A small push can go a long way. A push notification, that is. 

45.3% of app consumers will open the brand’s app at least once in 30 days if they receive a push notification, opposed to 20.4% for consumers who don’t receive a message sent at the initiative of the marketer, according to a new study by mobile marketing firm Kahuna.

The Kahuna Mobile Marketing Index,” which tracked 39 million customers between January and May 2015, compared consumers who received at least one push notification versus consumers who did not receive any. The company looked at whether a consumer opened the app at least once in the given time frame of 30, 60 or 90 days.

After 90 days, 10.1% of consumers across all the studied verticals who did not receive a push notification had opened the app, compared to a 27.6% for consumers who did receive a push notification.

The verticals examined in the study included business, education, finance, food and drink, gambling, games, media and entertainment, medical/health/fitness, music, photos and video, real estate, retail and e-commerce, social networking, sports, travel and transportation, and utility and productivity.


Each vertical had higher 30-, 60- and 90-day open rates for consumers who received a push notification versus consumers who weren’t contacted in that time frame. Businesses, however, shouldn’t just blast their consumers with push notifications, but consider timing and the contents of the message, says Julie Ginches, chief marketing officer at Kahuna.

“For some applications, like a news or media app, users may want to receive updates throughout the day, and for other applications, like a travel app, users may only want to receive notifications when they are traveling or when there is a travel deal available,” she says.

A hurdle to push notifications, however, is opt-in rates. Across the 16 verticals the study analyzed, the average opt-in rate for push notifications was 62%. Android had a higher opt-in rate at 78% compared to iOS at 46%. Currently, Android apps will automatically opt a consumer into receiving push notifications when she downloads the app. Although, that will likely change with Google’s new software release in Q3 of this year, when it will adopt a permission process like Apple’s, in which the consumer chooses what an app can do, such as get access to the smartphone’s camera or send push notifications. Android users don’t now have that ability to customize their apps in that way. Google announced this change at its developer conference in May.

Travel and transportation apps have the best shot at having consumers opt in to receive push notifications, at 78%. Finance companies were next in line with a 66% opt-in rate. Travel and finance ranked higher compared to other verticals because the push notifications often contain time-sensitive information, according to the report. Medical, health and fitness apps have the lowest opt-in rate at 35%.



 Follow mobile business journalist April Dahlquist, associate editor, mobile, at Mobile Strategies 360, @Mobile360April

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