Push Notification Best Practices: 5 Ways to Improve Performance in 2021

  • UPDATED: 19 July 2023
  • 10 min read

Reading Time: 10 minutes

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The new year is here, and we bet your push notification strategy is ready for release. But before you start, take a look at what’s new in push notifications, and see if some of these developments and best practices should become part of your 2021 strategy.

In this post, we examine five of the latest developments in push notifications as well as how some brands are using them, and seven push notification best practices you can make use to maximize push performance in 2021. Let’s get started.

Latest Developments in Push Notifications

1. Improve Push Notification Delivery

push notification amplification

The push notification delivery issue has been plaguing the mobile marketing industry for quite some time. OEM restrictions, network issues and other factors have cut off the device from GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) service—an essential cord that delivers push notifications—negatively impacting delivery.

MoEngage Push Amplification helps marketers solve push delivery issues and find a way around this predicament. The proprietary cloud messaging service (Push Amplification), upon detecting the failure in notification delivery, acts as a fallback to the GCM and successfully delivers the notification to users. Several top brands like Bigbasket, OYO Rooms are seeing up to 15% improvement in push notification delivery with this tool.

With MoEngage Push Amplification, Bigbasket has realized dramatic improvement, including:

  • 10% increase in push notification delivery rate.
  • 16% increase in purchases on the app, directly attributed to push amplification.
  • 3.5X increase in push notification delivery to select OEMs.

Click here to see how Bigbasket improved push notification delivery with MoEngage. Learn more about push amplification here.

2. Use of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated the field of marketing automation. As pointed out in this Forbes article, the rise of AI in marketing is benefitting brands and customers alike. Is 2021 the year you add AI to your mobile marketing strategy? Sherpa AI from MoEngage helps brands see better results from their push notification efforts by optimizing all aspects of a push campaign: from push notification creation, message content, and push delivery.

Below are three brands that are “killing it” with AI-driven push notification campaigns:

a) Chillr

Chillr is a multi-bank payments app that helps mobile users pay bills, transfer money, book tickets and more.

push notification by chillr app

By employing business intelligence and analytics to understand financial transaction trends in India, Chillr was able to identify and target transactions like bill payment, recharge, money transfer, account management, UPI, and more. Using MoEngage Sherpa Interaction Graph, Chillr further improved the performance of their push notification campaigns by up to 21%. Chillr also witnessed a 23% improvement in transactions with a significant boost from push notification campaigns.

b) Matahari Mall

dynamic ab testing

Matahari Mall is a leading e-commerce player in Indonesia. Using MoEngage Sherpa, Matahari Mall observed a 26% improvement in CTR, resulting in more users completing a transaction on the app.

c) Ayopop

Ayopop is the leading mobile recharge and payments app in Indonesia. Ayopop was looking for an intelligent way to reduce transaction drop-offs, cross-promote and remind users of transactions on the app. Leveraging MoEngage Sherpa AI, Ayopop was able to identify and send the right messages to the right users, significantly impacting the push notification campaigns. With these AI-driven campaigns, Ayopop experienced up to 55% growth in transactions.

Engage, convert, and retain better with push notifications – Download Push Delivery Benchmark Report.

3. A Focus on the User Flow

A focus on user flow is the third latest development in push notifications, as it helps with customer retention. According to data published in this Kissmetrics article, businesses that had 40% repeat customers generated 50% more revenue. Moreover, long-term customers exhibited better loyalty, helping brands through lean economic periods. If you are looking to reduce customer acquisition cost over time and increase revenue from your existing customer base, a focus on customer lifetime value is your best bet.

MoEngage Marketing Automation Flows is a convenient way for marketers to build, visualize and deploy omnichannel lifecycle campaigns. Let’s take a look at the types of customer journeys brands can create using MoEngage Flows.

a) Onboarding Flow

Onboarding well is crucial for starting a good relationship with a customer. Yet creating a good onboarding flow with multiple steps and several channels can be a tedious task—unless you’re using MoEngage. With MoEngage Flows, you can make User Onboarding Flows for your app or website in minutes. It’s as simple as drawing on a whiteboard.

