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Push Notifications w/ Foursquare's Director of Consumer Product

  1. Push Notifications with Foursquare’s Director of Consumer Product
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  7. Marissa Chacko Tonight’s Speaker
  8. Push Notifications Product School September 2017
  9. About Me Head of Consumer Products @ Foursquare (2015 - Present) Product Manager @ Hotel Tonight (2014) Product Manager @ Zynga (2011 - 2013) MBA @ UC Berkeley Aspiring Show Jumper Lousy Potter Surprisingly Good Tuk Tuk Driver @marissachacko
  10. About Foursquare 50 Million MAU ● 10 Billion Check-In’s ● 93 Million Places ● 100 Thousand Developers Foursquare City Guide makes it easier for people to explore the world and guides them to the best possible experiences. Foursquare Swarm is the check-in app and makes it easier for people to keep track of where they’ve been.
  11. How Foursquare Does Push
  12. How Foursquare Does Push
  13. Why Push Matters
  14. Why Push Matters to PM’s 1. Engagement Get users to take more or new actions 2. Retention Get users to come back to your product
  15. Why Push Matters to Users 1. Proactively Notify about Relevant Information 2. (Often) Doesn’t Require Using App to Get Information
  16. Evolution Direct Mail Email Push Notifications
  17. Push Notifications Today
  18. Getting Started with Push
  19. Core Value Proposition 🔔 Takeaway: Make Push an Extension of Your Core Value Prop 🔔 Foursquare’s Core Value Prop = Find the best restaurants and bars nearby Foursquare Push Notification = Tells you about a great restaurant nearby
  20. Core Value Proposition Kindle’s Core Value Prop = Read eBooks Kindle Push Notification = Reminds you to read your book
  21. The Annoyingness Spectrum 🔔 Takeaway: Provide Real User Value Through Notifications 🔔 Most Annoying / Lowest Value Basically a reminder to use the app (ex. games) Notifications are the service (ex. news, sports scores, weather) Least Annoying / Highest Value Creative Credit to Karina van Shaardenburg
  22. The Annoyingness Spectrum: Examples Most Annoying Least Annoying ★ Social ★ Personal ★ Timely ★ Generic ★ Promotional
  23. User Research 🔔 Takeaway: Capture Reactions in the Moment with Diary Studies 🔔 Pre-Survey 3 Week Diary Study Post-Survey
  24. Measuring Success # of Users Reached CTR Notification Disable Uninstall Core App Actions w/in 2 hrs Should we build it? Type of Users Reached Should we keep it? How should we prioritize? (via a/b test) Core App Actions w/in 2 hrs (compare to others) 🔔 Takeaway: Go Beyond CTR to Measure Success 🔔
  25. iOS vs. Android ● Lower engagement with notifications ● Lower % of DAU driven by notifications ● Higher opt out rate due to permissions prompt requirements ● Notification center rarely used, most notifications accessed on screen when arrive ● Notification actions rarely used ● Higher engagement with notifications ● Higher % of DAU driven by notifications ● No permissions required! ● Notification center regularly used for important updates ● Notification actions common 🔔 Takeaway: Don’t Compare Apples & Oranges 🔔
  26. Android Compact Notification in Notification Drawer Expanded Notification in Notification Drawer In App ToastNotification on Lock Screen
  27. iOS Rich Notification on Lock Screen Rich Notification in Notification Center Rich Notification Expanded In App Toast
  28. Couple of Experiments
  29. Experiment: Rich Notifications Question What impact does rich notification formatting have on engagement with the app? Results ● 7% lift in core app actions among new users ● Neutral among existing users Control: Regular Notification Test: Rich Notification
  30. Experiment: Venue Names in Copy Question What impact does showing the actual venues we recommend have on engagement? Results ● 4% lift in core active users vs. Control: No Venue Names Test: Show Venue Names
  31. Experiment: Copy Refresh Question What impact does fresh copy have on engagement? Results ● 3% lift in core active sessions Control: 1 Year Old Copy Test: Brand New Copy vs.
