Here's How to Master Push Notifications

May 22, 2017

Micro-moments are battlefields for brands — use push notifications as ammunition. 

Can you recall the last time you went to the restroom without bringing your phone? Bet you can’t.

Our phones have become our go-to destination when we want or need something. A Google study found that while we check our phones a whopping 150 times a day, we spend a relatively short amount of time per session: only a little over a minute on average.

While some of these sessions are used for texting loved ones, sending quick emails or checking the time, there are other moments — the I want-to-do, I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-buy moments. These are micro-moments: moments when consumers expect brands to be useful and when preferences are shaped. The organic nature of these moments makes them particularly potent — consumers are more open to a brand’s influence when they want help informing their decisions.

For brands, these moments are battlefields that need to be conquered. To succeed in our micro-moment world, Google highlights three key tactics:

Be There Be Useful Be Quick

 

It’s not a coincidence that notifications from ride-hailing apps arrive when you’re about to leave the office. These are examples of timely, targeted and relevant push notifications. The challenges of “micro-moments marketing” — being there, being useful, being quick — are inherently addressed by push notifications.

Be There. It pays to actively seek out your customers. After understanding their intent, take the initiative to create your own micro-moment using push notifications. Being present at these moments will help you swing the 90% of smartphone users who are undecided on which brand to choose while searching online.

Be Useful. If you want to seize your customers’ attention, it’s not enough to simply be present. Being useful means anticipating what customers really want and recognizing that they’re not all the same. According to Google, 3 out of 4 customers say getting consistent and useful information from advertisers is key to selecting a brand. It’s important to send marketing messages that are aligned with your buyers’ journey, and push notifications can help you do that effectively. 

Be Quick. In an age that demands instant gratification, 20% of smartphone users report switching to another app immediately if it takes too many steps to get their desired information. With push notifications, users are able to interact with brands directly from the lockscreen. This frictionless approach helps customers make quick decisions and complete specific actions.

 

That sounds great and all, but what if…

You don’t have a mobile app? Or even if you do, half of your users have turned off push notifications?

The most common way to send push notifications is through a mobile app. But this means going through a technically complex process. Apple, for instance, has stringent regulations regarding the use of push notifications from iOS apps. Individual push IDs must be obtained before one is allowed to use the API. Apple doesn’t charge for its APN services, but servers need to be maintained to send push notifications, which can be costly.

And after you’ve gone through this arduous process, 60% of all app users opt-out of push notifications.

 

Push notifications without an app? Enter calendarscalendar push notifications for micro-moments

The pervasiveness of the calendar in our lives makes it an effective alternative for sending push notifications. Calendars avoid the demanding technical process that comes with mobile apps, and they offer brands a more direct communication line since they’re embedded within every smartphone.

With calendars, customizable notifications can be sent to your audience at any time. This is especially useful for events that require timely communication — from webinars to conferences, flash sales to product launches, TV shows to concerts.



In today’s mobile marketing landscape, there are only a few precious milliseconds to capture your audience's attention with a clear and succinct message. While great potential lies within push notifications, it only takes one ill-timed, unfitting notification for the user to lose trust in you. Regardless of whether you send push notifications through an app or the calendar, ensure you understand your audience's behavior as comprehensively as possible. Push notifications are powerful and intimate — use them wisely.