Below is an example of a typical onboarding flow created using MoEngage Flows. You can set the criteria that enter users into the flow and determine which path they take depending on the actions they perform.

Push notifiction flow 1

b) Engage and Nurture Flow

You already know it’s imperative for brands these days to consistently build and sustain relationships with users via multiple channels across the customer lifecycle. For example, users who once completed a purchase, but are now inactive could be retargeted easily using MoEngage Flows. Similarly, you can also nurture active users into becoming power users.

Let’s look at an example flow, where marketers lead inactive buyers into indulging in more purchases or purchasing higher-ticket items:

Push notification flow 2

4. Use of Data, Segmentation, and Personalization

Studies have shown that over 78% of consumers only act on promotional offers if brand messaging is personalized. Yet while personalization is the destination, it is the back alleys of segmentation that take you there.

Push notification segmentation

As seen above, delivering hyper-personalized experiences is possible by understanding the relationship and differences between data, segmentation, and personalization. Read more about segmentation and personalization in this article.

To see this information about flows in action, let’s look at how Gaana performs segmentation and personalization to up their personalization game for suggesting artists and music to users.


push notification gaana

Gaana, India’s leading music streaming service, leverages the MoEngage segmentation platform to drive active music listeners and boost subscriptions. As seen in the above example (the image on the left), Gaana created a segment targeting users interested in a genre or an artist. Having built a segment of such users, Gaana went on to send personalized push notifications with ‘First Name Tags’ to address each user individually. Similarly, Gaana also leveraged MoEngage segmentation capabilities to progress users from the free plan to a premium subscription.??

Click here to read the Gaana case study.

5. Use of Dynamic Push Notifications

Sometimes it’s easier to let AI and automation take over.

Dynamic content is a great way to deliver optimum personalized experiences to users. AI and automation can detect user behavior to send those relevant, personalized notifications automatically.

This is important because personalization is becoming a core strategy for brand marketers. When marketers leverage the data they collect, personalized marketing can yield big rewards, especially for early adopters who capture a disproportionate share of category share and profits.

Dynamic Product Messaging by MoEngage—a next-generation personalization engine powered by AI—is a step in this direction. Dynamic Product Messaging helps you reconnect with your customers through means not possible before, to unlock new revenue streams.

Watch the video below to see how Dynamic Product Recommendations can help your brand drive engagement and revenue.

Dynamic Product Messaging is ideal for:

  • Product Recommendations
  • Personalized Offers
  • Price Alerts
  • Transaction Reminders
  • Content Suggestions
  • News Alerts

and much more. The possibilities are endless.

SIVVI.COM, MEA’s leading retailer, uses MoEngage Dynamic Product Recommendation to recover up to 10% of cart abandoners. Read the SIVVI case study here.

7 Push Notification Best Practices for 2021

We’ve covered a lot of ground above, reviewing the latest developments in push notifications as well as the technical aspects of building a push notification campaign. However, a lot of the engagement magic comes from the actual contents of a push notification. Research has shown that good creative campaigns are 11 times more successful in delivering ROI. To help you increase your own ROI, here are seven best practices for creating top-performing push campaigns:

1. Get creative

Creative push notifications help you stand out in the already crowded notification tray. Note, however, that creative notifications are the result of a creative process and not the product of pure creation.

A typical creative process covers two aspects:  the copy and the design. The copy comprises the text content of the notification, and the design is the image that accompanies the copy. A good creative product results when the copy and the design complement each other. Keeping the following in mind while drafting push notifications can help you achieve the sweet spot for your notifications:

  • Intrigue: Does the creative get the user’s attention? Does it stand out from the rest of the noise?
  • Decisive: Does the creative evoke an emotion? Does it cause the user to think deeper about something or your brand?
  • Simplicity: How crisp and targeted is the creative message? Is it simple to understand? Is the creative capable of conveying the message in fewer words and images?
  • Alignment: Is the message about your brand? Does the message fit well into the overall marketing strategy and goals?

