Up Your Push Notification Game in 8 Simple Steps

Stefanie Steiner manages user retargeting and retention for Flixbus — a mobility app that books trips to over 2000 destinations across 29 countries.

Push notifications can increase app engagement by 88% and 2X your user retention. Perfecting your push notifications is the low-hanging fruit that can drive enormous growth for your app.

HOW TO: Use push notifications to boost retention, engagement, and lifetime value

1. Convince users to opt into your push notifications through in-app messages

Characterize your push notifications as helpful, interesting, and exclusive. Appeal to user emotions and make them feel like they’ll be missing out if they don’t opt in.

Customize your in-app messaging to hit the right emotions in the right users.

2. Test different texts and timeframes for your in-app messages to maximize opt-ins

Is a user most likely to opt in when they first open the app? When they’ve made a purchase? Test each key moment of the user journey, as well as different messaging, to find your highest click rate.

A/B test all the different variables, then automate your winning messaging.

3. Split test your notification creatives and timing to boost click rate

Flixbus found that including a picture increased CR 57%, while emojis only increased it 12%. Sending a push in the evening got a 20% higher CR than in the morning. Learn exactly when and what your own users respond to.

In addition to upsells, use push notifications to introduce new features and information. Just make each one engaging and interesting.

4. Personalize notifications by including first names and customizing offers based on past behavior

Their in-app activity tells you about their interests — create special offers based on that data. Flixbus also found that including their first name yielded a 38% higher CR, but test this as well.

If you have a geo-based app, you can also personalize with location-specific offers →

5. Increase user retention with reactivation notifications

Stefanie sends out a special offer to users after 12 weeks of inactivity, and at the 1-year sign-up anniversary. Use push notifications at key moments to re-engage users that you’d otherwise lose.

Of course, it’s better to keep customers engaged in the first place. Analyze cohort behavior to find out which features keep users around and where they’re losing interest.

6. Combine push notifications, email & SMS into pre-planned customer journeys

E.g., send an email → if no activity after 1 week → follow up with a push notification → then 3 hours later another email, etc. Just like your notifications, test rigorously to see what combination of events and timing drives the most engagement.  

7. Segment your users and build each group a customized journey for even better results

In-app activity helps you deduce a user’s interests and motivations. Use that data to group together users that are likely to respond to the same sequences and offers.

Automate your journeys and track which channels, offers, and timing get the best response rates from which groups in order to make constant improvements.


8. Time your notifications to stand out from other apps

Flixbus was getting a low CR for notifications sent on Black Friday. Looking closer, they realized it was because users were getting flooded with notifications from other apps on that day.


Next: App Promotion Summit, Data Live!

February 28th, 2019

Mitte, Berlin