Last update: May 2021

4 mins to read - 2019/07/01

Personalization: The Key to Unlocking Your Push Notifications’ Potential

Push notifications tend to get a bad rap among mobile device users, who associate them with spam and invasive marketing. This is why iOS, which features an opt-in system as opposed to Android’s more involved opt-out system, only sees 40% of its users consent to receive push notifications. OpenBack seeks to open up the scope and potential for push notifications as a means of forging a positive relationship between an app and its users. With our 40+ data triggers and 200+ device data points that can be leveraged to build an accurate map of your user, their habits, and their preferences, OpenBack provides your app the tools to maximize personalization of push notifications, and by extension user engagement.

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

smiling happy people

Personalization by a First-Name Basis With Your User

It’s such a small point, and yet you’d be surprised at how many marketers drop the ball on this one. The simple addition of a greeting, “Hi there, Bob!” or “Good morning, Christina,” can reassure your user that they’re seen and valued. Using a user’s first name tells them that you’ve done your homework. They’ll be able to trust that you won’t be flooding them with generic sales ads.

Plus, it’s pretty much the easiest piece of information to locate about a person. So there really is no excuse not to include it.

Personalization by Localization

Geolocation can say a lot about a person, dictating their schedule, their commute, their weather, their language, and much more. Depending on where in the world your user is, you have plenty of options of how to customize a push notification according to:

  • language
  • timing
  • content

And when you start combining metrics, things can get tricky.

Utilizing local data to personalize your notifications can be something as simple as sending a “It’s icy out there tonight, Gerald. Be careful driving home!” message before (but not during!) a user’s commute. Keep in mind, such a specific notification would be appropriate coming from a weather or local news or traffic app. However, it might strike many users as invasive if coming from, say, a banking or eCommerce app.

rainy umbrella night

When sending notifications to users in different countries, it may be tempting just to use translation software and leave it at that. However, plenty of idioms and underlying connotations can be lost in translation, resulting in slip-ups that can range from embarrassing to PR disasters. For example, in 20+ countries worldwide, people speak Spanish, with subtle differences between each country’s version of the language. Different forms of the word “you” are considered polite in Spain as opposed to Argentina or Mexico, and as innocent a phrase as “coger el autobus,” which translates to “catch the bus” in Spain, means something very different in Latin America.

Personalization by Timing

Timing is another tricky one, as a good SDK will provide you access to data about a user’s time zone, schedule, day-to-day activities, calendar, etc. But it’s crucial to use this information with the user’s benefit in mind. Say a marketer in San Francisco sends a friendly suggestion to buy a brand’s product at 11 o’clock AM. However, the user in question lives in London. That user is most definitely not going to buy that product. And too many late-night notifications might move a user to block all push notifications, or even delete an app.

Rather, go in with the mindset of what your user would want. When would they most welcome the message you have to offer? Obviously, it has to be a moment when nothing else is going on, ideally when they’re at home and relaxing. So this means after they come home from work (data points can inform you about local traffic, and about whether your user works a nine-to-five or works odd hours), and are sitting down not moving. Unique OpenBack data triggers take things one step farther, letting you gauge an individual device’s battery power, whether the lockscreen is displayed, and even whether the headphone jack is in use.

Personalization, aim for the stars!

The Sky Is the Limit

The user of a device brings with them a wealth of personal data and other information. In many ways, a person’s mobile device is an extension of themselves, and the messages you send them need to reflect a desire for a personal relationship. Personalization of push notifications can boost user engagement to nearly 6%, as opposed to the 1.5% engagement rate of generic notification blasts.

That said, get creative! Personalization means getting to know your user and curate a series of notifications specifically for them. Social media data can be invaluable – think Facebook pages liked, Twitter handles interacted with, keywords used in posts. For example, if a user posts a selfie at a Smashing Pumpkins concert, they may also be interested in other alternative 90s bands. Or they wish to buy tickets to future gigs. They may want to purchase plane tickets to a city that’s hosting an international rock concert. They may like to browse your eCommerce app for 90s nostalgia music, films, and apparel.

The same detective work can be done with a user’s purchases. Have they recently bought a NutriBullet? They are likely a health-conscious person… if you run a health app, you could start small and offer them 30 recipes for protein shakes. Or invite them to join your newsletter or read your blog. You could work your way up to offering them a gym membership. Or a discount on a juicer, or any other product you have on offer.

The main point is to build a rapport with your user. Establish trust, and assure them of your value as a brand. Then, even if the majority of your users stop engaging before making a purchase, a fraction of them will make it through the nozzle of the marketing funnel to become highly valued, life-long customers.

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


Translate »