Pugpig Pointers: Push notifications and background downloads


Previously in Pointers we’ve covered getting users to accept push notifications, now let’s discuss the many ways you can use push to boost your user engagement.

Push notifications pop up on a user’s device informing them of content updates or other information regarding your app. These can be sent at any time to users that have the app – but the user doesn’t have to be in the app to receive them. In this post we will explore different types of push notifications - how and why you should use them and the overall aim of increasing engagement in your app.

Before sending any push notifications you should first establish your goal in terms of sending the message – it should be concise, timely and primarily relevant. There are some great tips from our partner Urban Airship here.

PugTip: Avoid spamming your users with too many messages as this will result in them opting out of push notifications altogether.

Drive users to new content

One of the primary motives behind sending push notifications is to alert users to new content available in your app.

To achieve this, you can use a basic message push that includes highlights from your latest content drop. This might include your top headlines or the theme of that edition.

PugTip: Don’t include your app name or icon. The system automatically shows this information at the top of each notification.

By sending push notifications when new content is available you are also educating users about your publishing cycle, alerting them when to expect new content and hopefully encouraging them to return to the app at these times.

Highlight particular content in your app

To highlight a specific article in an app, include a ‘deep link’ in your push message. When a user clicks on the push notification, they will be taken into the app – to the selected article.

This is a great way to drive engagement to particular content. More information about sending deep links can be found in our docs.

PugTip: Deep links can be used in conjunction with segmented audiences to make your pushes particularly powerful. For instance, you might send a deep link push to a story about sport to users who you know regularly consume sports content within your app.

Encourage loyal users to subscribe

Push notifications can be used to drive further engagement with your app. For example, include deep links to subscription or login pages to encourage users to sign up. In this case, target segments of users who have already demonstrated a high level of engagement with the app, meaning they’ll be more likely to sign up.

Re-engage users

Most push providers offer the ability to send a push message to app users who have not been active for a set period of time.

You can also use in-app messages to engage users who have not accepted push. This is a great way to reach users who opted out of push notifications and could even persuade them to re-enable them.

Tailor updates to users’ interests

You can use push notifications to ask your users what they want to see. Within push notifications you can offer users the ability refine their push settings – opting in and out of certain topics.

PugTip: While you are experimenting with push you can use A/B testing to send variants of different messages to different users in order to work out which messages are most effective in terms of open/click through rates. This will help you to tailor your push message strategy going forward.

We currently have Urban Airship and Appboy integrations, and we’re working on Firebase.