Push Notifications & Your Marketing Funnel

Outlining the user journey and how push notifications fit in your marketing strategies.

OneSignal's Customer Success Manager, Karima Wagner, goes over how push notifications fit in your company's marketing funnel. The transcript of the webinar can be found below.



Thanks everyone for joining. I'm very excited to host today's webinar. A few things before we get started: This webinar is being recorded and I will be sharing the recording with everyone after the webinar. It's a listen-only mode. So, if you have any questions, please do share them in the chat or the Q and A, and I'll make sure to answer them throughout the session. I'll save 10 minutes at the end of the session to cover any other questions.

Perfect. So, we're just going to go ahead and get started.

So, today's topic is about push notifications and how they fit within your marketing funnel. So, this is what I wanted to cover for today. Today's agenda would be a little bit of a presentation about OneSignal and then talking about that user journey and again, how push notifications fit within marketing, what the benefits of push notifications are and best practices.

So, my name is Karima Wagner, a [01:07 inaudible] Customer Success team here at OneSignal. I'm sure you probably heard from me at one time or the other. Yeah. I'm so excited to host today's webinar. I have been with OneSignal for almost a year now.

We are also hiring. So, if you are in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, we are definitely hiring a bunch of folks. So, feel free to check out our website on the Careers page.

So, a little bit about OneSignal. Our co-founders George and Long actually started as developers themselves. They were specifically in the gaming industry. And then they came into the issue of not being able to engage customers. So, they decided to build OneSignal. That's how OneSignal came to be now. It's very exciting now because we're catering to so many different industries and we're really helping our customers engage users and drive those desired actions and revenue.

So, the first thing I think about when talking about marketing and then the whole marketing and user journey is that a large portion of this is spent in the user acquisition section. So, as you know, a lot of companies probably, including your companies as well, spend a lot of time and energy planning and strategizing how to acquire users, creating content on SEO, doing a lot of content marketing, spending on SEM advertising, leveraging your designers and your creative team to create these compelling creative assets to acquire users, analyzing the performance of each of your ads, each if you're acquisition campaigns to make sure that you're spending your budget correctly and you're maximizing that revenue or return after acquiring the user.

And this is very typical with all companies, but what happens is, after the acquisition, a lot of users are lost by either not being engaged or maybe having not a very good experience, in general, or for some certain platforms or certain products, just not knowing how to navigate your product.

I do see some folks raising hands. Please do send your questions either in the chat or the Zoom chat or the Zoom Q and A and I'll make sure to answer them for you. Awesome.

Just to reiterate, in case you just joined, this webinar is going to be recorded and I will make sure to send you a link to the recording with any remaining questions that were not answered today. Awesome.

So, going back to the marketing strategy, as I mentioned, the acquisition section is very, very important, but what's important is following up after that acquisition. So, once you acquire the users, you want them to take those. So, make sure you want them to just keep engaging with your platform. And more than that, you want them to take specific actions that would impact your business goals. So, that could be spending on certain purchases. It could be getting them to refer other people or share on social media. It could be watching ads for certain businesses.

The User Journey


So, it really just depends on what products and what you offer and what actions you want them to take. That's where you want to think about the user journey - where do we take these users through a journey to make sure that they are having a great experience with us, and at the same time, we're pushing them to take the right actions.

So, most users or most customers that I interact with mentioned that beyond just push notifications, they use email, they use SMS or other platforms. Even SEO, and SEM is part of that, not just the acquisition but keeping the user engaged and in creating that loyalty.

Okay. So, what I'm going to touch on next is how push notifications are a little bit different from other solutions. So, what's really cool about push notifications, first of all, is that it's permission-based. You're not as different. It's a little different from email. It goes with email. As you know, once a user leaves their email on a website or an app, they start getting emails that pretty much they haven't subscribed to. They haven't asked for these emails. It could be not a very good user experience, especially that you do not have input from your users. You do not know what they want to receive, what the frequency is or anything of the sort.

So, that's why push notifications are really great because it's permission-based and the opt-in rate is pretty good. And they're also cheaper than SMS. So for example, the opt-in rate for web push is between 5% to 20%, or for your total traffic. But again, that depends on your business, on your product on site.

