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Last update: May 2021

2021-05-12

Notification Segmentation & Personalization: Frequency Limits

One important aspect of push notification personalization that often gets swept under the rug is frequency. How many notifications does a certain segment of users get every day/week/month/year? How often in that timeframe are you pushing them out? It may seem like a non-issue, that you will just send out notifications on an as-they-arise basis. But it’s actually to your benefit to determine the optimal frequency for sending push notifications… and this can be different from user to user as well.

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notification frequency

Determining a Set Frequency for Your Push Notifications?

Why determine this ahead of time? Why not just send notifications organically, as information or situations come up where you need to communicate with your user?

Obviously, it’s one of the cardinal sins of mobile marketing to send too many push notifications too often. You will irritate your users if you send them too many notifications when you have nothing important to say. And this will result in opt-outs and app uninstalls.

However, too few push notifications is also a problem. Push notifications are your way of keeping users engaged with your app, and if you don’t take advantage of this crucial mode of marketing you risk low conversion rates and high churn rates.

What Is the Optimal Frequency?

This is a tricky question, with no hard and fast answer. Users tolerance for how many push notifications they receive will vary from person to person according to different demographics, such as culture, schedule, location, and more.

Age especially is a driving factor in how many push notifications a user will tolerate. Younger users (Millennials and Gen Z) who are more used to receiving digital content tend to respond more positively to push notifications, whereas older device users (Gen X and Baby Boomers) not so much. HelpLama found in a survey of app users that 57% of users above the age of 60 said they disable their push notifications if they received more than 2 per week, whereas 31% of users between the ages of 18 and 29 said they would disable their push notifications.

Push Notifications by Industry

What industry your app belongs to can also feed in to the optimal frequency of push notifications users will expect. Are notifications integral to the utility of your app? For example, a messenger or chat app will obviously send users multiple notifications per day – they signed up for that when they installed the app. However, users will probably not be so happy to hear from a finance or banking app so often.

Business of Apps finds that

“Recipients of software & SAAS pushes consistently unsubscribe at the highest rate, and see a real spike in unsubscribes at the 11-15 per day mark. Senders of ecommerce and media, publishing & blogging push notifications enjoy the greatest levels of tolerance, while BFSI can get away with five before faced with a sharp increase in unsubscribes.”

Of course, another component that drives opt-outs is also generic, poorly personalized, and irrelevant content. Personalization is a delicate dance of many factors, of which optimal frequency is just one.

push notification unsubscribe frequency
Image Source: https://vwo.com/ebooks/push-notifications-report-2018/

Automate Your Push Notification Frequency With OpenBack

Rather than doing this manually, OpenBack lets you set a targeted frequency for sending push notifications for different segments of users. This feature is unique to OpenBack’s platform, which uses edge computing to process all data device-side. It allows apps to control the number of notifications each user receives, as well as enforce minimum timespans between notifications.

Set this all up on your dashboard, then be sure to track your results carefully. Perform A/B testing for each different user segment to ensure that you’re hitting that perfect frequency to engage and draw users in, rather than drive them away.

And remember, it’s not just HOW OFTEN but also WHEN you send your push notifications. Use OpenBack’s Night Mode feature to block out “no-send” windows, so as not to disturb users with notifications when they’re sleeping, as well as at other inopportune times.

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