5 Push Notifications Strategies to Increase App Engagement

Updated on February 12, 2017 in Marketing
0 on February 12, 2017

Sometimes, you have a great app, but lack engagement Or you drive downloads, but your retention is low. There are two possibilities here: you need to optimize certain user flows, or you’re missing out on key opportunities to engage your app users.

This situation can be very frustrating after all the hard work you put into your app marketing strategy to acquire users, such as App Store Optimization (ASO), PR, or social media.

Using push notifications strategically can be a great way to remind your users about your app. Push notifications should be used at the right dose: too many irrelevant

notifications can easily irritate your app users. Not enough messages can fail to engage. In both cases, your users could end up deleting your app.

Below, find five #push_notifications #strategies that will help you increase your mobile engagement and make your users open and use your app again.

1. Get the Opt-In

It’s important to make a great first impression. And in both real life and marketing, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If users have a poor first experience, they won’t hesitate to delete your app. Your onboarding should therefore be well-crafted and based on a solid strategy.

Before actually starting to think about your push notification content, you first need to get your iOS users to opt-in to push.

Although the official opt-in message on iOS is not customizable, you can create your own splash screen to speak to your users personally. Try to create a catchy and appealing message, using your best argument to tell users why they should opt-in to your push notifications. From there, if their answer is positive, you can show the official opt-in prompt where they can confirm. If they hit “no thanks”, try to prompt them a little later again. Leanplum has a great tool called Push Pre-Permissions (formerly called Soft Ask Push Permissions) that does all this for you.

Of course, always make sure to approach your users carefully and cleverly. This will certainly increase your number of opt-ins.

2. Leverage Personalization

In a new data science report, Leanplum found that push notifications containing personalized content see four times the open rate of generic messages. Indeed, it is recommended you use segmentation and customize messages to individual users. This allows you to build different content strategies according to the type of profile you’re targeting.

Based on install and post-install activity, you will be able to determine the user lifecycle and the various phases your users are going through when navigating your app.

From there, you can use segmentation to personalize your messages depending on the phases your users are in.

You can incorporate your users’ demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), favorites, or recently viewed items, for example. This data helps create powerful and tailored messages that will make your customers feel special — as if you’re initiating a one-on-one conversation. This will certainly encourage them to re-open your app and check out your latest offerings.

3. Use Limited-Time Offers

A great strategy to keep your users engaged is to prompt them with limited time offers. First thing’s first, you need to define what would be valuable to your users and what will make them want to re-open your app. Once you’ve found your offer, it is important to find the right balance and the adequate tone.

Make sure to avoid abusing this type of message though and find the right dose depending on your offer, your target, and objectives. Remember, these should remain limited offers and not become a random communication.  

For instance, If you have a game with in-app purchases, make one available for free during 24 hours. If it is a shopping app, offer a few limited time discounts on the latest articles your users have viewed. Be creative and appealing.

4. Ask for App Updates

Another great way to use push notifications to your advantage is to let your users know about new app updates. Indeed, a lot of users don’t have automatic app updates turned on so unfortunately, they are probably missing the new features or improvements you have added.

Your hard work deserves to be seen. A great opportunity for you is to create a customized push notification message showing the benefit of your new update. In the same idea of the onboarding pre-ask page, you can craft a compelling and personalized message to ask your users to update your app, and therefore, stay engaged.

5. Let Users Know You Missed Them

Sometimes your most loyal customers, who used your app multiple times during a certain amount of time, drastically stop and don’t come back. With the increasing competition, it would not be surprising to see your faithful customers “cheat on you” and go to another app similar to yours.

Don’t worry though. You still have a chance to show them that your app is the best. You can re-engage dormant users by sending them a personalized push notification message. Let them know why they should have missed you too and give them reasons to come back, like checking out new features, design, etc.


Push notifications can really help you grow your app business and reduce your churn. If used cleverly and thoughtfully, push messages can really change the way your users see and use your app. Hopefully these five strategies will give you some inspiration on how to engage with your app users in an effective way.

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