Mobile push opt-in rates are much, much higher. So, Android devices, for example, have an opt-in rate of 91%. It's mainly because it's built-in within the apps. So, people do not get prompted, they're automatically subscribed, but then they can actually turn off notifications very easily if they're not interested in them. On iOS, it's a little different. You do need to prompt users, but the opt-in rate is still pretty high. It's at 43.9%. So, that's why acquiring users is very, very important. And then getting them to subscribe to keep them engaged is the next step.

So, the other thing would be the click-through rate. So, push notifications have a pretty good click-through rate. Depending on your industry, you can get an average of 0.7% to 5% click-through rate. I have seen some customers in the sports entertainment industry that have achieved click-through rates of 10%, which is really awesome, but I would say it depends from one industry to the other.

So, if you were curious about your specific industry, please do reach out to us via support or you can follow up on the email I will send later with the recording, and I'm happy to share specific industry benchmarks around click-through rates and other things as well.

So the next thing is that the messages that are sent via push are instant messages. Depending, of course, on how we send them, you can schedule messages ahead of time, but they're pretty instant. Once the user subscribes, you send them a message, they receive it right away unless their device is offline or anything of the sort.

It’s a very, very visible and engaging way of messaging your customers except for email. As you know for email, unless the person goes into their email and then your email does not get caught within the spam, it's still up to them to open the email or not. With push notifications, your whole content is right there visible with your notification, with your message. So, it makes a huge difference. The other thing is, with push notifications, you can include media, so you can include images that really grabbed that user's attention.

Retention & Engagement


The next thing would be stronger retention through personalized messages. So, you can personalize your messages and tailor them depending on your customer preferences. What I mean by that is their actions that they take on your site or app. If you're tracking these actions, you can make your messages so personalized that the user would automatically just engage with every single notification you have. And of course, that's not something that you can achieve right off the bat. You would need to spend some time. And that's something we'll touch on later.

But you do really need to spend time thinking about strategy; the same way if you are also responsible for the acquisition part or if you're responsible for email or SMS. You do need to create a strategy and a user journey to make sure that you're really capturing everyone and you're not letting users slip through the funnel. You want them to be engaged. If they're not engaged, you want to create a journey for the non-engaged to bring them back to your platform.

And then the last thing is just really having control over your engagements. You can analyze every engagement, every interaction your users have with your messages and get a lot of insights from that. And you can retarget them based on, for example, whether they clicked on a notification or not, whether they performed a certain action or not. That's very, very valuable.

So, I'm going to stop here for a second and see if anyone has any questions.

Pablo sent a question: How often do you recommend to send push notifications?

That's a really good question, Pablo. I would say that it depends on what product you have and your type of website or mobile app. For example, if you're a media company that's sending news, then you might need to send more frequent than often. I see media companies also asking their users about the frequency.

Let's see. I have short stories mobile app and I have new stories every day.

That's a really good question. So Pablo, for short stories, if you have new stories every day and then you have probably different topics on each story, you might want to actually capture and ask users what topic they're more interested in either by asking them in your prompt. Not prompts since you have a mobile app. Android does not get prompted. But for that, actually, in-app messages, which is also a feature that you can have. You can access through OneSignal. It could be really cool to capture these interests.

So, for example, you could ask the user, what topic are you most interested in? Or, how many stories do you want to receive a day? And that's how you go about the frequency. But if you did not have any input from the customers, I would highly recommend not sending more than three notifications a week because after that, like more than that, it gets spammy. Some users might love having notification and getting a new story from you every day, but some might not.

So, if you do not have the capability of tracking who wants to receive messages at that frequency, keep it at three. If you can track it on the other hand, that's very, very valuable. And then you're catering. Again, going back to that personalization, you're catering to each user based on the frequency they prefer.

Let's see. A question from Mercedes: How do you measure taps for push notifications?

That's a really good question. So, if you are using the OneSignal platform, then every notification you send, OneSignal already tracks how many clicks you have. So, a click is when someone clicks on a notification. So, as long as they click on it, as long as they tap it, it counts as a tap or a click.

