Using Automated Messages

Maximize OneSignal's powerful Automated Messaging feature.

OneSignal's Customer Success Manager, Karima Wagner, goes over how to maximize OneSignal's powerful Automated Messaging feature and different use cases. The transcript of the webinar can be found below.



Perfect. My name is Karima Wagner. I am on the Customer Success team here at OneSignal. I've been with OneSignal for a year.

So, what I prepared for today's agenda, I'll cover a little bit where OneSignal started from and we'll go over automated messages overview, some use cases, and by the end of it, I'll make sure to go through a flow of how you can create the automated message in the OneSignal platform. Of course, we'll take any questions you have.

OneSignal, actually, our co-founders started as developers themselves. They were into the gaming industry and they came across the issue of not finding a good solution for engaging their users. And that's how they started OneSignal. It's very exciting to see how right now we're catering to different organizations and industries. We're located in the Bay Area. We’re about 50 people in the team so far.

So, that's pretty much it about OneSignal. Now, we'll just get ahead and start with automated messages and where they fall into your user journey.

So I always like to start from the beginning, which is the user journey. A lot of companies spend a lot of money; dedicate a big chunk of their budget to acquiring users. But then once you acquire users, you have to keep them engaged in order to really maximize that revenue. So, building a good user journey is key to increasing that engagement, increasing your customer loyalty, driving revenue and any other desired business goals.

Of course, once you implement notifications, this is where OneSignal comes in as in the first step, where you would subscribe to users. Now you've subscribed them, you're able to communicate with them. How do you communicate with them efficiently to really take them through that journey?

So these are the steps that you would usually want to think of when building your user journey or push strategy specifically. Building that journey will make you flow strong and increase, not only engagement, but desired actions, such as purchases, referrals, and whatever other actions you desire the user to take on your platform.

And pretty much this is where automated messages can make this flow way simpler than it actually is. They allow you to set up time and event triggered messages. They are personalized to each user and based on their actions.

I see a question from David: How many notifications are you handling monthly?

That is a good question. I would have to check, honestly, to know, but I know over a billion notifications a day get sent. Good question.

So let's start with why we want to automate. The simple question or the simple answer would be saving time, automating make things a lot simpler, but other than that, it's really good to automate to trigger a message based on user actions. They're timely, they're relevant to the user at that time. They're also good to re-engage inactive users or even active users and keep engaging them the right way, again, without having to go through manual steps to do that.

If you were selling any sorts of items, either you're an eComm company or you sell upgrades to subscriptions to access unique content in your site or app or anything of the sort, then you would want to maximize that revenue by really getting people and enticing them to purchase whatever they started on your platform. Of course, as I mentioned, it's a time saver. You said at once, and it's good and it pretty much engages your customers accordingly.

Using Automated Messages


So how OneSignal allows you to automate these things? It's a really simple flow. Of course, at the end of my presentation, I will take you through a flow, but it's really simple. All you need is to think about who needs to fall into a specific segment. As you know, in OneSignal segments are how you bucket your users to target them. So, that is the very first step you need to think about in your campaigns and your strategy.

Our segments are dynamic, so they update automatically whenever someone falls into that specific rules or filters that you create. And that's how you would trigger your automated messages. Beyond just triggering your automated messages, you can also decide when to send a specific automated message. So you can definitely send it immediately, and this would be someone that forgot an item in their cart, or maybe you want to send automated messages for people's birthdays or something of the sort or any time-related events. You can definitely send it immediately. That's relevant. While you still have the customer's attention, you do not want to lose that customer's attention.

Beyond that, there are certain things that you need to think about the right time to send them, not just when someone falls into specific rules or filters, but is it the right time of the day for them to receive that notification? So for that, you can definitely take advantage of two things: either intelligent delivery or user time zone. And for anyone actually that does not know what intelligent delivery is, it's just a way for you to let OneSignal decide when. Based on the information, of course, we track on user interactions with your platform. OneSignal would identify the right time within a 24-hour window where your user is most likely to interact with your notification. And that's when they would send them.

So use cases for this in automated messages would be a user that you're trying to onboard. So, it's great. You want to send them welcome messages, enticing content, discounts, whatsoever you want to do, don't send it at 2:00 AM in the morning. So you want to find the right time where that user would interact with the message. Other than that, if you have users that happen to be on different time zones, and you want to specifically send at a specific time of the day, you might want to optimize by user time zone.

