Improving Push Strategies

Change how you send push notifications by following these best practices.

OneSignal's Customer Success Manager, Karima, goes over how you can improve your push strategies. The transcript of the webinar can be found below.


Alright. We are going to get started right now. Through this session today, feel free to send your questions through the chat or the Q and. A. I'll have the chat box open and I'll be answering them throughout the session. Also, this webinar is going to be recorded and I'll send everyone that attended a copy of the recording, so you should be able to review it afterwards.

Great. So, a little bit about myself. My name is Karima Wagner. I lead the Customer Success team here at OneSignal. You might have heard from me one time or the other either sharing some insights about your current strategy. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions on either today's session or just in general on your unique business case. I'm happy to help.

So, for today's agenda, I'll share a little bit about OneSignal very briefly and then we go into what people mostly used web push for or push, in general, web and mobile, and also where are the areas where you can improve your strategy. Of course, I'll leave 5 to 10 minutes at the end for any questions you have.

So, OneSignal. Our co-founders actually were developers themselves. They were in the gaming industry and they came into the challenge of re-engaging customers, keeping these users coming back. They couldn't find a solution that worked for them. That's how they ended up building OneSignal. We are now catering to all sorts of businesses and industries. It's really amazing to keep learning from our own customers as well. We're located in the Bay Area, but we're definitely expanding in other areas too.

So, push notifications. Mostly, people use push notifications to drive engagement, to increase traffic, to really increase conversions, revenue, or even to drive referrals. The interesting thing is, more than 90% of these acquired customers end up churning within the first 90 days. So, all the money you've put into acquiring these customers is put to waste if you don't keep customers engaged and interested.

If you actually find the right way of engaging your customers within the first 90 days, the retention rate increases by up to 190, which is really amazing. The things that really make an impact within the first 90 days would be the frequency of your messages, the quality of your messages. Are they valuable? Do they make sense to your customers and your brand? Are you spamming your users or are you really making them become more loyal by giving them quality content and relevant information?

So, these are really the things that, although you might have a good push strategy, you might miss that on and you'll end up losing most of your subscribers. So right now, we're actually going to dive into the types of messages that can help with that retention.

Before we dive into the messages themselves, I always like to hit on the first step. How do you acquire your users? How do you acquire these subscribers? Well, obviously, once you set up the push platform, OneSignal, for example, or any other push platform, you do want to get as much subscription, increase that opt-in rate as much as possible. But on the other hand, you also want people to really know what they're subscribing to. Why do they need to subscribe? Are you just annoying them by prompting them?

So, one, you're prompting your users. Really think of the timing. Did they click on articles? Is this their first visit or maybe third visit? Do you really want to prompt them on the first visit? Users that actually see better engagement also prompt at the right time. A user may be clicked on a specific article or it's their second or third visit. That's someone that's actually interested in your content, in your product, and wants to learn more from you.

The other thing is the prompt itself. OneSignal actually offers three out of the box types of prompts. But you can also customize your own. But think about the value. What is your message? What is your selling point of that prompt content itself? Do you want to keep them updated on the latest news? Do you want to keep them updated on their account status? Then tell them that in your prompt. That would make them understand what the value would be by subscribing.


The last thing, definitely, definitely include your logo. That is part of branding. It makes the customer, again, understand that this is your brand with a nice message. It just sticks more and people are more willing to subscribe, instead of just a generic prompt that they might think it's just another ad that's popping up.

The Customer Journey

So, one of the first types of messages that I wanted to hit on was Customer Journey. So, as I mentioned, you spend all that effort into getting users to visit your app or your site and then you prompt them, you subscribe them. Now what?

So, the first thing you need to think of is a plan that will get your users up and running, onboard them. Allow them to give you their preferences. Really stick with them throughout their journey so you improve their retention rate.

So, the first thing I would say is, think about your welcome message. So, someone just opted in. really emphasize on that value of why they subscribed. You can send them an incentive, a discount, maybe a free trial, free seven-day or something trial into a pro or like a subscription account. Or just really walk them through your platform; show them how to navigate the platform.

The other thing would be, definitely, take input from your customers too. Allow them to share their preferences. Allow them to tell you how frequently they want to receive notifications. you can definitely do that by keeping that open feedback from the customer. It's great to welcome the new users, but always be aware of the ones that actually churn throughout time or go inactive. So, anyone that hasn't visited your site in the past week or the past month, you need to message them as well.

It's good to message the active users, but also give some attention to the ones that are losing engagement. Bring them back to decide, "Hey, did you know that you can do this?" or "We think you'd love this article or this product. Here’s a discount," or something of the sort and really track how they're attracting with that. If it's working, keep at it. If not, change your strategy. Of course, always say thank you if they shared an article, if they shared their rating or they purchased an item. It just shows how much you value your customers and that creates loyalty.