Do let me know if I misunderstood your question. Feel free to explain it and then I'll make sure to answer it to my best knowledge.


Chris had a question: Does personalized mean per user-customized notification?

That's a really good question, Chris. No. So, personalizing means that you are tracking certain actions and certain information about your users and you are targeting them based on that. So for example, again, going back to the stories example, if you have stories, maybe fiction, another one is about thriller or something of the sort, right? Then I want to track every single person that's interested in fiction stories that wants daily notifications. And that's how I would personalize. It's just by creating. Again, I'm not sure if you're using the OneSignal platform or not, but you can create segments based on this information that you're tracking and you can say, "Okay, this segment would be for anyone that wants fiction stories every day." And this would be what we call a tag. And now, you're really targeting everyone that's within that segment and it makes it so much personalized that you do not have to send each user a customized notification, but it still looks very customized to the user. I hope that answers your question, Chris.

Not in this session. Pablo asked: Are you going to explain tags profoundly?

Let me go through the slides that I have and what I prepared for today. If time allows, I am more than happy to cover tags. If not, what I can do is send you links that we have really detailed links in our documentation that explain how to implement tags and how to use them.

Louis asked a question: Is it possible to send notifications to a certain location? For example, can I send a message only to people in New York City?

Really good question, Louis. Yes, you can. So, it depends on where you are. For example, OneSignal tracks location point of users and you can target the users on a specific location by, for example, creating a segment with a location point and you choose your radius, latitude, longitude. So, that's how you would be able to target people specifically in New York City or other places. And that, of course, would depend on the user. If you have a mobile app, then you would need the user to give you permission for location. But you can. Really good questions.

Let's see. I have a question from Catherine: I run a membership organization in the UK and we'd like to ask all members to accept notifications. Is it possible to add their emails in the back end?

That's a really good question, Catherine. Let's see. It depends. What are you planning to do with these emails? You can absolutely add the email as a tag. Or if you are planning to use the OneSignals email feature, you can absolutely pass those emails onto OneSignal and target them based on emails as well.

And please, again, if I haven't answered your question correctly, feel free to clarify a little bit your question. I'm happy to go deeper.

Yeah, these are really great questions. Keep them coming.

Alright. So, user journey. So, this is just an example of how you would think about building your user journey. So, in this example, you acquired this new visitor. Great. And then they come to your site or download your app and subscribe. So, what's next? What do you want them to do or what do you want to send them within these times? So, that's what you need to think about again when you're building your strategy.

So, thinking about the flow, you want to make your flow strong and increase not only engagement but the desired actions such as purchases. So, someone came into my site for app, added an item to their cart and they haven't finished their purchase. We need to make sure to send them a message, a little reminder, "Hey, finish your purchase." And they finish. Once they buy, you send them a notification saying, "Your item is on the way. Your item has arrived. Leave us a review about the item." So, that's really cool because it shows that you're again with them throughout the journey. And next time they want to purchase an item, they will automatically think about your platform.


For other industries, it really depends from one industry to the other. In the example that we talked about earlier, Pablo, with your stories, it could be like, "Here is an exclusive access to a story that hasn't been published yet." Or like, "Here is our pick, our topic for the month or for the week, the reader's favorites," or something of the sort. So, you're really making that customer feel like they're important to you. You're spending a lot of time and energy on nurturing that relationship. But all of this can be automated. It's just that you need to track the right information to make it seem personalized on the customer side.

Alright. So, that's really just an example that I had. As I mentioned, really think about just yourself as a person using your own product, how would you like communications to be, and then go at it from there.

Best Practices for Push Notifications

So, in terms of best practices, and this would be my last slide and I'll make sure to answer any questions. I know we have only seven minutes left. But just in terms of best practices, the best thing is always pre-prompt. So, there have been some browser changes if you're using web push where if you're only using a native prompt without a first step, you might get penalized if a lot of people click 'No' on your prompt. I will send a blog post about this for you to read in more details.

