As an e-commerce Marketer, you must be asking this question to yourself quite often. Almost everyday you must be in this dilemma to understand WHEN you should engage your users. Now what if I tell you, this post has got this answer for you? That would be great. Right? As online shopping went up by almost 2x in 2016,  almost every e-commerce site is now aggressively exploring multiple user engagement tools to increase user retention on their site and boost their conversion metrics.

Source: http://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-strategy/ecommerce-trends-watch-2016-infographic/

With the world going Omni channel, a bunch of e-commerce brands are successfully using push notifications to create “Aha Moments”, engage users and drive every other associated metric. Push notifications when used properly, can increase user traffic and help build repeat users for a brand.

68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy. -Salesforce

Today’s marketers know how to push notifications to their advantage, but often fail to pay attention to the timing for sending messages and the need of their users. And if this is your user’s response “why did I get it now?”, then you are definitely missing out on time-sensitive approach for your push messaging.

It is time to take a user-centric approach, to adopt an approach that users will love.

In order to not annoy one’s users or scare them away with overly aggressive and pushy notifications, we recommend all the e-commerce marketers to follow some guidelines to find the right time for sending push notifications to their web users.

Why are Push Notifications important?

Misunderstanding the specificities of timing can not only make marketers miss out on the potential of push notification, in some cases it may even be damaging. Whereas choosing the right time to notify one’s users can increase web traffic and boost the subscriber base with high user engagement, wrong timing can simply make a brand lose their loyal customers.                                          

What are marketers potentially missing with wrong timing

When you focus on the fact that over 35% of push notifications are generic “broadcast” blasts to all users, it’s easy to see that a lack of relevancy plays a major role in

building this perception. However, many marketers still continue to rely on generic blast rather than considering personalization in terms of timing, frequency and content of the push messages. According to a study at Leanplum, over 50% of users find push notifications to be useless.

Users are constantly flagging most of the push notifications as annoying distractions and find them irrelevant, primarily due to the untimely nature of notifications. Marketers can follow simple steps to fix this problem in the first place.

Quick Hygiene Checks:

When working on your push notification timing strategy, it’s important to check each aspect of your campaign: from your message to your target.  Here are the top four things you should check before sending your push notifications:

Don’t forget their time zone

Often one’s users are located across time zones all over the world. Marketers should make sure the schedule of their notification is in coordination with the time zone of their target users.

Sending a well-timed push can make a huge difference to users’ experience. A ‘Happy Hour’ bonus during the rush hour commute home is going to outperform a ‘Happy Hour’ bonus push at 8 am Sunday morning by a long shot.

A good day to send notifications

While planning your push notification strategy, one thing you cannot afford to miss is the day. For instance, you are an online fashion brand, planning to planning to promote an upcoming weekend sale. Then sending a reminder notification to users on Friday morning will really be a good idea. There are particular days and time which has shown evidently high click rates for most of the e-commerce brands. Make sure you are scheduling your notification around these days.

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For the holiday mode

Make sure your notification calendar is synced with yearly event calendar so you never miss the opportunity to take advantage of the holiday season. This will ensure that you are not sending any important and relevant notifications on a busy festival day and increasing the instances of it getting ignored or blocked. Moreover, keeping a track of events will help you promote festive offers for those events which have always captured considerable response rate.

Don’t bombard them with your notification

The number and frequency of your notifications can vary based on many factors. One of which could be the domain you operate in. Here are some guidelines that are highly recommended and followed by experts.

  • News: Three to four times a day, depending on the news, it’s relevance and urgency as per your users.
  • Fashion:Three to four times a day.Based on the relevance of the event – Sales, retargeting, abandon cart reminder and price alert, you need to select the time very intelligently. For instance, DON’T remind them about their abandoned cart at 6 am or post 11 pm, because my friend nobody cares about an abandoned cart while they are half asleep.
  • Travel: Two to three times a day. This number might increase on decrease as per the occurrence of holiday seasons, long weekends and many more
  • Health & Fitness: 3-4 times a week. Here the quantity of push notifications a marketer sends is relatively dependent on the nature of a business. If you’re proposing a daily fitness program then daily reminders are acceptable but as a general practice, try not to be naggy.

