5 Best Practices for Push Notifications

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An average mobile user receives over 20 – 50 or 50 -100 notifications per day [1]. Push notifications could originate from messengers (WhatsApp, SMS), e-mail programs or other applications that we use.  That little beep sound, vibration or the notification light that keeps blinking makes us instantly stop what we are doing. As brands & marketers, we have to use notifications responsibly to ensure users don’t perceive our communication as intrusive or as a waste of their time.

Push Notifications

Annoying notifications continues to be the number #1 reason while people uninstall mobile apps. Nearly 71% of respondents in a recent survey mentioned they had uninstalled mobile apps due to annoying notifications. Notifications have to be valuable, relevant contextually and well-timed.

5 Best Practices for Push Notifications

Be Valuable

Personalize push notifications based on human needs, desires, and priorities. Personalization helps you to get the best out of push notifications. Personalization necessarily involves the following:

Configuring default push notifications: You ask for user permission either in the pre-ask splash page or in-app message. If the user decline to enable push notifications in the pre-ask splash page, you can wait time the time they are familiar with the app. Ask the user again later using an in-app message to enable push notification.

Make it easy to turn off push notifications: Make sure that the users can easily find notifications settings inside the app to turn off notifications. Some apps make it incredibly difficult to locate the notification configuration.

Location-specific push notifications: Personalize content for users based on location. Contextual & location-based relevance will improve engagement with users.

Personalize content for logged-in users: Use the information available within the app to tailor the content.

Example, a push from Amazon for delivery of a package, would be:

John, your package for (product name) has been dispatched & should be delivered by 28th Dec

John, your pacakge for (product name) will arrive in 2 hrs

Timing matters!

Push notifications are highly time-sensitive. Send push notifications to users at a reasonable period unless it’s critical. ComScore data suggests that mobile usage peaks between 6 pm to 10 pm.  Always make sure the timing is appropriate based on users’ time zone.


A recent study found that for certain product categories, 60% of users turn off push notifications. You have to prioritize your messaging strategy based on urgency. Push notifications and e-mails have to be practiced in cases of high importance.

Push Notifications

Prioritizing and streamlining your messaging strategy will enable you to deliver a better user experience.

Keep it short & simple

Push notifications have to be short and to the point. Remember you only have 60-90 characters for Android and no more than 120 characters on iOS. So what should be the ideal length of a push notification?

So what should be the ideal length? A good push notification has to be less than 40 characters if you expect the user to read and action it. If you can’t reduce the content to 40 characters, then front load what’s important.

Iterate & Experiment

“It’s hard to over-hype the power of mobile push notifications. For the first time in human history, you can tap almost two billion people on the shoulder.” -Ariel Seidman

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Segment your audience and try experimenting with content and timings. Measure each experiment with the key metrics to arrive at the best possible result.

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