Push messaging is a hugely powerful tool – a properly managed campaign can double app usage and consumer engagement with branded apps.

We feel many companies just focus on downloads and don’t leave much thought for engagement beyond this stage.  We ran some research over the Christmas period on a sample of 20 mobile apps we installed on our various devices, we received just one push message over Christmas and into early January. We were pretty shocked (and disappointed it didn’t give us much data to analyse) – isn’t that the busiest time of the year for getting new phones and downloading new apps?

Part of the reason why this is happening could be caution. Get push wrong and the consumer will delete your app – a disaster for your ROI. So, here are our five golden rules for getting push right…

1. Be relevant and timely

Make a push message relevant to the recipient’s life, if you don’t they’ll slate you on twitter and could delete your app. Marketers need to be upfront with their consumers by going deeper into their notification preferences – ask them what subjects they would like to hear about and how frequently they want to receive them. Create a value-based service, and you’ll achieve much higher re-engagement levels.

2. Track and optimise

Track your messaging campaigns, and the behaviour beyond the message. What happened next? Did your message result in your objective? A conversion, transaction or significant dwell time perhaps? Work this out and you’ll develop a useful engagement benchmark that will help you adjust your strategy as the campaign unfolds.

3. Join up your strategy

Join your messaging campaigns with other messaging platforms such as email and SMS. Each platform is different – push is far more appropriate for spontaneous in-the-moment interactivity; email affords more time for a user to consider a more complex offer and follow a link.

4. Be transparent

Let consumers know where the exits are by giving them a simple opt-out option. An opt-out at a general level is a complaint – so analyse the types of messages that are initiating opt-out. Don’t perpetuate a bad brand experience.

5. Make opt-in contextual

Pop the opt-in question when the user is best in a position to make the decision. Most companies set the opt-in message the instant someone opens their app for the first time, give them a chance to at least discover if they like it or not first! Waiting until the user is deeper into the app experience gives you a greater understanding on their interests – for example, if you ask whether they’d like to be updated on football results when they’re actually checking the half-time scores, they’re far more likely to understand the value of opting-in, because the context works for them.

Ultimately, consumers are savvy enough to understand that by downloading an app (especially if that app is free), they are entering in to a value-exchange. We need to use push responsibly – and make consumers an equitable partner in that value-exchange. Add consumer value, and they’ll reward your brand with value in return.

We hope that gives you some food for thought do get in touch if you’d like to know more about push and what it can bring to your business.

And don’t forget to chat with us on Twitter@yodelmobile, and join our #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group.