As a campaign manager who receives over 40 untargeted emails a day from holiday companies to voucher websites, I know just how important it is to make your communications as relevant and timely as possible.

The transition from direct marketing via post, to the new age of digital marketing saw a quick saturation across many industries and sectors – can you remember the last time you received a letter about an offer or discount and acted on it?

With so many companies sending email communications about their latest offers, new services, upcoming events, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it can be so difficult to find a gem through the white noise.

With 76% of the UK adult population owning a smartphone, there has also been a significant increase in the number of businesses who are creating their own mobile apps. This has created a new and enhanced way of communicating with customers: app messaging.

Push Notifications vs. In-App Messaging: What’s the difference?

Push Messaging
This type of notification:Example push notification

  • Is immediate and disruptive
  • Usually drops down from the top of the screen
  • Often has a deep link functionality built in that allows the user to click directly on the notification and enter the app from which the notification originated

There are some positive aspects to this approach including the ability to prompt immediate attention with a high probability of the end user engaging with your app, in addition to the deep link capability which saves the user time in searching for the offer or promotion later.

If used well, push messages can provide access to your customer base who are opted out of traditional communications such as SMS and email. However, context and frequency control must still be at the forefront of your strategy. Push has its own rules; a customer is either opted in to push notifications or not – if your messages lack relevance and are sent too often, you’re likely to see a drop in your push customer base.
 
 
Example in-app message
In-app Messaging
These notifications:

  • Appear within the app
  • Are highly contextual
  • Are often deployed via the use of triggered actions

When executed successfully, these messages will merge with the overall app experience and be subtle in their engagement tactics. The use of customer segments allows a personalised experience where the notifications seem to speak directly to the end user, leading to prolonged app usage and customer loyalty.

However, if you simply use in-app notifications to push your brand and its products, you risk your end users disengaging, opting out and possibly uninstalling your app – this is why relevance is so key. Just as is the case with push messaging, frequency control is essential to ensure you only display the most relevant and timely notifications rather than every piece of information you have at your fingertips.

Market Saturation

As the number of apps continues to increase, so will the need to use push notifications appropriately. Currently, there are a relatively small number of brands who really know how to do it.

Amazon are one company that really excels at combining the relevance associated with in-app marketing, but deployed through push messaging. I recently returned a faulty item to Amazon and received a push message informing me that after receiving my product they were processing my refund. There was no need to advertise any products at this stage; however, the personalised level of service has sustained my loyalty and sentiment towards the brand.

There is a key issue to take into account amongst all the positive push experiences, and that is market saturation – with businesses across the globe increasingly developing apps, and consequently turning to app messaging alongside email and SMS, will we start to lose that gem amongst all the white noise? How much further can marketing be pushed?

I believe the answer to be personalisation. Use all the customer data you have access to and create a single customer view – only then can you send truly relevant and timely notifications. The result? Prolonged brand engagement and loyalty, whilst competitors are simply brushed aside.