Push notifications are those messages that pop up in certain apps you've installed on your smartphone. Push notifications are a valuable part of some applications, but too many of them annoy end users. As a developer, you have to weigh the pros and cons of push notifications when creating your app. Both iPhone and Android offer push notification functionality, but as a developer, you must decide when should you use them and when should you opt for a less intrusive procedure?
Is the Information Critical or Time Sensitive?
Take a look at current apps that use push notifications. Most financial apps use push notifications to tell customers that a payment has been made, money has been transferred, or money was received. Monetary transactions are typically critical to a business or end-user's finances, and they can be used to alert users that someone has gained access to a bank account. These push notifications are critical for users.
Conversely, Facebook uses push notifications that are more annoying than useful. If you use the default settings after installing the Facebook app, you receive every message, invite or friend request that occurs on the social media website. If you have hundreds of friends, you can see how push notifications could ruin a user's experience. Most people turn off Facebook notifications because they receive too many.
Does your app have any kind of time sensitive information that must be seen immediately? If not, it's best to display the message when the user opens your app.
Don't Use Push Notifications for Marketing
Nothing annoys users more than ads popping up on their phones. Don't use push notifications to market your business or app idea. Keep push notifications to only critical information that doesn't step into the realm of "push spamming." If you spam users' phones, you can actually have your app removed from Google Play and Apple App Store, which destroys your income and app visibility.
Give Users Options
If you want to work with push notifications, give users options to filter messages they don't want. For instance, let users choose a time frame to receive notifications or let them opt out of notifications altogether. Place this option in your "Settings" section of the app. To ensure that you get some messages to display on a user's smartphone, create granular options for push notifications. For instance, group your notifications into topics and ask users to opt out of groups and opt in to certain other groups. This setting option lets you send notifications without leaving users with just the option to have all or none sent to the phone.
Perform Some Tests and Always Create Metrics
Creativity is the heart of a great app, but metrics are the heart to tweaking an app for better sales. Ask users to fill out surveys, test your notifications, and get metrics on users' preferences. Google offers analytic options that you can run in your apps. Always get feedback that tells you if push notifications are a good or bad experience for your users. More app developers are using push notifications freely, but they can be a nuisance with diminishing returns on your sales.
Overall, your push notification process should provide users with some kind of value. This value should override the intrusive, annoying factors that users associate with apps that use push notifications. Some developers test push notifications using A/B tests. A/B tests are deployed using a variant app installation file that uses push notifications more aggressively versus another installation file that uses them infrequently. These tests are similar to website landing pages that use layout variations to test user input and conversion rates. A small amount of users get one app version and another group gets the full push notification version. You then run metrics on which app performs better.
As long as you provide value to users, you can tactfully use push notifications to enhance your apps. If you don't think any messages are critical, avoid push notifications and find a better way to offer messaging services.