How to increase push notifications opens

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You will learn

Learn how to improve your push notifications open rates and encourage your subscribers to click into your notifications. Push notifications can be a strategic way to get in front of your customers on their mobile devices, but misusing them can lead to decreasing open rates and a potentially negative perception of your brand.
The following guide walks through strategies and best practices to ensure you are delivering your subscribers timely, personalized, and relevant push notifications.

Before you begin

It’s important to make sure that you have properly set up your iOS push notifications in your Klaviyo account.

How are open rates defined for push notifications?

Push notifications track opens by a subscriber tapping on a notification. Unlike emails, which hide much of their content, push notifications show all the content (title and body) without requiring a subscriber to click all the way through.

It’s also important to consider push notifications open rates in the context of your whole marketing program. With the possibility of subscribers glancing at the entirety of your notification without tapping into it, they may still be getting the information and converting. Therefore, it’s key to track your entire customer’s journey and evaluate if they are making purchases on mobile, especially shortly after a push notification. This can help to tie inferred conversions together.

Business-specific considerations

It’s important to consider that certain verticals or models may see differences in the behaviors of their push notifications recipients.

For example, companies that are using a local app in conjunction with push notifications may see higher open rates since they are funneling users over to that app. Users often see this as less of a hurdle than following a push notification to an exterior website.

Some businesses may also see naturally higher open rates, as their activities or apps are ones that are frequently used or checked. For example, if your business is a fitness application, you may see higher open rates as users tap into these messages daily as they workout. Some verticals more closely align with regular everyday mobile behaviors and thus may see open rates that are higher because of this.

How to increase open rates

There are 7 strategies to help you increase push notifications open rates:

  1. Personalize your notification and the content
  2. Craft language that evokes curiosity
  3. Use language that creates a sense of urgency or is time-sensitive
  4. Tie messaging to app-exclusive promotions or functionality
  5. Use non-text elements such as emojis and sounds
  6. Utilize Smart Sending to limit the number of push notifications
  7. Segment and target your audiences

Personalize your notification and the content

Much like email or SMS messages, personalizing your push notifications content is key to encouraging subscriber engagement.

Using variables and template tags in the push notifications editor in either campaigns or flows allows you to customize the content that your subscribers receive. For example, you could pull in things as simple as their first name, today’s date, and what their interests are.

You can also do more personalized content that provides product recommendations relative to their interests, content that is relative to their location if your app has access to their location (e.g., they are nearby one of your stores), or even updates on their ordered items or shipping (if the notifications are part of a metric-triggered flow).

With personalization, it’s key to not only make the message feel hand-crafted but also to include content that the subscriber is expecting and would want to see. 

Craft language that evokes curiosity

Since push notifications do not require a user to tap to read the entire message body, it may be useful to craft content that evokes curiosity and entices the users to tap.

Similar to an email’s subject line, you want to craft content that leaves the subscriber with an unanswered question, a surprise, or something else that entices them to click through to learn more.

However, it’s important to use this method sparingly, as you do not want to over-saturate your subscribers with this technique and have it lose its appeal. For example, mystery sales or exclusive “members-only” products should be used with discretion throughout the year. 

Use language that creates a sense of urgency or is time-sensitive

Since users usually see push notifications once or immediately dismiss them, it’s important to send messages that create a sense of urgency and encourage your subscribers to tap. For example, if you are having a promotion that will only last for the next few hours, you will want to time your notification to hit your subscriber's phone when that sale has started or even when it’s counting down to close. 

Urgent and time-sensitive notifications can help cut through the clutter on mobile devices, but only use this type of messaging sparingly and when appropriate. Frequent use of urgent messaging can undermine its value to your subscribers and make them more dismissive to future notifications.

Tie messaging to app-exclusive promotions or functionality

To help associate your brand with worthwhile notifications, it may be helpful to tie them into promotions that are exclusive to app users. For example, creating a special coupon that allows all mobile subscribers the ability to get free shipping at checkout via your app.

Additionally, if you are using push notifications and have a native mobile app, you could use notifications to encourage users to head back into the app. For example, if you are a retailer with an app and your subscriber was just viewing items in your app store but left, you could use a notification to get them back into the experience and to check out.

Use non-text elements such as emojis and sounds

Non-text elements such as emojis can help grab the attention of your mobile subscribers. These media elements can also help provide additional information to your notifications, without being text-heavy. Rich media elements provide a great way to stand out in the notifications center, convey your brand’s tone and energy, and encourage interaction.
Klaviyo also provides the ability to use notification sounds that will add another element to notifications. If you are worried about subscribers still missing your notification, especially on iOS devices where it’s directed to the message center almost immediately, you can use a sound as well. Keep in mind that mobile users who have their phones in “silent mode” or with non-standard audio-settings will not hear these sounds.

Utilize Smart Sending to limit the number of notifications

One of the potentially damaging strategies with push notifications is sending too many, and too frequently, to your subscribers. Instead, you should focus on sending only useful and timely content.

By customizing your Smart Sending settings you can limit the number of push notifications that your subscribers receive within a certain time period. This is especially helpful if you are also sending SMS and email messages and don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers.

Note that Smart Sending is channel specific, meaning that push notifications have a separate window than either SMS or email. 

Segment and target your audiences

When setting up an individual push notification campaign, Klaviyo provides the option to associate segment(s) with the notification. By choosing a specific segment(s), you can send content that is more personalized and relevant to your subscribers.

For example, if you know that you have a segment of dedicated repeat customers, you could use push notifications to alert them to new deals or promotions before anyone else.

Keep in mind that the segment(s) that you use should also match the content of the notification. For example, if you are sending to repeat customers, you would not want to send them a notification for a new customer promotion.

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