And as I mentioned, it's a really easy flow. The easiest thing that you can start with that would make a huge impact is just re-engagement campaigns, because as you know, a lot of users subscribe and just completely forget about your platform or app. So you do want to keep them coming back. One of the things you can automate is that re-engagement. So let's say I haven't been active on your site or application for a week or so. Depending on what your product is, you could send me a reminder, curated content around popular items, a really enticing discount, whatever it is, you can absolutely automate it, and it's simple to set up.

So here's just to iterate, and then we will actually go through a few examples of how to create these segments with rules for different use cases in a little bit. But pretty much these are the pretty straightforward first thing that you can start with when you're setting up your automation.

Welcome campaigns - new users need to be nurtured throughout the first 15 days since they subscribe. If you really don't engage them during that period, they become inactive users on the long run and you really have lost their attention. As I mentioned, re-engagement campaigns are to bring people back to that active state. Abandoned carts are really an easy way to maximize that revenue. If you have any specific promotional campaigns around specific holidays or something of the sort where not a lot of content changes, you can absolutely automate them as well.

Let's see. I see a question: Is the click-through higher for new stories or product purchases?

That's a really good question. I would say the click-through rate, in general, depends on your content. It highly depends on your content - if you're using rich media or not. Are you enticing a specific action from that content? Do reach out to us later if you're interested in your specific industry benchmarks in terms of average click-through rates frequency in which you need to send notifications and whatsoever. We do have that data. But I would say it highly depends again on the industry, on your type of customers and what your message is because you could have an amazing offering. And then if you draft not a very good message or not a very clear message in your notification, you'll not get a good click-through rate, but good question.

Use Cases for Automated Messages


So now we're going to go into specific use cases. Before we go, just to reiterate, feel free to keep sending your questions, I will be answering them now. I'll make sure to leave 10 minutes at the end to answer any other questions.

These are just examples of use cases that I have been working on with customers or what I see in general. So the first one is a Welcome. As you can see here, there are three, and I'll walk you through it. So the first one is a user that just subscribed, and this is a screenshot actually from how you would set up your segment. So the first one would be 'Welcome Day 1' or a welcome campaign, and that would be anyone who subscribed in the past 24 hours.

Then if they haven't really interacted with this notification, you do want to, again, reach out to them after three days. So, that's where you would want to create the second step of that campaign, which is Day 3. So it would be someone that exactly falls into that three-day window. So their first session is less, then three-day, then the 72 hours and greater than 70 hours.

What I'm trying to do here is narrow that window so you're really targeting the right audience, because if let's say we did not use this second filter or rule right here and we just stuck with the first one, anyone that falls into this rule would be in this one too. And you definitely do not want to send multiple messages to the same user. That's not a good user experience. They would get annoyed and either stop engaging with your notifications altogether, or worse than that, unsubscribe. So once they unsubscribe, you have no way of reaching out to them again. So definitely keep that in mind when you're creating your campaigns.

And then again, if they haven't engaged with your first and second message, you can then add a next step, which is Day 7. These are just examples. You do not have to strictly stick with Day 1, 3, and 7. You can do whatever you think works for your user model. So it could be Day 1, Day 7, Day 15, or even more frequent than that, but this is how you would go about it. As you're noticing here, we're actually combining the filters together with 'and'. We'll see later there is 'and' and there's 'or' combinations that you can do.

I'll stop for a second with the welcome message before going to more examples. Any questions so far?

Alright, so the next one is just re-engagement. So in this case, I only put one step here just for the sake of not being repetitive, but it's exactly the same way as you see in here. But this one is for inactive users, so someone that hasn't visited your site or app for a week. I would create a segment like that using last session design, and really, again, narrow it down to specifically one week ago and trigger a message. That message could be anything, again, depending on your offerings. It could be, "Hey, we miss you. Come back." Here are some curated links for you, here's a discount. Or really anything you can think of, you can absolutely do that.

Another one that we see here, which is, again, goes back to maximizing that revenue is incomplete actions. So let's say you want users to submit a survey, or you want users to create their profile or anything of the sort, and they started but then they didn't finish. In this example, someone visited a specific page where you can submit a survey, but they did not click on the button. So you can absolutely automate that. Once they submit, they start filling out anything that you have. pretty much, once they start taking an action and they don't finish, you can use tags, which are triggers that you can add by adding code to your site or app. Whenever that action happens, you pretty much capture that action and send the key in value to OneSignal and you can use it to trigger these automated messages, or even send regular messages, not specifically automated.


