Mobile Notifications: The Future of Alumni Engagement?

A while back, TechCrunch shared an article on the growing trend in and importance of mobile notifications for driving mobile engagement. It's no wonder mobile app developers are looking to push notifications more and more as the average smartphone owner in the US has roughly 27 apps on their phone. People seem to be spending ever more time on their phones, so there's more and more room for more apps. However, as any reader will echo, there are just a few - perhaps 5 - that you regularly use.

To evidence the importance of understanding this evolution in mobile behavior, we must remember that more than 60% of digital behavior in the US occurs over mobileRight now, nearly all of that behavior is coming via mobile app usage. But in a world of such significant competition for app time, how does an app - your alumni app - stand out?

Push notifications.

There are other tactics (life lifecycle emails!), but if you've made a decision to engage with your alumni where they spend the majority of their digital time, you'll need to work hard to keep them coming back to your app.

I'm going to start by (almost) killing the value of push notifications: 60% of app users opt-out of push notifications. The good news, however, is that if you're focused in how you ask for the right to push and, when you do, it's timely and valuable, you can see opt-in rates soar to north of 80%.

So, you have a ton of users of your app, they're opted-in for your push notifications, and then - success? Maybe. A key mandate is not just to get them to agree to receive those notices, but also to act on them. Considering only 6% of notifications are actioned, how can you increase the likelihood your notices drive engagement? A few key points:

  1. A/B test, just like you do with email. This channel is just like your email subject lines.
  2. Personalize. Use their name. Send them a personally valuable notice.
  3. Keep the notices to a reasonable count. It's no different than any other channel.

None of this is easy and it might seem like a small feature to your mobile app, but it doesn't matter how great your app is if folks aren't visiting regularly. Happy mobiling!

Nick Zeckets