The goal behind determining the right frequency for your push message is to stand out in the digital space.

3 Key Points for a Phenomenal User Engagement Strategy

While timing is a huge part of getting push notification timing right, it’s not everything. Other factors, such as your content and your audience play a huge part in whether or not your push notifications will be successful.

When deciding your push notification timing strategy, there are three main things you need to think about:

1. Getting the Right Content

There is still a percentage of users that find push notifications as relevant and helpful. It is either because the messages alert users for things they are interested in or because the content provides valuable information.

According to a study at Leanplum, personalisation can lift push notification open rates by up to 800%. Personalizing the content of push notifications can deliver a 4x lift on open rates, boosting the 1.5% average open rate seen with generic notifications to a much more respectable 5.9%.Marketers can add personalisation to push messages by incorporating custom image, personalized message, a past action that user took, a thank you note, etc.

Timing and content of any push notification goes hand in hand. If the users receive a generic message even on an appropriate time, they are more likely to dismiss it.

2. Connecting to the Right Audience

Setting the right audience for your notifications is critical as it has a great risk of your entire communication failure if, your communication is targeted to the wrong audience.

Begin with building multiple personas to segment your audience and reach them in effectively and efficiently. A detailed user persona will help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, making it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to user preferences, behaviours, concerns and needs. You can easily create multiple custom audiences for audience segmentation and target them for separate web push campaigns.

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3. Getting your push notification timing right

Timing, as an attribute affecting the success of a brand campaign and an integral part of a push messaging strategy should never be overlooked.

Source: http://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-strategy/ecommerce-trends-watch-2016-infographic/

When trying to find your best time, location is a huge aspect of this, especially for cross-border e-commerce. For example, a restaurant could send a push notification for a promotion during lunchtime while a consumer is in their general area. Location targeting can be extremely powerful and is expected to rise over the next few years.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Push notification timing is based on several factors. It might be tricky at first to find your sweet spot, but there are guides to help you do that. Schedule your campaigns smartly on these two basic approaches which are indeed beneficial and commonly followed by many brands.

  1. Domain based time determination
  2. Persona based time determination

Depending on your industry and target audience, it would be best to compare two charts to best understand where the sweet spot is for choosing the best time to send your push notifications.

Industry based time determination

For your e-commerce, depending on your industry, there might be better times than others. Much like social media sweet spots, push notification timing varies by day and even by hour. For example, mornings and early evenings (around quitting time for most jobs) are ideal times for news, but don’t work at all for the entertainment industry, which hits its sweet spot around 8-9 pm.

This makes perfect sense- mornings and early evenings are when people are first connecting on their phones and computers, and will be most likely to see your messages and find them relevant if you’re offering news. However, if you’re offering entertainment, 8 am in the morning is going to be too early for consumers who are just starting their day. The evening, after dinner, is the time when most are unwinding and looking for entertainment.

Persona based time determination

Alternatively, if you want to really target your push marketing timing based on your marketing personas, it might be handy to take a look at the above chart. For example, an e-commerce selling goods for newborns would be able to appropriately target young mothers at the best possible time.

Increasing Click Rates by choosing the right push notification timing

Tailoring your notifications to your users isn’t just about what you say, it’s about when you say it. Finally, don’t forget to expire messages when they go out of date.


 

Finding the fine line between reaching your customers and annoying them with push notification timing can be tricky, but if done right your push notifications can be incredibly effective at getting your right message out. As long as you work on your timing, your message, and your target, your push notifications can help you convert more customers than you thought possible.

What are your best tips on push notifications? Tell us below or tweet us!