In this article I would like to give you a few practical tips for you to use in order to improve the way you make use of the push notifications.

You may have heard about some of these practices and there is a lot of theory written all over the internet but nobody really tells you how to actually get it done, so, in this article I'll try to extract a few important things from my experiences with push notifications and provide a list of relevant and easy to use tips on how to make your push notifications attractive to your subscribers.

1. Keep it short

Aside from the fact that almost nobody reads mountains of text unless they are specifically interested in the content, different browsers display different amounts of characters within the notification title and body.

The maximum length of the title and message of push notifications in a few operating systems using different browsers can be seen in the image below:

Remembering all lengths for all the different browsers is not something you would want or should do and because of that if you can keep your title length below 32 characters and your message around 49 characters long you can safely assume that your push notification will be displayed the way you want it to on most devices, operating systems and browsers.

2. Create urgency

Creating urgency will prevent your push notification from being forgotten rather than being ignored and purpose of the urgency is mainly to incentivize the user into taking immediate action.

The goal is to persuade the user to interact with your notification the moment the notification is received.

Titles that contain "Today ONLY!", "Don't miss this!", "40% OFF this week", "It's NOW or never" and other similar urgency creating combinations tend to perform better than others.

If you are serious about your urgency I would also suggest capitalizing important words in your titles.

3. Personalize your push notifications

Personalizing push notifications is one of the most important things to do and impacts the actions taken by the visitors a great deal.

Sending a personalized push notification to a user makes him feel special and leaves the impression that the message was created specifically for him.

The difference between "Hey! Don't miss it!" and "Hey John! Don't miss it" is huge. The click-through rate for personalized push notifications is around 32% higher than the regular non-personalized ones.

Use first names, last names, places, countries, browsers, or anything you can to try to personalize the push notifications you are sending.

To compose a practical example, let's assume that your name is John and you live in New York, and you receive two similar messages. You be the judge. Which of them you would be more inclined to click on?

Hey John! Don't miss this!
30% discount for orders made today in New York!
vs Don't miss this!
30% discount for orders made today!

4. Segmentation

The era of bulk mailing / messaging is over. No more mass stuff. People grew tired of unwanted information being delivered to them and while you might get away with longer messages or titles, or not creating urgency or not personalizing, you will definitely not get away without properly segmenting your push notifications.

People will unsubscribe if they consider the push notifications they receive irrelevant to them. That's a fact. Nobody enjoys being spammed with stuff they have no interest in, plus, if used wrong, the push notifications can become quite intrusive and annoying.

To maintain the growth of your subscriber base and to increase the click-through rate, you must segment your push notifications.

Use all the targeting features you have at hand such as geotargeting, language targeting, browser targeting, operating system targeting and pretty much anything else you can think of, so that the users that receive your push notification are more likely to show interest towards it.

The segmentation does require a bit more work than just sending a notification to everyone but doing it the "hard" way is way more rewarding in terms of actual conversions that you will get for your push notifications.

5. Strong creatives

Some browsers allow you to attach big images to your push notifications. Among the browsers that allow large images within the notifications is Chrome, which is awesome because in 2019 Chrome holds roughly 66% of the market share.

Large images are a fantastic way to make your push notification stand out from all the others. Get creative with your designs, humans are visual creatures.

Aside from large images within your notifications you could also throw in an emoji every now and then although I strongly recommend being careful with emojis because if used wrongly they can make the text harder to read.

6. Timing

Timing your push notifications right is very important, especially when it comes to mobile devices because the push notifications on these machines are accompanied by a sound alert.

Imagine receiving a push notification at 3:00 AM, I'm positive that if it manages to wake you up you will instantly unsubscribe.

From my experience the best way to handle the timing problem is to send notifications to your users around the time they subscribed. This will not only reduce the unsubscription rate but will also increase your chances for your users to interact with your notification.

7. Volumes

While this matter may be somewhat related to common sense, I still wanted to bring it up just to make sure nothing is left unsaid.

Nobody likes being spammed, and as previously mentioned, push notifications can be quite spammy if abused. To maintain the healthy growth of your subscriber base limit the amount of push notifications you are sending on a daily basis as much as you can.

To give a more practical example I refrain from sending more than 5 push notifications per day, and so far I haven't received any complaints.

This number can and will vary based on the type of website or web application you have. For instance, a chat application sending notifications on missed messages may send considerably more than 5 push notifications per day without being penalized for it, while a restaurant notifying about daily menus and cuisine should definitely keep it around 1 or 2 push notifications per day at most.

Final thoughts

The main reason why I wanted to publish this article was to try to bring my contribution to improving the usage of push notifications and to help educate webmasters and website owners regarding the possibilities that push notifications offer if used properly.

The benefits of using the previously mentioned tips for website owners are somewhat obvious since these practices will definitely improve how users respond to and interact with the push notifications, but there is more to this, because if you put these tips into practice you will also improve the user experience.

I mentioned the user experience because I have already seen a lot of people and so called advertising companies that are ruining the reputation of push notifications out of sheer greed. In the long run, this greed will not only make people be reticent to push notifications, but they will also compromise another way for them to improve their income.

We've been given something awesome! Let's use it right!

Written with passion by
Demetrius Tautu, founder of DigitalPUSH