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How to Increase Push Notification Engagement by 800%

Web & Mobile

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


You are reading a guest blog post by Leanplum. 

Personalization: the key to mobile engagement.

It makes sense. After all, users are people. They’re more likely to interact with a message from an app that’s tailored to them. A message that includes their name, respects local hours and cultures, or is triggered by actions they’ve taken inside your app garners more attention.

That’s why Leanplum, a mobile marketing platform, launched a new data science report on May 17th. We wanted to understand what exactly made a user more likely to engage with a push notification. So we analyzed 1.5 billion push notifications hoping to answer a few key questions.

1) What drove users to return to your app?
2) What’s their level of interest?
3) What’s the time span in which a user will re-engage?
4) How does the message relevance affect opens?

As a result, we found that apps that personalized their push notifications increased open rates by up to 800 percent.

How to Increase Push Notification Engagement by 800%

The 50+ page report highlights findings you won’t see anywhere else. Some biggies to note:

Android has double the push notification open rates of iOS, but iOS users open push notifications seven times faster than Android users.

Push notifications triggered by individual user behaviors produce nine times the open rate of blasts sent immediately.

Push notifications that contain personalized content, such as user names, favorite categories, or recently viewed items, see four times the open rate of generic messages.

What did we do with all that data? Let’s take a look at some charts, taken from the report.

First, Android and iOS had very different open rates. On average, iOS had a 1.77 percent open rate, while Android had an average open rate of 3.48 percent.

How to Increase Push Notification Engagement by 800%

We had to figure out why this was, and in the end, we theorized that it boiled down to the user interface (UI). On Android, messages “stick” around longer in the lock screen, requiring user action for it to disappear. Yet even after users shelve notifications, Android still lets them know they have unread notifications by adding a sticky icon to the top left corner of the home screen. On iOS, once a user unlocks the screen, the message is gone forever.

Next, we took a look at the median time to open a push notification. Here, you can see that users open iOS messages in a median time of seven minutes, while Android users take 48 minutes. Why? One theory is that due to the ephemeral nature of push on iOS, users are trained to act with more immediacy, knowing how quickly pushes will be moved into the hard-to-find notifications tray.

How to Increase Push Notification Engagement by 800%

Now, take a glance at the data from push notifications that are sent immediately (in the moment) versus notifications that are triggered by individual user behaviors. Behavior-based messages saw astounding engagement — 800 percent more engagement than generic blasts, in fact.

800 Percent Increase Push Notification Engagement

Finally, let’s examine the effect of personalized content on user opens. The chart below shows that apps that personalize push, by including a user’s name, event parameter, etc., saw a 4x lift on open rates. This proves that starting a conversation with users, rather than putting them on the receiving end of a generic blast, goes a long way to increase app engagement.

To read more, download the full data science report on Leanplum’s site here.

About the writer of this guest blog post: Leanplum offers a fully integrated platform to manage all your mobile marketing needs and gives you the tools to personalize everything — in and out of the app. To get started with Messaging, Automation, Personalization, App Editing, A/B Testing, and Analytics, visit

Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our readers here at the Chop Dawg blog? Email us at!

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