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5 Min Read

5 Ways You’re Doing Push Notifications Wrong, and How To Fix Them

Anand Kansal
PushCrew Alumnus

Push Notifications are an exceptionally handy tool to engage your audience real-time, in a very personalized manner. A robust push notification campaign helps increase repeat visits and direct traffic to best-performing content.

Sounds exciting, right? It surely is. However, many websites are not able to reap all the potential benefits of push notifications due to certain easily fixable mistakes. Here are 5 ways you’re using push notifications the wrong way, and how to set them right. Let’s start!

1. You’re sending too many notifications

Too many notifications


The most common mistake, and the most damaging from a long-term point of view, that you can make while sending push notifications is: Inundating your subscribers with notifications. This might look beneficial in the short-term, where you see an overall increase in the numbers. But using push notifications like this will prompt more and more subscribers to opt out.

How to fix it

Do not kill the golden goose. Push notifications are a great way to talk to your audience directly and in real-time. The downside of this is that too many direct conversations with subscribers may lead to “notification overkill” and may result in subscribers either tuning out mentally or opting-out altogether.

As a business, YOU need to understand your audience, their lifestyles and their needs to figure out the frequency of your push notifications. The frequency will vary from case-to-case but we, at PushCrew, generally recommend not more than 2 per week for Software as a Service (SaaS) products. This also means that you need to be more selective with what messages you are sending via push notifications. I’ll talk more about this later on.

2. You’re not timing your notifications correctly

Wrong time to send this notification


Another classic mistake that I see a lot of websites making is: Sending notifications without considering the time zones in which their subscribers are located. If you’ve ever seen your mobile light up at 3 AM in the night with someone telling you to check out “10 Amazingly Inspirational Songs to Start your Day”, I’m sure you’ll agree with me!

Poorly timed push notifications is a sure-fire way to exasperate your subscribers, leading to fewer clicks and higher opt-out rates.

How to fix it

Use the scheduling options in your push notification system to choose when your notifications will be sent. Also, have a clear understanding of what posts are relevant at what times. A well-timed push leads to user delight. Imagine getting “10 Amazingly Inspirational Songs to Start your Day” as you are preparing to go out for a run at 7 AM. Small change in scheduling, big difference in the overall effect!

3. You’re following the “spray-and-pray approach”

Spray-and-pray notification


I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere has said this already, but let me state it just in case: Every person is different! Seeing our audience and subscribers as a homogeneous mass is a classic mistake that most marketers, myself included, have been guilty of at one time or another. However, users expect and demand high levels of personalisation. Not catering to users’ preferences will only lead to “notification blindness”.

How to fix it

There are a variety of techniques businesses can, and need, to implement to deliver uber-personal, relevant notifications to their subscribers. Websites can ask for preferences as soon as someone opts-in for push notifications. They can also track activities like pages viewed and then bucket their subscribers into different categories based on these activities.

4. You’re not tracking the right metrics

Tracking the wrong metrics


If you’re only tracking click rates, you’re missing out on the actual conversions and value created by your push notification campaigns. As marketers, we tend to focus too strongly on immediate numbers. However, we need to be wary of vanity metrics that do not help us in making business decisions.

How to fix it

Decide on the website actions that you consider most important. These will include purchases, free trials, form fills, ad clicks, among others. Carefully sift through the data in Google Analytics or your other analytics tools. Then, find out how many of your website visitors, arriving via push notifications, are actually performing those actions. Evaluating your campaigns like this is the only way you’ll be able to truly determine whether push messaging is working for you or not.

5. You’re not using ALL the push notification channels

All the push notification channels


Most of us are familiar with mobile app push notifications. However, many business owners and marketers are not aware that the same functionality now exists for websites as well. In 2015, Google released Chrome version 42 in which it enabled website push notifications to, “allow your users to opt-in to timely updates from sites they love and allow you to effectively re-engage them with customized, engaging content.”

What this means is that, many websites who would really benefit from push messaging are not implementing it because they are not ready to invest in building an app. In addition, many businesses are not harnessing the full power of push notifications by just employing app notifications.

How to fix it

If you have a mobile app, complement your mobile push notifications with website or browser push notifications. If you don’t have an app, don’t invest in building an app just to send push notifications and use your website to send notifications. In fact, some reports say for small and medium-sized businesses, mobile websites reach more people than apps do. It should be noted at this point that, web push notifications work on both desktop and mobile browsers.

We also featured a success story recently where one of our customers abandoned plans to make a mobile app and instead used website push notifications to get 10k subscribers and 18.5% average notification click rate. Here’s the full case study.

Want to try and see if website push notifications make sense for you? Go ahead and create a free PushCrew account and start sending browser notifications in less than 5 minutes!

That was it from my side. I hope you got a good understanding of how to optimize your push notification campaigns.


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Shanaz from VWO

Hi, I am Shanaz from the VWO Research Desk.

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