  32. Experiment: Frequency Caps Question What’s the optimal # of notifications to send in a given week? Results ● 2% lift in core app actions with a cap of 15 compared to 10 Control: 10 Notifications per Week Test 1: 15 Notifications per Week Test 2: 20 Notifications per Week
  33. Key Takeaways 1. Personalized + Contextually Relevant >> Generic + Random 2. High CTR ≠ Success 3. Always Be Experimenting
  34. Questions? @marissachacko
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Editor's Notes

  1. When you checked in tonight, you got an email inviting you to join our slack community In that community, we have 12k product people who have come through different companies like google, facebook, uber Sharing information about events, job offers from our partner companies, and valuable online content Please check your email and join - it’s free
  2. In our PM Course, we teach how to build products and how to get a job as a software product manager All our classes are 2 months, part time, and compatible with full time jobs. We have two options, Tues/Thurs in the evening and Saturdays in the morning Instructors- are senior level product managers from companies like Google, FB, Uber, etc
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  4. Similar to our coding course, we also offer our Data Analytics for Managers Tailored for people who don’t have a technical background but to give them enough knowledge of analytics to become product managers Also two months, compatible with full time jobs The goal of the course is not to make you a data scientist, but to make you technical enough to understand web analytics, learn SQL, and machine learning concepts
  5. We are also live streaming our event to our online audience If you want to share, please tweet @productschool and #prodmgmt for a free ticket to our next event
  6. A little bit about me … as mentioned I’m currently the Head of Consumer Products at Foursquare. Before that I was working on product at Hotel Tonight and Zynga.
  7. For those of you not familiar with Foursquare, we are a location intelligence company with both consumer and enterprise products. You may remember us from our early days as a 1 app company focused on check in’s, but we’ve evolved and are now using our data to power awesome experience for consumers in our own apps like Foursquare City Guide, Swarm & Marsbot, and we also power location in products like SnapChat, Uber, Pinterest, Apple, Twitter, Microsoft and many more. I focus building our consumer apps.
  8. Before I get into some lessons, I wanted to show you a couple of tweets we received from users about our notifications. I love this one on the left because it really shows the stark difference between a highly personalized message, and a generic one.
  9. These next two also show off how we personalize our messages to users’ tastes and preferences. It’s taken us a few years to evolve our push notifications and improve them to get to this point where they are clear, delightful and compelling to the majority of users. Now I want to share some of the things I’ve learned while building out our push notification system that I hope will help you create tweet-worthy notifications for your users.
  10. Push is tool which can be used to drive engagement and retention. The reason it’s so important is that as a mobile PM you only have a few ways to impact engagement & retention from outside your app, Email (which depends on your user signing up and not unsubscribing) Badging (which is related to push) Push Notifications
  11. For users, notifications can be very useful as a way to tell us important relevant information. It’s a way to get our attention about something we care about.
  12. From a marketing standpoint, notifications are really just the evolution of direct mail. They are a way to remind customers you exist, and to entice them to use your product or service for the first time or again. But from a product and user standpoint, they are really different and shouldn’t be treated as a way to blast your users. Since most users are within 5 feet of their smartphone at all times, notifications are very disruptive. An average person in the US checks their smartphone 150 times per day, and a lot of that is driven by notifications. Users think of notifications as things that should be taken action on immediately, like text messages. So if the content is not immediately relevant, one question to ask is whether push is really the right channel for your message?
  13. Let’s look at another example. In this one Kindle’s main value prop is allowing you to read eBooks. But their push notification is about reminding you to read your book. Now if the app was all about motivating me to read more, then sure this would be a great notification. Otherwise this is really just saying - hey open your app again. Which brings me to my next point ...
  14. Our UX researcher Karina created this spectrum after a number of in depth interviews trying to understand how users think about notifications. I love this ‘annoyingness spectrum’ because it is fairly easy to guess where your notifications might fall here, and where they should be going. In general you should be striving to provide real value to your users via push, not just remind them to open the app. The more timely, personal and relevant the notification, the better off you’ll be in driving that value.
  15. To demonstrate with some real examples, here are some notifications I received last week. Actually most of these notifications I’d deem as pretty relevant (which may be partially because i’ve disabled alot of the ones that weren’t). In the annoying category I’d bucket Postmates, for this random promo which is basically just a reminder to use their app. I don’t need to use their app, and now i’m annoyed. On the least annoying spectrum, I think the Twitter mention is great since I’m personally mentioned in this tweet. Or Lyft telling me to rate my ride from the morning, or Swarm telling me the learderboard results are ready and calling out specific friends who I know. All the good tweets are highly personalized and relevant to me, so I’m cool to receive them and generally happy the app sent them to me. On the flip side, seeing this notification from Postmates makes me want to disable notifications because this is the type of content I can expect to receive from them - notification spam.
