HomeNewsThe Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile App Notifications

The Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile App Notifications

The Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile App Notifications

Some of you might get mad even at the thought of push notifications. And let’s be honest, we’ve all had our fair share of annoying notifications that have made us mad or embarrassed at some point in our life.

“No, Tinder, I don’t want to know my chances of a match are 3 times higher while I’m on a date! But, thanks to you, I will need to find someone else to date now!”

Pretty bad, right?


So what does make a good mobile app notification? The more you think about it, the more you realize that it’s not just the one thing — but more like of an array of things that need to be perfectly combined to make every user happy they’re getting the interruption. And if you’re the type of person who doesn’t really care about receiving random push notifications, then I bet you’d at least agree that they can negatively affect your concentration and attention span.

Irrelevant notifications

Irrelevant notifications are one of the main reasons for users to completely uninstall an app, with 60% of users actually choosing to opt-out of push notifications when given the chance, highlighting the problem — here’s the data by Kahuna:


The data shows that in some categories such as ride sharing, app notifications are preferred as they are useful, whereas over 60% of users opt-out from notifications on social and news apps. That’s a pretty big number, and if you think about it, this could all be avoided if app developers would just take some time to make their apps smart and useful by answering some basic questions about push notifications:

1. What is the purpose of the notification?

Are you just spamming the user with general information, or have you found a way to personalize the notifications based on that person’s interactions with the app? For example, Netflix send a push notification when one of your favorite TV shows has a new season or episode you can watch. That’s definitely a notification I find valuable and makes me wanna say “thanks for letting me know, Netflix” in the back of my mind.



On the other hand, Facebook keeps sending notifications to check out what my friends are doing or to connect with more friends. No thanks, Facebook. If I want to do that, I can do it myself. Don’t need you to remind me I have friends who are doing things.

2. When are you sending these notification?

I can’t even remember how many times a notification woke me up in the middle of the night. I don’t care about a promo code, it’s 3 am and I want to sleep! Paying attention to the local timezone of the user is an essential feature every app should make use of if they want to avoid being uninstalled.

3. How is the notification useful to the user? Are you providing valuable information?

Sending notifications just for the sake of sending notifications is a common mistake many apps choose to make. This can either lead to an overload of notifications, causing the user to completely ignore them, or a significant drop in quality, which can have the same side-effects and result in the user simply deleting your app. What every app should always consider is the frequency they are sending the notifications, the quality of the information provided and aim for some sort of personalization. Users will always appreciate relevant information, that seems specifically directed towards them. For example, why would I want to see something like this? Thanks for bothering me Shazam!

4. How do you “push” the limits of your notifications?

Constant improvement and a genuine interest from app developers will definitely help keep users engaged. That’s why it’s so important to constantly test and improve the notifications you are sending. Remember you have once chance to make a first good impression to your users, so don’t waste it. Customize the message you are sending until it becomes the best version it can be and will increase user engagement.

5. What is your messaging strategy?

Using different messaging channels like push notifications, email, in-app notifications and news feed messaging can diversify your messaging strategy and create a great user experience. Be careful though, with so many tools at your disposal you can easily be considered a spammer if you don’t properly take advantage of them.

Notifications must add value

Overall, it’s evident that we should only consider using push notifications in an app when they’re certain to add value rather than take away. The perfect notification is sent at the right time, when the user needs it — definitely not causing embarrassment, Tinder.

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