But pretty much when you're prompting your users, make sure to communicate the value. What are they getting out of subscribing to your push notifications? Make sure that's very clear because a lot of users might just be randomly clicking on things that pop on their screen just to make it go away so they can finish whatever they're doing on your site or in case of iOS, like the app. But what you don't want is users subscribing and then going inactive on you if not unsubscribing altogether. So, you definitely want users that understand what you are going to send them and want to receive your notifications.

The other thing is just timely and relevant messages. Always think about the user’s time zone. Make sure that you're not sending notifications in the middle of the night, really interrupting someone's sleep, or during a time where it's just not the right time for them. So, keep that in mind. With OneSignal, you're able to send by user time zone. You can optimize based on when the user is most active on your site or app. So, these are things to definitely take advantage of.

The last thing is personalization. As I mentioned, tags are very, very powerful because you can use them to create segments and send these messages that seem very hyper-relevant and personalized to the user.

If you go to our YouTube channel, last week, not last week, two weeks ago... Anyways, if you go to OneSignal YouTube channel, I hosted a webinar prior to this talking about different types of notifications that you can send. So, if that's something that you're interested in, definitely check it out and feel free to reach out to me and ask questions, any follow up questions. It doesn't have to be specifically from this webinar. We're definitely happy to help.

Alright. So, that's all I had. And then we have five more minutes, and I'll make sure to answer as many questions as I can. Let's see.

So, Chris said: Can the notifications pop up within iOS apps that use WKWebView to present web content?


I am not sure what you mean by WKWebView. Please do a follow up in the email and I'm happy to direct you to the right documentation for this.

Daph: How easy is it to integrate OneSignal with other system like Magento for communicating order dispatches?

So, it's not a one-click integration, but you can definitely integrate with Magento and other systems as well. The best thing would be through the API. The other thing that you can do is use webhooks. We do not have a one-click solution, but there's a work around it. If you look at our documentation in integrations, you'll be able to see how you can implement it with each platform.

Charles said that he had to leave and wants the recording. Of course.

Alexia: Tags?

That's a really good question, Alexia. So, tags are actions that users take on websites or mobile apps that you capture. So, in Google analytics, they are called universal events. So, it's pretty much something that you would need to add code to your site or app that tracks. So, if I click on a button, if I do this, you are capturing that information and saving it, and you can send that information to OneSignal to target your users with it.

So, let's say, for example, going back to Pablo's question earlier or Pablo's use case, different stories like sending short stories, you can track a specific topic. For example, I read three stories in fiction. So now, not only do you know that I'm interested in fiction, you know how many times I've clicked on a fiction short story. And you can tag me with that. And now, you can target users that have clicked on a fiction topic and have clicked on two or more stories from that same topic. You can target them with saying, "Here are our top stories for the week or top fiction stories for the week."

I am happy to send links or documentation about tags, Alexia. They explain how to use them, how to set them up, and you also can find example code.

A question from Pablo: It's identification of your users.

I'm not sure if that was a question. Please let me know if it was a question. Next one... Oh, thanks, Pablo. Pablo was just answering Alexia. Okay.

Next one from Gary: What kind of subscriptions do you have?

I'm not sure what you mean by that, Gary. Could you clarify?

Oh, plans. For that, I would go to www.onesignal.com. There is a page called Pricing. You should be able to get details in there. Other than that, you can reach out to our support team in the chatbox at the bottom right corner and they should be able to help you understand all of it.

Let's see. Wissam had a question: Can we control notifications? How will it show? Can we do it without a subscriber? Go down to see the content.

Can we control notifications? Could you clarify a little bit, Wissam? I'm not sure what you mean by that.

So, a notification actually is just a little pop-up thing that shows so the user does not have to scroll down to see it. It's just at the top of their device, whether a laptop or a phone. You can control the content you send. You can control whether you add images to your notification or not, whether you add emojis or not. You can even substitute certain things from the tags that I mentioned earlier to add them in your message itself like the user's first name or the product or the topic they're interested in. You can control when to send it timewise. Yeah, please clarify your question. I'm happy to answer it.

Let's see. Lewis had a question: What happens if you go over 10k subscribers for the free account but you don't send any messages? Does the account shut down until you pay?


*Note: Since the release of this webinar OneSignal has released a new affordable pricing tier. More can be read about this new plan here. With this update, the Free tier has now been restricted to 10,000 web subscribers.

