Go beyond push notifications

We live in an app-based world and as every aspect of life becomes increasingly digitally connected and mobile, applications will continue to become the primary way consumers interact in any friendly or business-related communications.

The total number of app downloads is estimated at 197 billion in 2017[1]. While the app category people spend the most time on is social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), business and e-commerce are largely being conducted through apps as well. Think booking a doctor appointment, setting up a house showing through a real estate app, or booking a dinner reservation. In fact, according to Business Insider, the app millennials used the most in 2017 was Amazon[2].

When it comes to financial services, apps are king as well. According to one report, the U.S. finance app market saw nearly 50% growth over the past two years[3]. Meanwhile, the top five fintech apps boast nearly 6,000,000 monthly active users in the U.S.

“Just” an app is no longer enough

The abundance and continued emergence of apps doesn’t mean everyone is doing it right. Too many firms think simply putting an application out into the marketplace is all they need to do but, unfortunately, having a bad platform can actually hinder customer experience and growth. If you don’t make a good first impression with your app, the damage is already done – in fact, one study found that 80% are deleted after one use, and if users don’t return to an app for a second time after seven days, there is a 60% chance they never will open it up again[4].

The key to giving consumers a good experience is getting them to actively engage. This is especially important because engaged customers tend to be highly profitable and loyal to brands they support. The best way to accomplish this? Offer customers personalized, relevant and customized in-app content that caters specifically to their needs and preferences. Don’t make them feel like they are receiving the same generic messaging that millions of other people are.  

If organizations properly harness and leverage the abundance of data they possess on customers, they already know the types of products and services they may be looking for. A robust analytics tool can help present timely offers and recommendation at exactly the right moment when your customer wants them.

Gamification is another key strategy to boost app engagement. It can be as simple as offering customers rewards for filling out profiles or personal information fields thoroughly, or enabling them to share certain information to social media platforms or invite a friend. Whatever the method is, the most important thing to keep in mind is that any gamification aspect encourages your customers to interact with the app and creates some kind of value for them in return.

Transform your push notifications

Beyond just having an application, the primary way that companies interact with users via an app is through push notifications. While push notifications can be a great way to engage with your audience, too many firms overuse them and bombard customers with a high-volume of notifications resulting in low-impact – a constant stream of notices that aren’t relevant to an individual.

One consumer survey conducted in 2017 found that 37% of consumers say they will disable notifications if an app sends 2-5 notifications per week. Besides frequency, another issue is sending  push notifications that are too long, with research showing that typically the best performing push notifications are under 25 characters.

Simply put, the main purpose of utilizing push notifications in a meaningful way is to make sure they are useful. For example, someone doesn’t want a push notification recommending a restaurant special in New York, when they are in Toronto for the weekend. If they are irrelevant, the frequency, length, or any other measurable metric won’t matter. Push notifications can be highly successful for your firm, but they need to be highly targeted and paired with engaging in-app content — that is the winning combination for successful user app engagement and increased  profitability.

To drive the point home, 30% of consumers say they  opt out of notifications that are not relevant[6]. To make your communications unique, first take advantage of geolocation –think of a retail store sending out reminders for time-based promotions to anyone who’s within the immediate area or bars promoting happy hour specials using the same technique[7]. But try to go beyond, and leverage age, income, location, spending habits, whether they have children or not, and many other factors to create a truly relevant customer experience,

The facts bear out how important personalization is: 54% of users convert from customized push notifications[9], compared to only 15% who convert from generic, broadcast messages.

An immersive customer experience

Ultimately, you want to create immersive experiences so that you’re bridging the online and offline –not just interrupting the offline. In many instances, consumers still want that “human touch,” especially when it comes to making a significant financial investment. By tracking and recording the customer’s journey across digital touchpoints, your in-branch staff or financial advisors can have more meaningful dialogue with customers. It’s not just enough for a company to have an application and it surely isn’t enough to offer push notifications. Organizations need to present a personalized and engaging in-app experience that will resonate with individual customers and create useful experiences.


[1] http://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-statistics/

[2] http://www.businessinsider.com/best-apps-according-to-millennials-2017-8/#1-amazon-10

[3] https://www.appannie.com/en/insights/market-data/app-annie-2017-retrospective/

[4] https://blog.helpshift.com/80-users-delete-mobile-apps/

[5] https://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2018/33486/how-many-mobile-push-notifications-are-too-many

[6] https://www.braze.com/blog/opt-out-of-push-notifications-why-users-do-it/

[7] https://blog.kissmetrics.com/push-notifications-to-boost-engagement/

[8] http://info.localytics.com/blog/52-percent-of-users-enable-push-messaging

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