I'll pause here for a second too because usually there are quite a few questions around tags. Feel free to send your questions.

Alright. So a few other examples, most popular one is abandoned cart. As you know, a lot of users start adding items to their carts, and then maybe they get distracted with something else. They leave your browser or your app go into something else and completely forgot. Usually, that is an opportunity for another competitor to pop up in their browser, or again, for them to check something else and completely cancel their order. So you definitely want to maximize that opportunity for them to be interested in your product. Again, going back to tags, that's how you use it. So you would set up tracking on your system whenever someone starts adding a cart item to their cart and they haven't purchased.

In this example right here, I put one hour, but again, going back, it really depends on your use case. It could be 15 minutes, and then you trigger an automated message after 15 minutes reminding them to finish their purchase.

Just another example here. So you could do it this way, which is really simple, just whether something a tag exists. So it could be cart item, add to cart exists, and then a timestamp where whenever that timestamp, whenever it happens to be, specifically one hour or 15 minutes or whatever, you trigger that automated message.

In this case, it's a little bit different. This use case, we wanted to also make sure that this user has at least had four sessions, has at least visited our platform for four sessions, and they've at least spent 15 minutes on our platform. And then they've left an item. Then, okay, let's trigger this message for them.

I see some questions. I'll just cover this last piece, and then we can answer your questions. So geo-targeting, this is something that you can definitely do if you have actual physical stores somewhere, or you're promoting certain things, events, or whatever, you can totally do that. So you would, of course, need the user's consent to share their location with you, but you can totally target them by location point, latitude, longitude, and whatever radius you want. In this example, they want to target, let's say travelers that are within this region and are active members. Then I want to send them a specific messaging around that.

I see someone raised their hand, feel free to share your question here and I'll make sure to cover it.

Similar to this one, if someone is within a specific location and they've ordered more than five times, then maybe that's someone that would be interested. Let’s say this is, again, a physical location for food and beverage. So it's someone that would be interested in an offer of like, "Oh, sign up for unlimited free delivery," or something of the sort. That's totally a way for you to automate it.

Alright. So I will pause for a second here. Before actually going through the flow of how to set up One automated message, I'll cover the questions that we have so far. Let's see.

So Nataki asked: I want to send this to my web team staff, will this be video available?

Absolutely. This video is being recorded and I will share it with everyone that attended probably by tomorrow, just by the time the recording is available. I'll make sure to share it and you can then share it with your team.

"I feel like the whole marketing team needs to be aware of this functionality. This amplifies what we're doing."


Perfect. Yeah, absolutely, Nataki. So I will share this with you. I can also share the presentation slides as well, just so you can see examples of how you can create these segments for automated messages. If you have any specific questions or use cases that you have, feel free to email me. Just follow up with the email you receive from me tomorrow. I'm very happy to help you work through whatever marketing strategy you have.

Let's see. So we have another question: The variables that we are seeing, are they being sent from the application or from the OneSignal tags?

That's a good question. So let me go back here and show you. So if a user allows you to track their location, this is something that we would already have. Their location would already be stored at OneSignal, so you do not have to send that information again. In terms of tags, this is something that you need to send OneSignal. I am happy to show you this. So if you go to our documentation and just search tags, you will find a guide on how to add tags. If you scroll a little bit down, you'll be able to see how you’d use them, but also example code that you can add to your website or for app as well to set up these texts. Great question.

But yeah, there are certain things like session count, total duration, and all that are things that are tracked by OneSignal. You can definitely find that in our documentation as well, what's being tracked and what's not. But typically, anything that's a user tag is something that you need to send.

Sonny had a question: Is there any way to make it user-specific for web push notifications?

Could you specify? Could you clarify a little bit how you want to make it user-specific? Just an overall answer would be user tags. So any action that user, that specific user tags on your website, you can track and sent OneSignal as a tag and you can totally send it to a specific user. The other thing that you can do is let's say, for example, as a tag, maybe you have their name, first name, or anything that you want to actually substitute in your own message and not just to trigger from, you can absolutely do that.

If you just look at personalization here at OneSignal, there are examples on how you can substitute. So you can go to message personalization, and then this is how you would substitute. So you can actually specifically send an automated message with, instead of "Hi there," I'll substitute "Hi Sonny," or "Hi Nataki" or something of the sort. Good question.

"Two different users logging from one browser. I do not want users to [23:55 inaudible]."