2. Push notification character limit – Pay attention to the message length

By default, the iOS allows a character limit anywhere between 150 – 230 characters, and the Android notification tray allows anywhere between 450 – 650 characters. However, if you wish to get the best response to your push notifications, we strongly recommend a message which is not longer than 40 – 50 characters. The message is clear: crispness=better mobile messaging. Essentially, keep the length of your push notifications short.

Over time, it has been observed that brief and succinct messages get the job done better than lengthy phrases which users might tune out.

push notification length

3. Use the right words: power words!

Order now… Shop now… Buy soon…

Can one word change the way you feel about something? Yes. Imagine you are reading about a car accident. The words impact and crash can influence the way you perceive the seriousness of the incident. Similarly, small changes in copy can make a tremendous difference in how users interact with the notification.

Using words that grab a user’s attention and increase a tendency to convert should be core to your push notification copy. The good folks at Buffer have compiled a list of 189 power words that convert. Here’s another list of 20 powerful marketing words that sell by Vertical Response. Start adding the required punch your marketing needs with these powerful words today!

4. Use push notification action buttons

push notification actions

Push notification action buttons are a great way to help the user get more done with your app. Action buttons in push notifications can help users book cabs, order items, get reminders, and a lot more depending on your app. We blogged about push notification action buttons, including examples of apps using action buttons to drive usage and app value to the users, and created an infographic on how push notification action buttons can be used by different apps. Check it out here.

5. Use rich push notifications

We all know the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The statement holds water even in the era of mobile marketing. According to studies, your mind can process an image 60,000 times faster than text. Hence, the rich push notifications prove to be very effective!

By implementing images and other rich content, you can add zing to your web push notifications and make them interesting for the user, increasing their tendency to act on your notifications.

But keep in mind the following image dimensions while sending out push notifications:

  • On iOS, restrict the images to 1038px X 1038px. Images taller than 1038px will be scaled down with padding to give the image a 1:1 or a square appearance. We recommend you use an image that is 1038px wide and any number lesser than that for the height of the image.
  • On Android, stick to images that are between 800px and 1038 px wide. Maintaining a landscape orientation to images will help as Android OS crops the images to a 16:9 ratio, depending on the device.

To find images, multiple sources provide free stock images with little or no attribution required. Some of the common sources of stock images are Freepik, Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels. If you also wish to add some text to your images or perform basic image editing functions, we recommend the Pixlr online image editor or Picsart for more advanced editing.

6. Do not push your users

Yes, users like to receive push notifications and find them somewhat useful, but you have to be mindful when nudging the user. Sending too many or untimely notifications can result in push notification spam, causing user backlash or even large-scale app uninstalls. There are two ways you can avoid doing this:

  1. Frequency capping: One of the biggest gripes users have about push notifications is receiving too many of them from an app. So set a limit on the frequency and number of push notifications you send out to your users.
  2. Do not disturb: Receiving notifications late in the night or during the wrong hours’ can be annoying for users. Activating the “do not disturb” settings ensures that your users receive notifications only during the times they prefer.

7. Use deep-linking

A lot of apps still miss out on deep-linking. Deep-linking means using powerful links that take the user to a specific page on the app. Deeplinks help you acquire, engage and measure across all devices, channels, and platforms. This saves the user from the effort of navigating to the specific section of the app to access the information they acquired from the push notification.

If you are new to deep-linking, try starting with a third party like Branch or Deeplink.me to avoid being hit with errors and causing stability issues with your app.

If interested, here are some more push notification best practices for you to implement in your campaign.

Also, you can have a look at push notification ideas here.

Have more ideas on how to improve the performance of push notifications? Let us know in the comments below.

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