The other thing throughout the customer journey is definitely curated content. So, depending on their actions on the site, especially if you actually are tracking these user interactions and behaviors in your CRM or in your database, you do want to create specifically curated content for them. Obviously, you would want to automate all of this, but giving the customer that experience, that feeling of, "Okay, we've curated this specific content just for you. We think you would love this article," or "Here is a special early access to this exclusive section of my app or website," definitely increases that loyalty.

The second thing, which comes up a lot, is location. That's something as you're aware that OneSignal allows you to do. You can actually target your users by latitude and longitude. Wherever the users happen to be, you can actually trigger messages based on that.

So, what can you use this location information with? Obviously, announcement. So, if users are around a specific area where you have special offers, definitely let them know. A customer might be near a physical store that you have somewhere, send them a last-minute deal or tickets. A customer is going to pick up an item from your store, remind them of that or tell them specifically where to go. If there is a specific event going around, you would want to share some information around, "Here's how to go to that event," or maybe "Pick up this or that on your way there," or just a reminder that the event is happening and is going to start in the next hour or something like that. It definitely helps. Again, you're not selling them anything; you're actually giving them useful information that makes them actually want to keep hearing from you.


I'm going to stop here for a second. I know I'm going a little too fast and I wanted to see if you have any questions so far. Now, for a few seconds, if no questions, we'll keep moving forward.

Different Types of Push Notifications

Alright. So next, this is very, very popular with eCommerce companies mainly, but you can use this for any sort of product that you have - offers. Everyone loves offers. Everyone loves deals. So, you can really take advantage of this type of messaging to get that engagement.

So, get creative, really get personalized as I mentioned, especially if you're tracking these user behaviors on your platform. You do want to use that information to really show your customers how much you care, how much you really value them as a customer.

So, you can use them to send coupons when it's good timing or it's related to a product they usually purchase or a type of topic that they're usually interested in. You can also really leverage the seasonality of certain events and products, may be related to a specific season, a holiday, weather-related.

It could also be related to a personal thing, their birthday anniversary, maybe a milestone they have achieved. Or, as I mentioned earlier, some curated content or recommendations used on their preferences that they either shared with you or you're tracking through your CRM.

You can also send things such as end of season or sale, rare or limited edition items or experiences that are available again. The other thing that you can use the offers with is for media companies and entertainment companies.

Breaking news. Maybe there is a live streaming that's happening. Podcasts, you do want to keep your users up to date with that because again, you're giving them that exclusive information to get heads up on certain things that are happening before anybody else.

The next type of notifications that you would want to think about are updates. People are busy. They receive a lot of information, so it's good to remind them. Again, as long as it's valuable to them, then you do want to message them about that.

I see a message from Peter: Mostly want a basic understanding on how to set up the dashboard.

Did you mean you want a walkthrough on how to use OneSignal?

Perfect. Peter, in that case, I will follow up with you later. This is more about improving your push strategy. I do host another type of session which is really walking you through the platform and how to best use it. I will share a previous recording of that session with you if you'd like. I can also send you a link to register for the next sessions if that's something you're interested in.

Perfect. Well, thanks for the question, Peter.

Great. Well, let's go back to the updates. As I mentioned, you do want to keep your users up to date on anything that's happening. So, examples of the updates that you can do are reminders. Maybe there's an event happening or maybe it's the last chance to register for a training or to buy a certain product before you run out. That's a great way to message your customers about it.


Action requests. You need to confirm this message or you need to finish setting up your profile or something of the sort. It's definitely helpful.

Where I see these updates also very valuable is in terms of purchases and products. You want to update users on the order confirmation or status updates on where the shipment is. If it's a subscription-based type of product or purchase, you do want to remind them to re-order whatever they just ordered.

They put items in the cart and forgot to finish the purchase, remind them of that incomplete action, remind them to complete the transaction. They put an item in their wishlist and it's not available in stock now, remind them when it's back in stock. They would really appreciate that and you will be increasing your revenue.

I see a question here.

Absolutely, Steven. I'll send you the link as well. Thanks.

Anyone that's interested, I'm happy to send the link. What I can also do if everyone here is interested in that, in my follow-up, I can send the link to this webinar and the link to the onboarding session that I host.

Perfect. Please do let me know if anybody else wants the link.

Geiant, I apologize if I misspell your name.

Avinash: I want to know how to implement these things.

Yeah, absolutely. I can send some links on how to implement these. Just to give you a little bit of basic information, if you are tracking this information in your database, then there is definitely an opportunity to pass that information either into OneSignal on targeting your users with them. Or, if you're more API-heavy, then you can totally do it through the API. Let me take note on that and I can follow up with some useful links for you. Great question.