No, absolutely not. So, our founders really want to enable all the startups and end the upcoming and growing companies to be able to engage their customers. So, there's no such a thing. There are limits on what you can do on the free plan, but your account will not get shut down if you exceed 30k subscribers. What happens when you exceed 30k subscribers is that you can only message the first 30k subscribers. That's the only thing that you're capped at. You also have a limit on segments. I believe it's six segments for free accounts. You have a limit on number of tags per user. So, each user can have up to 10 tags at a time. But no, your account will not get shut down.

Daph: Are event-based notifications possible?

Yes, absolutely. So, you can either do it manually by using the tags as events or you can set them up as an automated message where, for example, I want anyone that has completed a purchase to receive a message right away saying whatever. So, you can set it up as an automated message.

Let's see. So, I have a question here from an anonymous attendee: If you do get blocked, what is the likelihood of being unblocked?

I am not sure. Are you talking about the penalty from browsers? If that's the case, you have a 20-day window where you can pretty much get out of the penalty. So, if you get silenced from prompting, what happens is, if you change your prompts and more people are opted in, then your prompt would show.

Let's see. The other question: You mentioned a penalty for not pre-prompting. What does that mean?

So browsers, once the users have a good user experience. For that, let's say, for example, I am someone that whenever I get prompted on any site, I say no, they will just silence the prompts moving forward for me. Or for your specific site, if users keep... Oh, I apologize. We are running over a little bit. Feel free to hop off and I'll send the recording to everyone, but I'll try to ramp up in the next two minutes. So, as I mentioned, if your site receives a lot of rejects on your prompt, your notification would be silenced. I will be sending a link to a very detailed blog post about it where you can see what's going on.

So, who does the penalizing of the browser? Google. Google does. Actually, last month, our CEO had a webinar, a chat with the Product Manager of notifications of web push specifically from the Google side. They went into depth on how you get penalized and why and all that. So, you can find that in our site. I am happy to send you a link to that too if you were curious to learn more details.

Yeah, absolutely. Aira: I'm interested in getting all the links.

I will make sure to send everything, all the links to everyone that joined. So, rest assured I'll do that.

And then the next question: Is there a way to manage other customer's accounts like in Facebook ad manager?

I'm not sure what you mean by that, Aira. Yeah, please do follow up on my email. I'll send an email with the recording and in the questions that came so far. And if any questions were not answered, follow up with me and I'm happy to answer them.

So, answer two more questions and we'll be ending this webinar.

Pablo: Does your CTR change a lot if your push notification has an image?

I do not have percent top of mind. I believe there's a 16% increase in clicks if you include image.


Can I tag people that are not subscribed to receiving notifications?

That's a really good question. You cannot send push notifications to people that are not subscribed. But if you have a mobile app, you can send in-app messages. So, that's also a feature at OneSignal. I believe it's also available for free accounts. And then in-app messages are awesome because of course, they are in-app, so the user has to have the app open to receive it. But you can message anyone regardless of whether they're subscribed or not.

Let's see. Last question. Wissam: I was testing notifications before on Android devices, but now I have an important message but a long message, and users don't know what they should scroll down to read this message. Click on it, and then that sends them to the application without reading the message.

I see. If it's mobile, then my recommendation for you would be using in-app messages because then it's a popup, it's really clear and you have a lot more space to add your content in there. So, without them clicking, they can read everything. If it's web, there isn't really an option except from just making sure to not send the important message at the same time as the other messages.

Alright. Please do follow up with me as I mentioned in the email. If you have any other questions, I'll make sure to include some links in here. I'll include a link to the browser changes, a link to the video conference between our CEO and the Google Product Manager about the browser changes, links to tags and links to automated messages. So, if I forgot anything, feel free to follow up with me.

Also, I will be sending a link to a survey. Please take some time to let us know your thoughts about this webinar and also suggestions. It's just a two-question survey. The other question is, what other topics would you like to hear about? So, we're really trying to create good content that helps you understand how to create successful push notification campaigns. So, do let us know and we're happy to host more content.

Well, thanks everyone and I hope you have a great day.