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Push Notification Segmentation: Is It Top Priority?

6 Min Read

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

While these words may hold true when we look at humanity from afar, it isn’t the best mantra to follow while sending out customer communications. Put your push notification subscribers under a microscope, figuratively, and you’ll see that not all of them stick to a monolithic persona.

However, it’s an uphill task to examine each one of them individually, and this is where Audience Segmentation steps in.

What does Audience Segmentation really mean?

You may have anywhere between a hundred to several thousand push notification subscribers. To add to that, your subscriber list is subject to the laws of nature, like growth and churn.

Audience Segmentation automates the process of making sense of your ever-changing and diverse audience. You don’t have to manually sift through your list of push notification subscribers to understand their demographic data, actions, or user journeys. If your push notification service has a Segment Creator, like VWO Engage does, it does the job for you. Furthermore, it’ll help identify patterns and group your subscribers into different buckets or segments that you can use to define your audience, while sending notifications.

You can segment your users based on their,

1) Properties like location, device, browser type etc.

2) Actions performed like pages visited, referring URL, etc.

Here’s an example of how you can create a segment using a combination of both. The segment under scrutiny here comprises your audience from India who visited your Cricket Live Score page.

How to segment your audience

Why you should segment your subscribers

At this point you may ask why it’s necessary to make sense of all this data. Here are a few reasons why you should.

1) The problem with ‘Spray and Pray’

There’s a rationale behind why we say that push notification marketing can be grouped under TTL (Through the Line) marketing. TTL marketing channels blend the best of conventional marketing methods (ATL or Above the Line Marketing) as well as the more focused or niche marketing channels (BTL or Below the Line Marketing).

Let me elaborate on this. On one hand, push notifications have the power of reaching a large audience, just like television or radio. On the other hand, it possesses the capability of talking to a focused group within this large audience or even performing one-to-one communication, like Direct Marketing.

When we do not segment our audience, we harness only half of what push notifications are capable of.

The only upside of this approach, wherein you send the same notification to everyone on your list, is that:

– More subscribers will receive your notifications.

However, on the downside,

– Everyone who receives the notification will not click on it as it’s not relevant to them. Your click rate will go down.

– Readers may unsubscribe because you’re spamming them with updates they are not interested in.

– Your return traffic will decrease as your number of subscribers go down.

These are the reasons why broadcasting your notifications can be considered as a spray and pray approach. On the other hand, if you use Audience Segmentation, you acknowledge that,

– Your subscribers are in different stages of their buyer’s journey.

– They come from different parts and time zones of the world.

– They are interested in certain categories on your website, more than others.

– Some of them prefer logging in from the desktop while others prefer to do it on mobile, and so on.

Audience segmentation helps you hit the bull’s eye without leaving much to prayers or chance.

2) High click rates do not mean high conversion rates

In the previous section I mentioned that your click rates will go down when you broadcast your notifications without defining your audience. However, you may disagree with me and your push notifications might be still enjoying a healthy click rate (an average of 12% or more) without Audience Segmentation. But are you tracking what happens beyond your click rate?

While click rate is the easiest metric to track with push notifications, there are some other KPIs you should keep your eyes on; the performance of your landing page, for instance. Are your audiences converting or performing the action your landing page is calling for? Or, are they bouncing off your page?

Yes, it is possible that your notifications are receiving a high click rate but your conversion rates do not reflect it. Here’s why.

Push Notifications are still a novel communication channel. Your subscribers might click on them out of curiosity. However, once they land on your page and realize that it’s not relevant to them, they’ll leave.

Segmentation ensures that your notifications reach an audience who are most likely to convert and least likely to get annoyed.

Let’s suppose that you’re an online travel website and some of your users are looking for cheap flights to Prague. Using Audience Segmentation, you can send them a personalized push message about the top 10 backpackers hostels in the city. It’s not just a clinical approach but also a way of telling them that you foresee and understand their needs.

Personalized push notifications for online travel companies

3) Enabling good user experience is hard work. But not that hard.

One of the reasons why marketers turn to push notifications is that it is one of the simplest and easiest to use communication channels. Just craft a Title and Copy and hit send. However, push notifications also come with two sets of features that lend distinct capabilities to the medium.

The first set enables marketers to send richer push notifications. It includes features like Big Images and CTA Buttons.

The second set of features make your push notifications more intelligent and intuitive when it comes to understanding what your subscriber needs. Audience Segmentation belongs to this category. It shares this space with other features like Triggered Campaigns and Push Notification Scheduling.

Using this set of features needs a bit of setting up from your side, like defining your segments, for instance. However, creating a segment is a fairly simple task to perform on your dashboard. Once you set it up, you can forget about it. It does its job while helping you give a better user experience to your subscribers.

Segment Creator

4) Segmentation is the first step towards personalization

According to research, 40% of retailers said that personalization is a top digital priority. This brings us back to where we started. Your subscribers behave differently from each other and they are different from each other.

If you are a news website, you might have a chunk of audience who consumes only sports updates. You wouldn’t want to send them breaking news they are not interested in. Segmentation helps you achieve that.

If you break it down further, you might have a bunch of subscribers who follow only Soccer-related news. You wouldn’t want to send them updates about Hockey. Audience Segmentation helps you achieve this level of granularity and take the first step towards meaningful personalization.

If you’re convinced about the importance Audience segmentation, you can sign up for a free trial and start using VWO Engage’s Segment Creator, right here. If you found what you just read useful, and would like to stay updated on more such pieces, then do subscribe to our blog, The Marketer’s Last Mile.

Megha Rajeev
Megha Rajeev VWO Alumnus
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Hi, I am Shanaz from the VWO Research Desk.

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