Last update: May 2021

4 mins to read - 2017/07/26

8 Ways To Drive Mobile Retention Rates With Push Notifications

While it’s not the case for every mobile app, the goal of engagement and improving retention KPIs is to maintain the highest possible levels of retention. It’s always much cheaper to retain existing users than to acquire new users. Push notifications are a valuable tool to drive mobile retention for existing users. They are also crucial for winning back those users who are at a risk for churn. Ultimately, the savvy mobile marketer will aim for quality over quantity. If you can send less notifications but guarantee higher engagement rates, your retention rate will follow suit.

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use push notifications to drive mobile retention

8 Ways You Can Use Push Notifications to Drive Retention Rates

App owners who can maintain strong retention rates (and minimize churn rates) are doing a good job at keeping user happy and engaged for longer periods of time. Retained customers are much more likely to continue using your app, pay for additional services, share with friends and stay loyal to your brand and company. The act of driving mobile retention requires dedication, long-term testing and analysis of metrics, and most of all a great UX to your app. But with push notifications, there are ways to boost your odds that users will come back to your app time and time again.

Read on for our top 8 ways to help drive positive retention rates:

1) Optimizing App On-boarding

Properly set up system dialogue messages to encourage more users to opt-in to notifications. For iOS devices, where the app needs users to consent to receive notifications, apps can send a pre-permission notification. This is an opportunity to send users a prompt after they have already engaged with the app, but before they select “no” from the iOS notification. This is a valuable chance for you to explain why opting in to notifications will optimize the app experience.

2) Sending Multiple Message Types

Mix it up using standard notifications and rich media message types to display your content in a way that makes sense visually. Try sending notifications with video, GIF, and emoticon content to see how users respond. Studies show that a light sprinkling of emoticons in particular can boost click-through rate by 85%.

3) Contextual Device-Side Data Signals

OpenBack’s hybrid mobile engagement platform can help you further optimize the effects of rich content. Our 40+ data signals can inform you when the user is under the ideal situation to receive your notification.

Use user context to feed into every campaign, leveraging data points and machine learning for optimal delivery.

drive mobile device retention

4) Personalization

Customize messages to each user by adding data from your app or backend systems. Right off the bat, users are more likely to respond if the message includes their names. Then write your notification content in a way that will most appeal to different segments of your users.

This is more an art than a science. After all, every demographic of user will have different preferences in terms of tone and language. Which is why it’s worth investing in a top-notch content writer!

For more tips on writing effective content to drive retention of your mobile app users, check out our blog post: 5 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Push Notifications With Amazing Content

5) Predicative Analytics/Machine Learning

Combine device-side user data to guarantee better user experiences and positive results. Mobile app users provide a treasure trove of data points which developers can leverage to inform the context of their push notification campaign.

For example, anything can in turn affect the timing and content of your notifications. User data signals can include:

  • calendar schedules
  • alarms set
  • device usage patterns
  • social media posts and “likes”
  • online purchases
  • and much, much more!

6) A/B Testing & Control Groups

Test content and send the messages that perform best. Make sure users care about what you have to say, and that your push campaigns are boosting rather than harming your retention rates.

Read more about how you can use to OpenBack to perform A/B Testing on your push notification campaigns: How to Test Push Notifications for UX and Engagement

7) Setting Display Limits

Control limitations for how many notifications users can be received within a period of time and include fallback preventing notifications from getting delivered at the wrong time.

8) Understanding Your Data

View the performance of each messaging campaign by tracking messages delivered, clicked, dismissed and interacted with. Use the findings as inputs for monitoring further mobile analytics.

A good retention rate for top app marketers should be around 40% retention (after 30 days), 30% (after 60 days) and 20% (for 90 days) – although this varies widely for different app categories and businesses.

You can use your current KPIs & metrics and calculate what your current retention rate is, then strategize a plan to improve those figures so your app doesn’t get left off user’s devices after one use. It’s better late than never to start thinking about user retention and the ways in which it’s affected by your next mobile marketing campaigns.

Calculate how much your revenue would increase per month using OpenBack:

Download our FREE Mobile Marketing Playbook to perfect your user engagement game!


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