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Web push notifications are the latest way to increase engagement with website visitors.
Google Chrome has been actively promoting push notifications since introducing it in 2013. Considering that push notifications are the most effective way to re-engage users in apps, it was safe to assume that it would work in the web format as well, finally allowing websites that don’t use apps to engage in push notifications and see some of the benefits that they don’t have access to otherwise.
Before we discuss whether or not web push notifications are a successful marketing tool lets talk about what they’re all about.
What are web push notifications?
Aimed at building and continuously engaging an audience, web push notifications, similar to push notifications on smartphones, appear on a user’s desktop or mobile web. Meaning that subscribers don’t have to be on your website to receive these notifications.
The crucial part of a push notification is that users first have to subscribe to allow these notifications. It works the best if you allow the user to take his/her time and get to know your website before suggesting the subscription since the users are more likely to accept the offer if they have already engaged with the website a little bit.
Web push notifications are available for any website after installing code from a web push service and they take the user to whatever page the website has chosen. A typical notification will include the title of the brand, a message, and the URL of the domain sending the web notification.
What makes web push notifications stand out?
The primary benefit of push notifications, be it web or in-app, is that a user doesn’t need to be engaged in the website or application to receive a notification. While emails share this concept, the success rate of engagement through email has been decreasing gradually. Most of the time when people are using email they are actively involved in other tasks, paying little attention to emails that don’t concern them immediately.
In addition, push notifications are much easier to create than lengthy emails that users are likely to skim over.
While browsers give a choice to either allow or block a notification, the rate at which you can grow your web push notifications list is significantly quicker than growing an email list.
How to do web push notifications right
Since the success of a push notification is measured by how much-repeated traffic it can generate and the number of gained subscribers, it is important to do it right. There are different aspects to push notifications that determine their appeal to users.
The biggest thing to consider is customization. Today users are much better at detecting generic content and distinguishing it from content created with the end user’s preferences in mind. The personalized approach is very much appreciated by users and it usually generates recurring visits to a website. So instead of bombarding a customer with generic notifications, consider putting in the effort to personalize the experience.
Meanwhile, you should always consider who your audience is and who would benefit the most from these types of notifications. It is important to have audience filters in place so you send notifications to a specific segment of your audience based on their interests and behavior.
When it comes to the content of your notification, the title is the first thing anyone will see, so it’s arguably the most important element. Think of your title as the subject line of an email and focus on grabbing a user’s attention. Beyond the title, keep the content of the notification short and easily digestible. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are another important dimension of a web push notification. The right CTA will increase click-throughs.
Web push notifications can also be scheduled for a specific time, automated using a drip sequence, or customized with images and rich media. All features which can increase engagement and click rates.
What are the types of web push notifications?
There are 3 main types of web push notifications;
Alert-based notifications are generated manually and designed to inform the user about useful updates. An example of an alert-based notification would be the release of a new product.
Trigger-based notifications, on the other hand, are sent based on the activities of the user on a website. One example of a trigger-based notification is the recovery of an abandoned cart.
Segment-based notifications are the most personalized and are sent to a group based on specific qualities. They might be the most loyal subscribers, or they may have a common interest.
When should you ask for consent?
Since web notifications are a permission-based marketing channel, it’s best to start using them after you’ve seen some active interest from a user to get involved with the company or website. This way you avoid looking like a spamming scheme and save the client an annoyance.
The general rule of thumb is to not let the push notification be the first thing that pops up on the website, instead, let the user see the actual website and what you offer before suggesting an opt-in.
After receiving consent from the client, another important “when” to consider is the timezone of the user. The chance of someone clicking on a notification that they received in the middle of the night is very low. You can either give the option of choosing the time frame for notifications, or you can make sure to send them during reasonable hours.
The things to avoid with web push notifications
The most obvious one is to limit the number of notifications sent per day. Most people would say that more than 5 notification per day is excessive. It might bring you attention in the beginning but it’s not sustainable and users will get bored of it soon enough.
Another important thing to consider is that the generic approach doesn’t work with push notifications. You won’t get the results you want if you don’t personalize your notifications for specific segments of your audience.
The third point to look at is the right metrics. Since push notifications should help with building a loyal audience, take the time to look at whether your notifications are attracting one time visitors or recurring ones.
Are web push notifications worth it?
One of the best things about push notifications is that there is no negative outcome. You don’t lose anything from adding it to your marketing strategy, you will only increase engagement and traffic. So, why not test them out?
If you’re concerned that push notifications might get too pushy you can choose a “soft ask” option first. This means that you first explain to the user the value of receiving notifications. If the visitor says yes to the soft ask, then the browser will display the regular opt-in prompt. This can sometimes be a more effective and less overbearing way to go about an opt-in.
Research conducted by Oracle Responsys proves that web push notifications really do work. Almost 98% of web push notifications reach their destinations. And, they improve user engagement by 75%.
Since web push notifications don’t ask for any personal information, users are more likely to accept the opt-in and further engage with your website than with other marketing channels such as email.
Guest author: Konstantin has been in marketing and advertising since 2011. After leading marketing efforts of one of the largest financial brokerages and an innovative b2b fintech company, he decided to go solo and is now focusing on consulting financial companies on how to drive the best results from their digital marketing efforts. Next to this, Konstantin has been showing interest in the recent regulation of the most competitive industries – finance and iGaming. Stalk him on Quora or connect via LinkedIn to learn more.