Social media is essential for any company these days-whether it’s to post ads or blogs, or to spread messages. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others have become ubiquitous marketing tools. It’s time for something new, something different.

Web push notifications are a newer tool for spreading messages, and there is a lot of debate how beneficial they are. The first step, though, is to understand this technique and how to use it effectively in order for it to be successful.

What is a Push Notification?

A web push notification is an automated message sent to a user’s desktop device. They can be segmented by personal preferences, employment status, language, location, or a number of other factors. They can provide a variety of information, from weather reports, to sales, to delivery notifications, and more. In addition, push notifications can be sent with varying degrees of importance, impacting the criticality of the user reading the message.

Web push notifications are still a relatively new form of digital marketing, having only been introduced by Apple in 2009 and Android in 2010. In fact, a study by the UK Direct Marketing Association in 2014 found that 21% of UK residents surveyed did not even know what a push notification was. Therefore, the impact of this form of CRM is still mostly unknown. What is known, however, is that we live in an era where we require instant updates, and push notifications could very well be an answer to that need for instant notification or gratification.

There are different ways a company can customize their web push notifications: adding titles or icons, incorporating allow push notificationsa trigger code so notifications are sent based on certain actions or qualifications, and the newest feature, using a call to action (CTA) directly on the push feature to increase reactions to the push notification. The CTA feature will give the push notification its next move forward in technology because it provides a direct link for the user to reach the desired site. The shorter the path a user has to take, the better.

The Good and the Bad

Push notifications are meant to be non-intrusive but not everyone finds them that way. A 2015 study by Localytics shows that push notifications are really a 50/50 shot: 50% of people find them helpful, while the other 50% find them annoying. It’s for that reason that if your company does decide to implement push notifications that it needs to be done not just in moderation, but with great care. For example, if your company is sending out a number of these notifications constantly throughout the day, they lose their effectiveness and become more of an annoyance than an effective marketing tool.

On the other hand, creating targeted marketing segments allows you to customize messages for when they are most important. If you work for a company that reports sports scores, users can choose which teams they would prefer to get updates about, as opposed to receiving messages about every match that is happening in a specific sport. Localytics also found that people will respond better to personalized push notifications as opposed to mass messages, so the benefits of knowing and understanding your customer base are critical for the success of this technology.

When you start implementing web push notifications, get your feet wet with the technology first, and see how your audience responds. Your users should dictate how and whether you proceed with the technology because its success hinges on their reaction.

Make Them Effective

Why do you need push notifications? Do you need to know every picture your friend sends through a photo app, or every time a celebrity has a new Facebook post? Probably not. Limit the frequency of the notifications, and figure out how they will best suit your business. Delivery companies can use them to track packages; online invitation sites can track RSVP’s; message systems can you alerts from groups or specific individuals.

If your company is considering using push notifications, consider these factors:

  • What are you going to use them for?
  • How often are you going to use them?
  • How can they be customised for your company?
  • How will your target audience respond to them?

What these notifications add to the process is a degree of immediacy. Users receive them quickly, and can react quickly, beginning with whether they choose to read them or not. But if the notification indicates that action can or needs to be taken, it might lead the user to open your site to see what is being offered. The more well-directed these notifications are, the more likely they are to provoke a response from your target audience. A 2012 study by Urban Airship cited by Econsultancy found people open push notifications 3 times faster than emails, and are 30% more likely to share the content via social media.

That being said, push notifications are also offered with an option to opt out of receiving them. Every user has the choice to not receive push notifications, or at least turn them off for a portion of the day. The previously referenced DMA study also found that 78% of the surveyed population would disable the notifications or cancel their registration altogether on a website if they received too many or were dissatisfied with the quality of notifications.

The End Game

Developing a cohesive strategy for integrating push notifications is critical, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. The lack of knowledge in this field can understandably make many companies hesitant about implementing them. However, with companies always looking for new ways to connect with their clientele, there is definitely potential for web push notifications.

If adding push notifications to your website is something you’re interested in exploring, your next step is to look into companies that provide push notifications, like OneSignal or SendPulse. All of your website’s information and customisations can be set up on these sites; all you then have to do is log in, set up the details of the message you want to send, and hit send. When it comes to using web push notifications, it is overall a quick and simple process that will have you connecting with your users in no time at all. It is worth exploring if this new technology would benefit your company, and if so, what’s the best way to accomplish that goal.