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How to use push notifications in your digital project?

admin - December 26, 2018 - 3 comments


Push Notifications are not an innovation anymore: typical user of a smartphone receives about a couple of hundreds of them each day and a lot of them, being done wrong, cause distraction for users and no effects for business. In this article we’re about to explain various cases of how push notifications may boost effectivity of your business and improve a level of satisfaction of your customers.


Usability case. Get user back in the app, when needed.                             

The most common and natural way of using push notifications in various digital systems is notifying user about important activities going on while he’s not with his phone. There are two types of push notifications: the ones initiated by the app itself,   such as different reminders, and the ones sent from the cloud based on some business-logic being executed outside of the mobile application. Our research of push data from banking and IoT project shown that users rarely open the app from the push and prefer to get all the info from the lockscreen and get in the app if only an action required. With that knowledge, we’ve updated both projects with reformatted push notifications that explicitly let the user know if the push is informational or requires an action.


Technical case. Push for silent app update

Push notifications is an important tool not only as a mean of communication with clients but also a solution for a number of technical cases. One of our recent IoT projects is a good showcase for that implementation of technical push notifications. Considering the fact that hardware with Android OS running was built in the interior, it was complicated to manually operate the application in order to set it up and update versions. As a solution, silent push notifications were implemented which were not shown anywhere in the app or Android itself but triggered the app to look for the latest update at the remote server.


Technical case. Push for incoming intercom calls

When it comes to deep integration of smart home systems in one mobile interface, naturally, a lot of technical challenges arise. One of our projects in PropTech industry needed a lot of real-time data exchange for such features as CCTV, intercom and remote control for smart home facilities. Particular challenge was in network and battery consumptions of the app holding socket connection for receiving incoming calls from the intercom right in the mobile application. Turned out, push notifications suited the project as an effective solution of the problem. Instead of keeping socket connection all the time, the app simply waits for silent push notification from the backend, signalling that the incoming intercom call is placed. Then the app establishes socket connection, rings and display the caller in the video as it would be a regular FaceTime call. Once the call is finished and user either let the guests in or sent  the comment to concierge, the socket are being disconnected so they do not consume device’s battery in the background.

Integration case. Push instead of SMS   

Inevitable part of digital transformation are the integration challenges. One of our client from banking industry had a legacy system which operated notificational business logic and covered all the possible user actions with SMS delivery. Challenge was to reduce costs by switching to push notifications while keeping the same percent of messages delivered and avoiding re-writing of legacy system from scratch which would require great investments of time and money.

As a solution, all the SMS were re-routed to a new transactional microservice written in Go language, where they were carefully saved and analyzed. Based on that data, parsing rules were developed so the SMS texts could be converted to the nice layout of in-app notifications and sent with use of Firebase for Android and APNS for iOS users which have marginal costs far less than of SMS. However, there are users which disable push notifications and hence do not receive important messages. This last part of challenge was addressed with a simple logic of checking delivery status of in-app push notification and sending the same notification as an SMS in case of unsuccessful push.

In a nutshell, bank reduced its spendings on SMS delivery while not investing in expensive re-engineering of a legacy system operating the business logic.


Full case. Push as a part of message delivery tunnel

Most of our e-commerce clients understand the importance of notifications as a powerful tool for marketing. As research shows, customers jump between different devices and platforms frequently so the businesses should mind that movement and have a tool to reach them where they’re most probably are positive about the message. Challenge arises with the need of reaching the customer 100% of the time, do not bombard him with the same message in all the channels where customers can be and do not overspend on communication activities. Message delivery tunnel is a solution to that challenge. It places all the communication channels in a particular order taking into account cost of use for each channel and the probability that particular customer will see the message in that channel. Channels can be SMS, automated calls, messengers, emails and, of course, mobile push notifications. When some message should be delivered, the system starts with sending it through the cheapest channel and, if in some time there’s no sign that the customer perceived it, the system repeats with the next most cheapest channel. In the meanwhile, probability weights for each customers are being updated respectively.

As a result, after some time of training the system, it finds the optimal order of channels for each customer which maximizes the probability of marketing messages being delivered while keeping the costs at the lowest possible level.


Promotion case. SMS is advertising mobile app

One of our clients from the banking industry had a problem with the customers who did not use mobile banking application which bank launched recently. Why exactly was it causing problems? Firstly, customers, who do not use mobile app cause bigger operational costs. For instance, bank should use SMS as a channel for transactional notifications which costs about 2 cents per one transactions. Being not a big number itself, it results in thousands of dollars given customers make millions of transactions each day. Secondly, that same customers generate smaller revenues in comparison with clients who actively use mobile apps and make more transactions easily, such as mobile replenishment and P2P money transfers which generate profits by commissions.

As a solution, a link was simply added at the end of each SMS notification, which, being a smart deep-link, leads user either to Google Play or App Store depending on the user’s phone OS.

As a result, with a customer base of about 400 000 of customers, 4000 of them installed the app during the first week after that simple change in SMS.

Being relatively simple and fast to implement, push notifications remain a powerful tool for solving a wide range of usability, technical and marketing problems. If you are interested in how push notifications can be useful for your business, get in touch with us to receive the consultancy.

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  1. Hi there! Such a good short article, thank you!

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