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Don’t PUSH Me! What App Developers Need to Know About Sending Alerts & Notifications to Users

by 21st April, 2017

Alerts, when done right, can boost user engagement with your app, your products, and your brand. Alerts done wrong end up frustrating, angering, and alienating your customers, making you worse off than if you’d never produced an app. How can your app developers strike the right balance between engaging users and infuriating users? Here are some extraordinary rules to keep you in check.

Know Your Users

Do your users want the latest info on the stock market? Alerts when celebrities do something wild? Notifications when something exceptional happens in the world of sports? Know your user base.

Who are your users, and what do they consider important enough to get interrupted over? Get into their minds and picture which notifications they will consider useful and which would be unwelcome interruptions.

Make it Easy for Users to Opt Into and Out of Notifications

Some users just don’t want notifications — period. Give users an easy way to opt into and out of receiving alerts. This step assures that you aren’t angering an entire segment of your customer base that simply wants to be left alone.

Set Notifications According to the User’s Local Time

An alert that is welcome at noon over a nice deli sandwich might be infuriating at 3 a.m. when the user has to be up at 5. However, a user base that is scattered across the nation or the globe will experience their noon and 3 a.m. at different times. Enable your app to recognize and respect their local time. Don’t send alerts before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. in any specific location.

Set Notifications According to the User’s Actual Location

Users don’t always stay put. Many travel for business, hobby, or pleasure. When users are in St. Louis for a conference, they could care less about the special sales you’re running in L.A., even if that is their hometown. Empower your app with geo-location capabilities so it only sends users alerts relevant to where they actually are at the time.

Set Time-Sensitive Alerts to Expire

News or information that is relevant this morning might be old and useless news by this afternoon or tomorrow. Program your apps to expire and remove alerts that are time sensitive. This stops you from appearing to send irrelevant alerts, and also prevents old alerts from piling up, which makes it look like you’re spamming your users.

Send Notifications Sparingly

This ties back to know your user. Unless there is a tremendously important event that is especially relevant to your customer base (think 9/11 for your news junkies, Black Friday for your shopping addicts, or the World Series for your sports fanatics), keep the notifications and alerts to a minimum. More than one alert per day (except when it involves news or events that are truly important to your users) is over-doing it.

Check to See How Notifications Look on Various Devices

Some app developers fail to make adjustments to their alerts and notifications to make those look great on a variety of devices and screen sizes. Test the notifications on different devices, platforms, operating systems, etc. to be sure these look and sound attractive to all users.

Consider Using Custom Sounds

Though it requires a little extra development work, using custom sounds for your alerts can make your app stand out from all the others installed on your users’ phones. This can help build a stronger relationship between your brand and your customers, and can also establish your app as a helpful addition to their daily lives.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal Sometimes

Even the most serious business people are okay with messages like “Happy birthday” or “Happy New Year.”

Most of the time, actually the majority of the time, your notifications should be timely, relevant, useful, and practical. But it’s okay to occasionally break out of the business-only mode and get up close and personal with your users. For example, “Happy Valentine’s Day” messages, or a tribute to a beloved celebrity who passes away can be highly appropriate. Birthday messages, acknowledging the customer’s anniversary with your company, and special holidays can also be great times to connect with customers on a deeper level.

When you use alerts and notifications the right way, the app becomes a powerful tool to connect with customers and build strong relationships with them. To get started on your smart app development, visit Glance today!

Simon

Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.

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