APNS_LogoThere is a lot of data out there on both the pros and cons of using push notifications in your mobile app. And with 52% of users enabling push devices, the debate is going to increase. Just weeks after Kahuna released data showing that up to 60% of users opt-out of push notifications, they came back with data that showed up to a 40% click-through-rate, with the top apps performing 4x better than the worst.

But can you overuse push notifications, and drive your customers away? That’s a theory put forth in a recent white paper by Swrve5, who offer 5 mistakes that can lead to ineffective, or worse, deleted, mobile apps. We offer you their five mistakes, with our thoughts and advice.

  1. Asking for Opt-In at the wrong time (and without context): Swrve says that current opt-in rates are around 50%, which means your push campaigns are only reach at most half of their potential anyway.
    • Think strategically about when you are asking to send push updates. Don’t force it when a user first downloads the app. Let them get to know your brand first.
    • Think critically about what your most important push updates are. If you’re a restaurant, is it your daily special? If you’re a small business, is it a holiday sale, or do you want to remind people when they are within range of your business?
    • Be sure that the user knows exactly how they will benefit from opting in.Push-Notifications
  2. Sending too many messages (to all the wrong people): We’ve all seen those apps that seem to ping you all the time. Sometimes that’s nice, but it can be way to overwhelming to many of us, who blindly opt into push notifications without realizing what we’re doing. Send too many messages, and your user will opt out of all of them, or worse yet, just delete your app.
    • Think through your current business model. If you’re a brick and mortar, how often do you engage an individual when they are in your store? Are you constantly barraging them, or do you let them come to you?
    • You can see what your users are linking to through your My Mobile Fans analytics. Find what appeals to them the most, and spend time on those messages.
    • Create segmented push lists based on user preferences. If you only read the sports page of your local newspaper every day, there is nothing worse than constantly being barraged with news of Taylor Swift and Mylie Cyrus!
  3. Waiting too long: More dangerous than moving too fast is moving too slow. We all know the amount of information and apps at a users literal fingertips. Wait too long and you’ll get lost in the shuffle. We’ll highlight how to make your app more sticky in a future blog post, but users typically make their mind up on your app after 3 visits.
    • Set a goal for when you’ll invite your user to opt-in to your push strategy. Then follow up with them.
    • Send an automated opt-in request after a set number of visits.
  4. Failing to deep link: If the user has already downloaded the app, they know what the home page and key top pages do. So why do we constantly redirect users back to the pages they are already familiar with? With the depth of mobile apps these days, the good stuff is likely buried somewhere they will never find in the short amount of time they spend on a mobile app anyway.
    • Remember what’s important to you. If it’s a daily or seasonal special – direct the user directly to that. They’ll find there way back to the main menu if they want to.
    • Every time be sure that whatever the push incentive is, it’s pointed directly at the end result.
  5. Measuring the wrong thing: Again, what’s important to you? Are you sending notifications just to generate clicks, or are trying to drive revenue and engagement?
    • Don’t settle on a blanket push campaign. Focus on something specific – an event, a special, a revenue goal – and run with that.


Push campaigns are a wonderful, and necessary, part of your user experience with your mobile app. Used well, you can dramatically increase engagement and revenue. Used poorly, you’re likely to see an increase in user inactivity, and even deleted apps. How does your current mobile strategy reflect your overall business model and marketing efforts? 

Comments are closed.