Find #7: Using Push & In-App Messages Leads to Higher Engagement & Retention


App Engagement Is Still Higher Amongst Push Enabled Users 

It’s time to move past the stigma that push notifications are a nuisance to users, or the modern mobile equivalent of spam. But year over year, push enabled users continue to have higher app engagement rates that users who don’t opt-in to receive these messages. The numbers are truly telling of just how effective push messages are at doing this. 

Users who have enabled push launch an app an average of 14.7 times per month, whereas users who have not enabled push messages will only launch an app 5.4 times per month. In other words, users that have push messages enabled average 3x more app launches than those who have not enabled push messages. 

This represents a 171% increase in app engagement, which has more than doubled since 2014 where the increase in engagement was 88%.

 
 

And push didn’t prove to be valuable only for Retail or eCommerce apps - Technology, Travel, Games and Media & Entertainment apps all saw 143%-205% higher engagement amongst push enabled users. What we’re seeing from these numbers is that users are actually looking for reasons to further interact with your app, as long as those interactions provide content, offers or information that match their interests and needs. Because push notifications are used to bring that relevant content to the forefront, negating the need for users to go searching for it, the resulting impact on engagement is substantial.

 

Push Notifications Improve User Retention to 65%

In 2014, we found that the retention rate of users who enable push in-app is much higher than users who have push disabled - this continued to hold true in 2015. We’ve seen that push messaging offers a transformative way to interact with users in real-time and helps to enhance the overall value of an app. Companies around the world are starting to leverage push messaging more effectively, helping to drive notable increases in retention.

 
 

On average, 65% of users return to an app in the 30 days after the initial download, if they have push enabled. On the other hand, for users do not have push enabled only 19% of them will return the following month. By the third month, one third of users who have push enabled are still using the app, compared to only 11% of users who do not receive push messages.

Let’s look at this even further, from a demographics breakdown. More than 50% of all users in North America who opt in to receive push messages return to an app regularly, with over half of all users returning to apps eleven or more times.

 
 

In China, app abandonment drops from down to only 20% of users who will return to an app once, and retention of users jumps up to 35%. It’s clear that push enablement in China is just as important to retention as it is in the U.S., however the overall retention rates at 11+ app opens are lower - 35% with push enabled in China vs. 56% in the U.S. This further showcases the struggles with app user retention apps are facing in China, and the difference in user behaviors across various countries and cultures. 

 
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What does this all mean? Primarily that using push as a tactic presents you with additional ways to reach out to and re-engage users for better long-term retention. It also means that users who agree to receive push notifications from your app are genuinely interested in relevant content and updates, and are so are far more likely to then interact with your app further when presented with that interesting content.

 

Push Messaging CTR Has Increased by 2%

One metric app marketers use to measure the success of their push messages is by looking at the average click through rate. For the year 2015, the average click through rate for push messages has been 10.2%, which represents a two percent increase from 2014. 

 
 

Increasing click through rates supports the idea that push messages are becoming more relevant to users. But with every relevant push, the bar is raised for all push notifications to meet users’ needs, so apps must continuously learn about their audiences in order to better serve them with push messages. That is what sets apart the apps just phoning it in from the apps who are using data to create valuable experiences and serve up the content users are searching for. 

However, CTR is only a helpful metric is assessing the initial success of a push message - marketers must use supporting data around engagement and retention, as reviewed above, to decide which messages are having the greatest impact on app ROI and long-term success. Click through rates are a step in the right direction, but as app publishers send more push messages, capturing the attention of users will become increasingly difficult. Marketers will need to focus more on what is working over time by continuing to test different messages, shifting the focus from vanity metrics to those that signify actual ROI and always use audience insights as the root of the message. 

 

Apps That Use In-App Messaging Experience 27% More Launches Than Their Counterparts

In-app messages are the perfect tool to guide users to the most valuable parts of an app, because they either act as directional guidance to get to the next step or serve as an opportunity to offer incentives delivered at appropriate points in the app. Once a user sees the value of an app, they are more likely to return frequently and often. Our latest data supports this idea. 

Overall, apps that send in-app messages experience 27% more launches than apps that don’t send them, seeing an average of 13 launches per month.

 
 

In-app messages can function to create a more seamless experience and pinpoint features users might be looking for but have a hard time finding organically. They also provide the ability to serve up contextually relevant information during the user’s app experience that prolong the session length and provide additional reasons to return to the app again and again. These benefits could explain why apps that use in-app messaging see more app opens, on average, and higher retention rates.


In-App Messages Drive 3.5X Higher User Retention 

In addition to a higher number of app launches, apps that send in-app messages have significantly more loyal users. These loyal users return to the app 3.5X more often in their third month of using the app. 

 
 

This means that these app owners are retaining nearly 50% of their users three months after their initial engagement, compared to their counterparts who retain only 13% of users. With retention numbers being what they are, app marketers need every possible tool at their disposal to create more valuable experiences and re-engage users with great content, offers and information relevant to their brand relationship. 

The key here is to change how marketers view in-app messaging; it’s not mobile advertising, and they don’t have to be spammy pop-ups. Just as email is done well and done poorly, in-app messaging offers a world of possibility - when done right. And the value is clear when it comes to user usage and retention.

 

In-App Messages Triggered From an In-App Event Have a 4x Higher Conversion Rate

 
 

Delivering relevant in-app messages is the key to negating their perception as spam. Our research shows that the average CTR of an in-app message is 28%. But, on average, when the in-app message is triggered off of an event (i.e. an action taken inside the app), the click-through rate is 2x higher than an in-app message presented at the start of the app’s session. The same holds true for conversion rates, as in-app messages presented based on an event have 4x higher conversion rates, on average, than those shown at the start of a session. 


Photography & Sports Apps Show the Largest Lift in In-App Messaging CTRs 

The average CTR on an in-app message across all verticals is 28% - a better CTR than email marketing, banner ads, push messages and most other marketing tactics. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to in-app. Certain app categories see an even higher lift in CTRs when using in-app messages that are triggered off of an event in app. This means in-app messages that are automated to appear based on a completed action or behavior during the user’s app experience. 

 
 

Photography apps see the most significant uptick, with click-through rates increasing by 19% to an astounding 47% CTR on in-app messages triggered by an event. While photography apps may seem like a straightforward use case that do not require reminders or incentives, there are often highly valuable features worth pointing out to users that can add to the experience, enhancing the usefulness of the app.

Sports apps land in second place when it comes to click-through rate lifts, experiencing an impressive 19% lift when in-app messages are triggered by an event. Many sports apps are also content-centric apps, delivering a wide variety of content personalized to their fans, such as scores and team news. A well-timed in-app message calling out a new piece of relevant content is a great opportunity to engage users in a new way, keeping them informed of the latest and greatest information.