We know push notifications make some marketers nervous, and it’s true: when done poorly, push increases churn. But before you decide not to use them at all, look what happens when they’re done well: they can increase engagement by more than 88%. For some categories, the story our data tells tells is even better; sports app see a 118% increase in engagement, while music services see an 177% percent increase!

But to get these kinds of results, segmentation is key. Group users based on similar characteristics: location, search history, items in their cart, etc. That way, you’re more likely to create a push message that’s personally relevant to the user, and justifies interrupting their home screen.


Since we know most people get their news from their mobile devices, breaking news alerts in the form of push notifications are crucial to any news app’s success. While pretty straightforward, there are a few key things to consider:

  1. What constitutes as ‘breaking news’: True story - I once receive a breaking news push notification at 3am that simply said, ‘Smoking man arrested in front of non-smoking sign’. While I can now look back and laugh about what was clearly a mistake, at the time I was angry and deleted the app. The lesson learned here is only send actual breaking news - things that truly matter to your user either based on preferences, location, or the sheer magnitude of the story.

  2. Time zones: Per the above, you need to be mindful of people’s time zones and weigh that against your breaking news alert. If it’s 4am somewhere, is the story still important enough to send? Or can you hold off?






Since media & entertainment apps thrive off fresh content, it’s important to keep users in the know about things they care about. Is the new season of House of Cards officially live or Kendrick Lamar’s new song? If you know a user is interested in a particular type of content - letting them know when it’s available is a surefire way to boost engagement.



Hard to resist, amirite? Short sales create a sense of urgency that makes them especially relevant for push notifications. Since push appears outside the app, they’re powerful in terms of redirecting the user’s attention back to the app.



PRO TIP: When it comes to push notifications, copy is key. Especially when you’re pitching an offer. Redbox relies on context and draws on emotion--the Monday blues--to create a winning message on a slow movie night.



Holiday movies. Holiday playlists. Holiday events. Your users are looking to get a little holiday spirit in their lives, and a push notification that take advantage of that is another way to bring personalized push to your users.



A number of entertainment and media apps operate on a freemium model. Users get a free baseline of features just by creating an account, but the premium features, or access to all features, are reserved for paid subscribers.

Use a push notification to remind your highly engaged users how much more they get when they pay--the kind of specialized features that appeal to users who are already enjoying your app. You can include a promotion to further entice, too.

Spotify uses a to-the-point push to remind users just how affordable the Family subscription plan is.