  16. Another thing to think about when figuring out what’s working with regards to notifications is how to run effective user research. With notifications, it’s especially important to capture the user’s reaction in the moment they receive them. For example, if we send a notification about awesome cocktail spots in Dogpatch when you are hanging out in Dogpatch having dinner on Friday night, then you may be super receptive to that notification. If we send you that same notification say at 6am Monday morning, you may be a lot less receptive. Unlike email, notifications are there to interrupt, and thus understanding the timing relative to a user’s day is important. During this diary study, users would take a screenshot of any notification they received, rate it on a scale and leave us feedback about what they thought. This method was great at capturing what our users thought in the moment, and helped us refine our notifications to make sure they were timely and relevant. We also learned where we need to clarify more as to why were sending something, which led us to use titles like “Save for Later” so people wouldn’t think we expected them to go to 3 dinner places in the morning.
  17. Another consideration is how to measure success of your notifications. I use metrics to answer three different questions … should we build it, keep it and prioritize it? The first question gets at coverage - you can build the best performing ping but if it only reaches your top 1% of super high engaged users, then you probably shouldn’t prioritize it (unless increasing engagement among these users is your goal). To decide whether we keep a notification, we run a/b tests on everything we ship so we can accurately measure what the impact to overall app engagement is and what are the negative ramifications of the notification. Core app actions here refers to the primary actions we want the user to take in the app. So for Swarm, it’s check in. For City Guide, it’s search and view venues. Finally on the prioritization side, we prioritize notifications based on the amount of value they drive relative to other notifications. Often we could send you two notifications in any given day, so we choose based on core app actions.
  18. Another thing to think about especially when looking at results is the differences between platforms both in terms of what they allow you to do with notifications as well as how users behave towards them. Generally we see lower direct engagement with notifications on iOS devices, higher opt out rates and low usage of the notification center and actions. This may be changing as iOS 10 brought on a slew of new features to bring iOS up to parity with Android, but user behavior is a tough thing to change. Android users tend to see their notification drawer as the hub of their phone, where they see important messages about what’s going on and what actions they need to take.
  19. Looking in detail at how notifications appear, there are a number of places and ways your notification can appear on both platforms. Two things commonly overlooked are the expanded view of your notification, where a user can expand to see more text and any rich content or actions you provide. We also provide an in app toast to show the notification text since often the text is cut off and we want to be sure our users have that continuity in their experience. Android partial text
  20. On iOS, you’ll see the same thing with a number of different surfacing options (note these are not all of them) which change how users can engage with your notifications. In some places action buttons will appear, in others they will be hidden, so just things to keep in mind when thinking about how to build these out.
  21. This experiment we ran right after iOS came out with rich notifications with their iOS 10 release last september.
  22. Another experiment we ran was around inclusion of recommended venue names in the copy of the notification itself. We knew personalization works well, and we wanted to take things a step further by providing value right there in the text.
  23. Another experiment we ran was to see the impact of copy freshness on engagement. We knew we should be updating copy but we didn’t know how to prioritize it because we had no idea what impact it actually had.
  24. And finally, we ran an experiment to test the optimal number of notifications to send to a user in a given week. We tested three different caps - 10 / 15/ 20 notifications per week. We ended up going with 15 which had the greatest upside and minimal downside. Note that these caps are super dependent on your app and I would not recommend all of you go out and put a cap of 15. Some apps can ping you 50 times and it’s fine, assuming those 50 pings are valuable. Some apps can only ping you 1x per month. You need to experiment to see what works for your users.
  25. So to wrap things up, First - always try to make your notifications more personal and contextually relevant. Second - just because you get clicks doesn’t mean you are succeeding in delivering value. Go beyond CTR to look at what in app engagement and retention is being driven by your notifications. And third, always be experimenting, as user behaviors shift and it’s the only way to truly know how to create the right experience.
  26. Thanks for letting me join in today, feel free to reach out if you want to chat more about push and I look forward to seeing what y’all do with your products.