7 best practices_for_push_messaging

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  • 1. 7 Best Practices for Push Messaging in Mobile Applications Mobile Executive Series:
  • 2. 7 Best Practices for Push Messaging in Mobile Applications 2 7 Best Practices for Push Messaging in Mobile Applications 3 Table of Contents Introduction Something very big is happening in the world of Mobile. Give credit to the brilliance of hardware and soft- ware developers because the current generation of smartphones—especially all of those iPhones and An- droids out there—have won the hearts and minds of users. To appreciate the extent to which users have been won over by smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, consider the findings from a recent study from Stanford University: • 75% of iPhone users take their phone to bed with them—not just placing them on a bedside table, but taking them into bed. • 72% said the iPhone made them feel happier. • 67% said they were more likely to forget their wallet when they left home than their iPhone. • 41% said it would be a “tragedy” to lose their iPhone. • 25% of iPhone users say they think of the device as an extension of their brain or being. The passion for mobile devices isn’t limited to iPhones. The Pew Research Center, in a study that looked across a range of smartphone users, found similar attachment to what Stanford found with iPhones—with Pew finding that 65% of smartphone owners heading off to bed with phone in hand. Of course it’s not just the hardware they are taking to bed, and placing on the breakfast table, and driving with to work, and checking on throughout the day, and packing along when they play with their kids or hang out with friends. App developers have created captivating solutions. The World Goes Mobile The world is moving away from traditional desktop computers to smartphones and other mobile devices. Worldwide smartphone sales had already eclipsed PCs by 2011, and IDC projects that smartphone sales will soar while growth of traditional PCs will nearly flatten through 2016. The best application developers were quick to realize that as users embraced mobile devices, the door was opened to create an exciting new realm of apps to help users keep pace with and enhance their mobile life. Their success in creating great apps is perhaps helping to fuel the shift from old school feature phones to smart devices. Nearly half (46%) of American adults were smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 per- centage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May, according to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The study found that nearly every major demographic group—men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off— experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration over the last year. One of the significant tools developers have honed to make their mobile applications even more relevant to users is mobile push messaging. The Power of Mobile Push Messaging In much the same way people are taking their smartphones everywhere, users are starting to invite trusted mobile applications to do the same—giving them opt-in permission to contact them with messages even when the application is turned off. What began some years ago as push distribution of specified stock quotes, user-defined news updates, sports scores, and reminders, has blossomed into a communications revolution that has become ever more relevant with the mass movement to mobile. Good Push Messaging Helps Create New Relationships with Users Push messaging plays a foundational role in creating an entirely new relationship between users and their devices—and between businesses and consumers. Imagine having your customers inviting you to contact them—day or night—whenever you have something significant to say. This kind of personal access enables a radically new form of deep relationship building. Executive Summary Introduction The World Goes Mobile The Power of Mobile Push Messaging Good Push Messaging Helps Create New Relationships with Users Bad Push Messaging Drives Away Users The 7 Tenants of Good Push 1. Good Push Fits Into My Ever-Changing Schedule 2. Good Push Engages Me with Relevant Messages 3. Good Push Allows Me to Personalize My Experience 4. Good Push Stays Consistent with Your Brand 5. Good Push Delivers an Entertaining and Engaging Experience 6. Good Push Continuously Serves Me Better and Better 7. Good Push Adapts to Fit My Current Situation Summary Executive Summary The advent of smartphones and the rich applications they provide has helped fuel an accelerating shift from conventional PCs to mobile devices. With smartphones already outselling PCs, and with projections for this shift to continue for years, organizations can benefit through taking advantage of a new generation of mobile applications that help forge closer relationships with users. Studies have found that users are deeply integrat- ing their smartphones into their lives. This is especially true with apps that provide opt-in push messaging for their users. While push messaging provides revolutionary opportuni- ties for communicating directly with users, industry participants must use mobile push
