updated icon June 21 2016

This is part 3 of a series on why social features are beneficial for apps. We’ve covered how an in-app chat and an activity feed adds value to your app. In this post we’re going to talk about social push notifications.

In a fast moving digital environment, there are two things that mobile users will continue to have for a long time – their need to socialise and the need to stay on top of everything they are interested in. While their need to socialise is catered to by in-app chats and activities as mentioned before, it is important to look into their other need.

As an app, mostly all interaction with the user is based around updates or new features. While we don’t say that’s not good, but what about all the activity that happens in the app when the user is not on it? Wouldn’t he really want to know what his friends are up to in an app or which level in a game has the competition reached while he goes through his daily tasks?

This is where the social push notifications come in.

What are push notifications?

Social push notifications are alerts sent to a user of all the in-app activities when they aren’t using the app. This lets them know what’s going on while they are away, keeps them engaged and focused on coming back to your app: essential for engagement and retention!

These alerts let the user know of all the comments or likes he has garnered on an activity in his feed. It serves as the slight nudge that is required to initiate an interaction with another player and bring him back to where he left the app. This social feature is known to increase the number of app sessions when done right.

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While the benefits of social push notifications are absolutely clear for an app, the concern of bugging a user with regular alerts is very common with developers and marketers. But to change that school of thought, here’s a chart you need to see:

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What are the benefits of using social push notifications?

If you’re partly convinced that not all mobile users consider push notifications as a spam, here are a few more benefits of this social feature that will nudge you into trying it out:

1. It keeps the users engaged longer 

User engagement is the actual measure of monetization and app growth. But with a number of apps entering the mobile market every day, it is becoming increasingly challenging to retain users. Most app users are fascinated with the app in the beginning and tend to abandon it within a few weeks.

Social push notifications enable the developer to send out messages that are relevant to the user actions and will encourage engagement as well as boost their involvement.

For instance, a user who hasn’t come back to the app after not being able to complete level 10 will be intrigued when he receives a notification that his friend just surpassed him!

2. It gives you insights into user behaviour

Push notifications give you valuable insights into the user behaviour. GetSocial tracks the messages sent out, the interaction times, devices, platforms they are accessed on and analyses what brought in the most amount of engagement and when.

This data helps understand when, where, why and how your users are interacting with the app. In turn, this assists marketers as developers create a personalized user journey within the app. Knowing the triggers that will bring back a user to the app, will boost the engagement rates as well as the retention.

3. It has a higher response rate than emails

GetSocial push notifications eradicate the need of having an elaborate email strategy to engage and re-engage users. When you send out an email, you expect the user to consume the content and then move to your app. On the other hand, a push message is consumed in seconds and an action taken on it directly takes the user to the app.

We’re not saying emails don’t work, but how often do you find yourself opening emails from the apps you’re making use of?

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4. It gives the user all the control he needs

Addressing the point wherein developers are concerned about user experience, social push notifications offer total user control. Through their general mobile notification settings, they can customize how they want to see your notifications – even if they want to see it or not. This makes the feature the least bit annoying for them.

For that matter, with GetSocial social notifications the user can also choose at which point from a game does he want to be notified of activities when he is not on the app. He can also choose to mute them whenever he needs a break or some quiet time. The good news is that most users find push notifications from an app they like, valuable!

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5. It makes communication easy

Social push notifications serve as another channel for marketers and developers to address their users. It could be a message announcing a new update, a new feature or suggesting an in-app purchase based on the user’s recent activity.

Push notifications serve the purpose of keeping the users hooked onto an app long enough to leverage word-of-mouth promotion as well as monetization. When the messages are customized to add value to the user at all times, he is more likely to remain loyal to the app.

Over to you

Push notifications are the social feature that your app needs to keep the existing users as engaged and hooked to your app as possible, as well as re-engage your inactive users. But it is important to understand that this communication channel needs to be used carefully and taking into account the user behaviour.

For instance, you might want to test the frequency of your push notifications, the timing of sending them out and the tonality of the messages to gauge what most of your users interact and take action on.

Is your app using social push notifications to interact with users? Do you have a push notifications strategy in place or would like us to guide you with it?

Simply drop us a comment or a suggestion in the box below, and we’ll definitely get back to you!