Oh, I see. So if it's web push, then if you have a way, so if your website allows people to create their accounts, so there's a login, then in that situation, you will be able to target each user specifically based on who they are. And that's something we call external user ID. Again, in our documentation, look up externally user ID, and you'll see how you can pass that information onto OneSignal to target specifically by external user ID. But if you do not have that currently, there's really no way of sending specific notifications from one browser to one user of the other. Great question. Let's see.

Yeah. I see Nataki. Absolutely, reach out and I am very happy to help you work through your workflows.

perfect. Yeah, these are all great questions. Do keep the questions coming. I know we have three minutes left. So I'm going to go with a quick flow of how to send or set up an automated message.


So of course, you'll log into the OneSignal dashboard. This is our demo app. So you would go to your app. And then the first thing we would do, as I mentioned, is create the segment. So we would go to Audience.

I just created them for the sake of saving time, but pretty much we will go to Audience. New segment, and I created the segment with this filter right here, which is just for Welcome. I now create the segments. But I'll show you again. I do not remember who asked that question. probably, Nataki, you asked this question, but these are most of the things that OneSignal tracks except from the user tag.

Total amount spent and purchase item, this is mobile-app-specific, so you will not have this if you have web. But pretty much everything else you can definitely use to target your users. So once we created our segments, the next step would be going to messages, templates, and creating a template.

So that's the content, it's exactly the same way you would create a push notification, but this is a template. As you noticed, I am calling this template exactly the same way as my segment. This is just best practice. You do not have to do it, but just for making it easy for you and your team to kind of track, "Oh, this is the campaign that we're doing."

Quick on best practices here. Use emojis, use images if you can. They increase the click-through rate immensely. The other thing, keep in mind the length of your message, because as you see here, when I switched between platforms, it looks differently. Let’s say, if I type a little bit longer for message, it looks fine in windows, but if I have a Mac browser, it gets cut. So you definitely want the whole content, whatever the message you're sending to be seen by your users. And for that, make sure that your messages are concise, compact and clear. So image, short messages, clear to the point, action, item. So you see "Let's get you started here." It means I'm asking them to click to get started. So, that's definitely helpful.

The other thing is, make sure that you're directing them to the right place. So let's say it's an abandoned cart, make sure that you're taking them to cart or whatever your URL is. If it's a deep link, make sure you use this. That's really it in terms of best practices. And I'll save. That's really the most of the work. We're already done with it.

Now we're going to go to automated messages, so in Messages, Automated Messages. Once you click an automatic message, I will name it the same just for the sake of keeping track of all my campaigns. Choose my template. Choose my segment. And as I mentioned earlier, depending on what the message is, you can send immediately or intelligent delivery or by time zone. You can also choose to send more than once, once the user returns or after a certain amount of hours. Once you have everything set up, you review everything here and create. And that's it. So, that's one step of your campaign. So all you need to do is recreate all the steps again by just creating the right segment, the right content.

I know we're right on time here, but I will allow a few more minutes to see if anyone has any other questions. But that's pretty much it. That's how you would create segments and templates to set up your automated campaigns.

Let's see. Sonny, you had a question: Is there any way to delete browser ID from the OneSignal API web push?

What do you mean by browser ID?

While I'm waiting on Sonny to respond, please feel free to also email. Just respond back to my follow-up email if there were any questions that maybe you haven't thought of and remembered later.

So another question: Is this strictly for eCommerce or can this be used for news, disseminating news to readers?


This can be used for anything that you want to use it for. It's literally any rules or filters that you want to trigger the automated message with. You set up your segment with these rules and it would trigger your message. Because the news changes all the time, I do not specifically see a way for you to automate that process. Your only way to automate it is by using the API, but not through setting up automated messages. Good question.

Just for your reference, going back to our documentation, we have a very robust and detailed documentation around using the API as well from creating the notifications apps, exporting your data, creating segments, deleting segments, and whatsoever.

I see a question from Caloian. I apologize if I mispronounced your name. Do you have a playbook for news publishers with hints for notifications?

That is a good question. We have some benchmarks around the frequency in which you sent average click-through rate and whatsoever. In terms of playbook for news publishers specifically, no. But feel free to follow up with me when I send you the recording and I'm happy to share some use cases that you can get started with. Great question.

Well, I know we're four minutes' overtime. So I'm going to end the session now. Thank you all for joining. I'll definitely follow up with a recording, and then again, reach out if you have any questions. Also if you don't mind, we will be sending you a link to leave your feedback on this session. So please do let us know if you have any other topics in mind that you would like us to cover. We're definitely happy to create good content for our users.

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