Americans look at their smartphones 52 times every day. And for many people, the first thing they see is their lock screen.
That’s a big opportunity for marketers, yet many miss out on it. They either focus on in-app notifications or leave a lot on the table by using boring, easily overlooked, “plain” push notifications.
Users will scroll past these notifications without even thinking.
But both iOS and Android offer marketers another option: rich push notifications.
What Are Rich Push Notifications?
Rich push notifications are notifications that contain rich media—images, videos, GIFs, and even interactive elements (except on Android; it only supports images). They’re delivered when the app isn’t open and let you share more information with the user than if you relied on a few lines of text.
Think about it. If you were going to place an ad in a newspaper and you wanted it to stand out, you wouldn’t just use text, would you? No—you’d add an image so it stood out from all the other text on the page.
That’s what rich push notifications let you do on users’ phones.
Would you tap on a lock-screen notification that says “Our new spring collection is here? Get a sneak peek NOW!”? You might if it was something you were already interested in.
How about this one?
That’s much more interesting, and because you can watch a video right away, you can get a lot more information that going into the app and browsing the spring collection manually.
Adding a video means your users can instantly engage with your app directly from the lock screen. Plus it’s a lot more engaging than “Tap for more.”
When to Use Rich Push Notifications
Like anything, you can use rich push notifications too often. It’s better to plan your use of them carefully. Let’s take a look at some of the times when they’re best put to use.
When You’re Trying to Reduce Churn
First, it’s clear that these are good for bringing users at risk of churn back into your app. If a user hasn’t opened your travel app in a couple of weeks, but you know they searched for tropical vacations, a GIF of a beautiful beach sunset is sure to get their attention and remind them of the trip they want to take.
The same is true of e-commerce apps; if you haven’t been getting much engagement from a user, you can highlight something you know they are interested in. That might be a big sale on a brand they’ve bought before, a new release in a genre they like, or something that one of their friends bought.
These are the kinds of things that grab people’s attention. And when you’re struggling to drive engagement, that’s crucial.
When You Need to Stand Out
Second, rich push notifications are great when you need to stand out in a crowded field. Imagine that you’re trying to market a gaming app. This is one of the most popular categories, and every second that you’re not capturing a user’s attention could be a second that someone else’s app is getting engagement.
So share a GIF or an image that will make someone laugh. Share a video of a pro gamer doing something amazing. Share an audio file from a podcast about how to get better at competitive play. Highlight a sale on in-app purchases with an image showing someone getting something amazing out of a loot crate.
All of these options leverage emotions to increase the chance a user will open your app. And in a crowded space, that’s hugely valuable.
When You’re Sharing Time-Sensitive Information
Finally, there are time-sensitive situations. Using too many rich push notifications can be annoying—and a quick way to get your notification privileges revoked. So you want to save them for when you really need to get your users’ attention.
(Though it’s worth pointing out that some apps have had success with using mainly rich notifications. USA Today is a great example.)
This is useful for news apps when sharing breaking news; if you want to make sure that your users come to you first, a rich push notification can help make that happen. A video streaming app might use this to highlight new episodes or a just-announced show.
It’s easy to overdo it when you discover a tool as powerful as rich push notifications. But if you save it for the most important times when you need users to open your app, you’ll get more out of them.
A Tool for Every Mobile Marketer’s Arsenal
In 2018, Forrester found that only 10% of marketers were using rich push media. This means you still have a chance to jump on this trend before everyone else starts using it.
Rich push notifications can help reduce churn, make your content stand out from the crowd, and get users to read time-sensitive information. If you aren’t using them yet, you absolutely should be.
If you’re not sure how to get started with mobile push campaigns, head to CleverTap’s website and schedule a demo. We’ll show you how push notifications (and a whole lot of other mobile marketing tactics) can help you convert, retain, and grow your users.
Apoorv is a Digital Marketing Manager at CleverTap. He is a power user who writes about marketing automation and everything about the customer engagement sphere. He previously worked as a Digital Marketing Analyst at Freshworks.