analytics to send notifications at times when users are most likely to engage based on their historical behavior.
- Relevant Content: Timing alone isn’t enough; ensure that your notifications contain valuable and relevant content that encourages users to take action.
- Monitor and Adapt: Continuously monitor the performance of your notifications. Track open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to refine your timing strategy over time.
To Wrap Up
One of the elements of habit-forming products is timing. You need to align the external and internal triggers correctly to fetch maximum engagement and conversions on your push notifications. Imagine you are just 10 minutes away from a store that sells umbrellas.
It is a bright sunny day and you are in dire need for one. Better still, you get a notification showing lovely umbrellas on a discount. You’ll be tempted to walk right to the store and buy one, won’t you? Timing is indeed the key to effective web push notifications.
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