OpenBack’s Ben Davern Joins Africacomicade to Talk Push Notifications
On March 27, 2021, OpenBack’s Head of Business Development Ben Davern attended Africacomicade, a creative platform that supports digital creatives across the games, animation, comics, and movie industry in Africa. He was joined by Lotanna Nwose, Co-Founder of InvestSika, a Ghana-based company that lets you invest in US stocks from Africa, and Andrew Miracle, Co-Founder of KPI Lens, a monitoring and evaluation tool that enables development organizations to automate their reporting process. Together they chatted about push notifications, and their potential use cases for boosting user engagement and revenues for mobile apps and games.
What Is Africacomicade?
Africacomicade is a digital platform that provides opportunities to African creatives in the digital space to connect, network, learn about new opportunities, and celebrate their work. Their aim is to foment collaboration between creatives, entrepreneurs, and similar professionals, while driving investment in the creative industry. Through events and conferences such as Saturday’s, they also hope to build infrastructure, mentorship, and other resources for Africa’s creative sphere.
The Potential for Push Notifications in the Gaming Space
Ben opened up the conversation with an overview of how integral push notifications are to user engagement for mobile apps and games. Apps that use notifications see 57% increased user engagement, and a 50% increase in lifetime user value (LTV). These rates are even higher for mobile games. However, standard click-through rates in the mobile engagement industry sit at an abysmal 1.5%, with a 50% opt-out rate. These poor results are largely due to the industry-wide poor UX that people associate with push notifications.
OpenBack tries to keep the good points of push notifications – they drive retention, engagement, and LTV – while solving UX issues. The 3 main pillars of OpenBack are Reliability, Personalization, and Data-Compliant, and he talked about each of these matters.
Personalization, Reliability, and Metrics
Rather than sending out mass notification blasts, personalized push notifications segmented according to user cohorts means users will feel they are being communicated with on an individual level.
Reliable delivery is also a common issue among traditional push notification platforms. Especially when an app hasn’t been opened in a while – an issue Ben specifically addressed to Lotanna, whose app is in the fintech space – notifications can suffer from delivery delays and even failures. OpenBack solves this problem through our device-side data leveraging, using edge computing, which results in instant delivery. Developers can then optimize the moment of delivery using 30+ data signals, to ensure it gets to the user at a time that’s convenient for them.
The OpenBack dashboard then provides you with complete metrics to analyze the performance of your push campaign, including what messages were delivered, what share of your active users came from push notifications, your goal conversions, etc. Most importantly, it allows you to measure your Return on Push, i.e. how much is your push service costing you, and how much are you making from it?
OpenBack and Africacomicade in Discussion
For the second part of the session, the moderators from Africacomicade asked questions about how push notifications – and specifically OpenBack – could drive revenues for mobile app developers.
Lotanna: What makes push notifications so special? In Africa, they are often the last thing mobile developers think of. Why should I, as a developer, prioritize them?
Ben responded that push notifications are a supremely important way to drive a good relationship with users. And at the end of the day, you’re not going to make any money if users aren’t opening your app. Moreover, he looked at how OpenBack is unique in that it specializes in push notifications, without bundling in email or SMS marketing.
“Over the coming decade, push notifications are going to be the primary form of customer engagement and long-term brand-building. They’re a much more personalized, intimate way of engaging users in a way that email in 5, 10 years’ time won’t be.”
He referenced brands OpenBack has spoken with who already sell more through notifications than email marketing. And especially in the mobile game area, where any communication that takes the user away from the mobile device is extraneous, push notifications are the idea means of connecting with players.
Lotanna: Who is your ideal customer?
The main 3 verticals that OpenBack draws its clients from are: Mobile Games, Healthcare apps, and Children’s apps.
For mobile games, push notifications are simply the most effective means of communicating with users. And they can be designed and formated to be an organic extension of UX of the game itself, so players don’t have to stray outside the device.
Also, OpenBack’s unique device-side structure means our platform is completely data privacy-compliant by default. Users’ personal data never has to leave the device, or be stored in a cloud server, which makes OpenBack perfect for apps that follow strict data privacy regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and COPPA. Because of this, many of our clients are apps in the healthcare sector, or children’s apps, both of which have to be extra careful with user data.
Lotanna: How much does it cost?
OpenBack has a tiered pricing structure based on MAU. We charge on a pay-as-you-go basis, with a minimum of 1 cent per app user. Our customers get their first 1,000 MAUs free. At the next tier, they 200 free credits. Thus, payment is pegged to our customers’ success using our platform. The more you earn, the more you will be able to pay, which is a fair and effective pricing model for everyone involved.
Andrew especially, coming from a marketing/communication perspective, found this method of payment agreeable. Especially for small tech start-ups, it means developers won’t have to worry about cost immediately. They can license the OpenBack product and start engaging customers. This will enable their app to grow and build their user base, and only once they have scaled to a more robust stage will they have to worry about payment.
Ultimately, all 3 members of the discussion found it to be a very educational and engaging conversation. The conference over the weekend was very exciting in terms of learning about the dynamic creative space in Africa, and OpenBack is looking forward to more synergizing of the sort with members of Africacomicade in the future.