Perfect. I see Alandra and Merrick also asking for the onboarding link. I will send them to you. Thanks, guys, for sharing your questions.

Perfect. I will move on to the next type of notifications that you might want to think about - social. So, as you know, people are very, very active on their social profiles and they do love updates. They do love updates when someone mentions them. If there is someone that they're following that did certain actions, they do want to be updated on that. If they received the message, definitely you want to let them know, "Hey, you have an unread message." So, that's the type of social activity you want to keep your users updated on. Again, it really helps a lot. You're informing them, you're not bugging them with any spammy messages. They're relevant specifically to them.

Question from Peter: How does OneSignal know how to target a customer based on location or other criteria?

That's a really good question, Peter. I will send you the recording of the onboarding session and I walked through what OneSignal actually tracks depending on the location of the user. Of course, we are GDPR and CCPA compliant. I forget what else we're compliant with. But pretty much we're compliant with GDPR, CCPA. Yeah, I can share more details around that.

Yeah, that's completely fine. It is covered and you'll have a full walkthrough of everything that we track for you and how you can actually use it to target your audience. But yeah, pretty much we track certain data. And one of them, if you are interested in tracking it would be their location. So, in their device, when they interact with your app or website, OneSignal knows what their location is and you can actually target them based on that. Great question.

Yeah. So, that's really it in terms of going back to social, anything you can think of, especially gaming apps or, for example, in any of these... What are they called? Upwork is a good example where they have candidates that apply for certain jobs and there are also the customers that hire these candidates. Then you do want to keep them updated on like, "Oh, this person posted a job. This person accepted your job. They're on the way. They finished a job." That's very useful information, timely, relevant and not spammy.


And the last thing, as you know, everyone really appreciates when they are appreciated. So, think about rewarding your users for their loyalty. You can welcome them when they upgrade to maybe a subscription-based or some sort of reward program that you have. Update them when they are close to meeting a new status, when they achieved the new status, or when they earned a certain amount of points or coins or anything that you have in your system.

Also, update them when there is some sort of contest or giveaway that's happening. Give them the heads up. Encourage them to enter that contest and announce the winners, or give them tips on how they can get ahead of the competition. These are all great, great ways of again, delivering that valuable relative information to them that's personalized.

That's really all I had in terms of types of notifications and how you can improve your strategy with them.

Before we go into more Q and, A, what I want to touch on, which is really basic, is, always think of again, how valuable that information would be to the user.

The other thing you would want to think about is in your notification specifically, add images. If you're sending a notification about a certain type of product, add an image of that product into your notification. That makes the person seeing that notification link them together and then click.

The other thing is emojis. Do not overdo them. But adding an emoji here and there that's clear in meaning makes a huge difference in clicks.

My last thing and probably the most important one, especially that when you're messaging, when you're sending notifications to your users, they have all sorts of different products like devices. They have a phone, a desktop, Mac, different browsers. Think of that when you're drafting your notification and think of how it looks.

For example, if you're sending a web push notification, one of the things I noticed a lot of people do is they don't pay attention to how many characters they should be using. Usually, with web push, if you exceed 27 characters in your title and content, the message itself, the user is not going to see your full message. They're going to see the beginning of it and three dots, which is not really good because they don't see your full message. They don't see the meaning of that message. So, definitely be aware of that. Keep your messages concise, clear and short.

That would be all for my recommendations for this session. We still have five minutes, so please let me know if you have any other questions.

I'll give another minute or two, and then I'll end this webinar if no other questions.

Peter: Could you show an example of an image in notification?

Yup. Let me see if I can find one actually in these specific ones. So, this is a good example of an image in a notification, but this is a mobile notification. You can see here how you've included an image.


Size considerations. That's a really good question, Peter. Let me take a note of that and I'll send you. It depends from one device to the other, but I'll follow up on that with a link that shows you all the different size considerations you need to consider when you're implementing that, when you're including the image.

This is another image. In this presentation I have, I do not have one for web, specifically for web push. But in the video that I will send you about the onboarding session, you will definitely see me actually add an image and you'll see how it looks on different devices. So, that should help. You can also see where to add the image. Great question.

Avinash: Could you send me any example link of location-based notification?

Absolutely. I'm taking note of that. Great question. I'll send this. And just to make it easy for everyone, in my follow up, I will send everyone links to all these questions. In case you were also interested in them, you should have your answer there.

Of course.

Alright. Well, I am going to go ahead and end this session for today. Thank you all for joining. You guys had great questions. I will follow up on the questions. Feel free to email me or email if you have any follow up questions, and I'll see you in the next webinar.

Have a great week, everyone.