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Why 80% of your users block your annoying notifications, and what to do about it

LAST UPDATED: July 3, 2020

Ndifreke Akarabara

Your app notifications are annoying to your users, and that is a fact.

80% of your mobile app users consider your push notifications a nuisance; and if the issues are not resolved, they will most likely resort to uninstalling your app.

You don’t want that, do you?

This article will show us why users find your notifications upsetting, and what you can do to improve their engagement with it.

Since launching your app, you have gained a sizable number of users. Most of the users haven’t turned on or have disabled your notifications.

Why?

The answer is multifaceted, but it all comes down to two things: Relevance and Level of engagement.

Before we get in-depth, let’s look at one of those facets.

More Android users have been known to enable push notifications than iOS users.

That is because Android devices adopt the Auto Opt-In model, where the users are automatically enabled to receive notifications, and then given an option for a manual Opt-Out.

iOS devices adopt the Push Opt-In Model, where users have to accept Push Notifications before they can receive notifications.

This means that more Android mobile users get their Push Notifications enabled from the onset than iOS users.

So, what makes users turn off their Push notifications?

One of the reasons is the type of Mobile App Push Notification used.

There are many types of Push Notifications, but let us have a look at the 6 most widely used types.

Types of Mobile App Push Notifications

  • Informative Notifications
  • Geolocation Notifications
  • Survey Notifications
  • Catch-Up Notifications
  • Recurrent Notifications
  • Promotional Notifications
  • Informative Notifications: These are notifications that can be in the form of updates, alerts, reminders, etc.
  • Update Notifications:  they notify a user about a new version of the app, and give them the option to download and install it.
  • Alerts: notifications when actions relating to the user are done by other users. Example: New messages, mentions, photo likes or comments, etc.
  • Reminders: notifications for schedules, alarms, birthdays, etc.
  • Geolocation Notifications: notifications that are triggered by the presence of a user in a physical location.
  • Survey Notifications: These are notifications that ask users to rate the app or the app’s activities.
  • Catch-Up Notifications: These types of notification try to encourage users to make task progress or log back into the app to continue a task.
  • Recurrent Notifications: Notifications sent at a certain recurring time. An example can be a monthly bank statement update.
  • Promotional Notifications: These kinds of notifications show offer to the user. It could be adverts,  discounts, etc.

There are actually no right or wrong types of push notifications. The underlying fact is that users will naturally move to what solves their current needs and that they understand.

Another facet to consider is the timing of push notifications.

Clocks with different times

Nigeria is 6hours ahead of the United States. A general push notification sent to users at the same time will mean that users will get the notifications on different time zones. While some users will get theirs at day, some will get it at night or while asleep.

Notifications that are not tailored to suit the timing, activities, and lifestyle of the user will soon become a nuisance to the user.

As a product owner, you should understand that push notifications are not primarily marketing tools, but engagement tools. No one wants to be marketed to, but everyone loves to buy when a product is engaging and solving the user’s need.

When you are redesigning your next app notifications, you should consider these tips:

  • Solve for the user:

Consider the user’s needs as they use your app, first and foremost before your marketing.

There is a saying that no one cares how much you know (in this case: notify) until they know how much you care. Users are quick at spotting apps and notifications that are intended at shoving ads and promotions down their phones. When users feel that an app’s notification is actually solving for them, they are more open to turning on and keeping the notifications enabled.

  • Educate them about the app:

Educating users about the solution your app solves, works both ways for you and the user. A lot of time and resources were committed to making your app. Your app has a purpose in meeting a specific need of the user. The user needs to know this in the simplest terms as possible. This can help them appreciate the solution the app is giving while helping them to become effective referrers of your app. That sounds like a win-win.

  • Show your app’s best features:

A lot of thought should be given into highlighting the best features of your app in the store, and maybe in your app also. This should work for your app and the user, just like in the point above.

  • Explain the benefits of opting-in to the user:

It is often not enough to just hope or ask the users to enable your app notification. They should know why. Explaining the benefits of Opting-In could encourage users to Opt-In; and if it really solves for them as it should, they would be more likely to keep it on.

  • Do a pre-test check

If users can accept Push Notifications in the app’s UI page, then they will most likely go through with accepting OPt In, but if they reject at UI stage, that gives you a chance to let the user experience the app before suggesting another Push Notification Opt-In.

  • User-specific notifications:

Your push notifications should be designed bearing each user’s timezone, preferences, and interests in mind. Users can be categorized according to these preferences and interests.

  • Pixel Width:

Ensure the Pixel Width of Push Notification is not too large or distracting. The area a notification covers on the screen should be minimal enough to still let users access 90% of the screen. Notifications should be subtle, and engaging.

  • Custom Notification Styles:

By offering the user options to customize the look and style of the Push Notifications, users will feel more in-charge of the notifications and warm up to the app. This has been found to make more users engaged with the apps, ultimately retaining the usage of the app and keeping the notification enabled.

By offering these preferences for your app notifications, you are raising the level of user-app engagement. When users engage with relevant notifications, they will invariably interact more with your app, and most likely make referrals to it.

Using a derivative forecast from the surveys from Localytics and Accengage, we observed that 80% of app users that deactivate push notifications imply that push notifications are an annoying distraction.

However, 26% of users said that they were grateful for push notifications because they get alerts about their interests.

Another 20% of mobile app users stated that notifications enhance productivity. They are able to receive important and timely information without having to launch the app, thanks to Push notifications.

It is clear that when Push Notifications solve for the user, the ‘block’ rate will drastically reduce, and spike more engagement. Users will appreciate (instead of trying to tolerate) notifications that add value to them, bring encouragement to go on with tasks, and inform them of what is relevant to them. That is why, after all, they downloaded the app.

Consider these tips when redesigning your push notifications, and experience the surge in your mobile app user engagement.

Also, click here for 12 Strategies To Increase Your App’s Download.

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