  • 3. 7 Best Practices for Push Messaging in Mobile Applications 4 7 Best Practices for Push Messaging in Mobile Applications 5 Our own internal studies at Urban Aircraft have found that when Good Push is used customers interact more frequently with an application, and user retention is significantly boosted. Our research found that users who received push messages made up an ever greater percentage of active users over a period of time, building from 67% of app usage in the first month, to representing 74% of total app usage in the second month, and rising to 81% in three months. While the potential for push messaging is astonishing, as this wave of push-enabled mobile apps gets big- ger, it will be critical for the industry to embrace best practices to maintain the integrity of the channel. If a customer trusts a publisher enough to give them permission to send him or her messages—even when the app is just sitting on their smartphone and not selected—that publisher better exercise careful judgment in how they use this privilege. Bad Push Messaging Drives Away Users Sending messages that are deemed irrelevant or intrusive, could lead the customer to turn off push privi- leges, as well as toss the app off their device. The disgruntled user may well turn to social media to amplify their displeasure. In a worst case scenario, users begin to associate push messages with mindless spam. In this way a few bad actors could spoil things for all. This is why it is critically important for all players across the mobile industry to understand the difference between Good Push and bad. Good Push means serving the needs of your customer as precisely and truly as possible and not treating push as simply another marketing delivery channel. The 7 Tenants of Good Push At Urban Airship we believe Good Push is so important that—drawing from our extensive interactions with push-enabled publishers and push consumers—we’ve created a set of best practices that we call our 7 Tenants of Good Push. They are kind of like a Bill of Rights for push customers: 1. Good Push Fits Into My Ever-Changing Schedule Apps should have an easily accessible control panel where users can define a Quiet Time by adjusting a setting so that no messages are delivered between say 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., or block out days on which they never want to be bothered. The big bonus for you is that giving people control over how—and when—you deliver content to them actually keeps more people engaged. 2. Good Push Engages Me with Relevant Messages This is a reminder to think about what the customer wants to hear, not what you want to say. Burton Snowboards found an incredible way of engaging users with relevant information by offering to push fresh snowfall alerts to its customers. This is an example of very Good Push. Another company might have taken a different path: Sending a blizzard of promotional sales. This approach would risk alienating your best customers, along the lines of: “Dude, I already bought the snowboard! Give it a break!” Instead, Burton stays relevant and builds goodwill by helping its customers enjoy the very best part of the sport by providing timely reports on fresh snowfall conditions. 3. Good Push Allows Me to Personalize My Experience Give your customers a preference center to customize the content they want to see, and they will love you for it. The same is true when you give them the ability to personalize the content you send them. Let them tell you what they want, how much of it they want, and when they want to get it. ESPN ScoreCenter does an exceptional job of this by offering users exacting control of what they receive. 4. Good Push Stays Consistent with Your Brand Consistent communications over time is a key element in build- ing a strong brand. Given that the ultimate control over render- ing is specified by the smartphone device manufacturer, mar- keters need to be precise with every element they can control. Also, given that messages render on a variety of devices, on a variety of operating systems, previewing them across each rendering allows them to be absolutely sure that the message received will be viewed as intended, and not be confusing to the end customer. Of course whoever is entrusted with authoring content for push communications should be well schooled in the 7 Tenants of Good Push. 5. Good Push Delivers an Entertaining and Engaging Experience The goal is for users to look forward to your push communica- tions. Upon opening a message, the user should be transported into an environment that is fresh, engaging, and entertaining with rich media directly related to the content of the notification. We have seen film companies push out messages about new movie trailers that link directly to the trailer—ready to be played. Consumers love rich media of all forms, so delivering a push with a payoff like this is a great way to ensure that customers will be excited to see what comes next. 6. Good Push Continuously Serves Me Better and Better Every time a push message is sent out, the obvious question should be, “Was it effective? Did the customer respond to it?” Good Push dictates that customer responses are monitored and analyzed in order to finely tune their successful engagement. Over time, marketers can see which push messages resonate best and which fall flat, and adjust messaging accordingly. 7. Good Push Adapts to Fit My Current Situation Good Push should be smart enough to adapt to your us- ers’ current situations, including their ever-changing locations. Mobile devices by definition are meant to be on the move, so a person’s location can change constantly. However a change in location alone is a blunt instrument. No one wants offers pushed to them with every step they take just because they are on the move. Apps need to consider everything they know about the user, including previous location information, previous interests, stated preferences, and more.
  • 4. 7 Best Practices for Push Messaging in Mobile Applications 6 Summary Push messaging is a powerful tool for any organization seeking to build a trusted brand, deepen customer involvement, and enhance user retention. Good Push has enormous potential for enhancing the way we live and for enabling organizations to create strong relationships with constituents. Users will benefit because the more complex our lives become, and the more crowded our devices get with applications, the more we will all need Good Push to intelligently reach out and tap us on the shoulder when something important requires our time and attention. Good Push may be used to deliver a tiny bit of news, to remind a user when to take their medicine. It may be to tell a user their laundry is finished, or to deliver a shopping list as they enter the grocery store based on what’s left in their refrigerator. But the more automated things become, the more Good Push will be needed to enhance and guide our lives. To learn more, visit www.urbanairship.com