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  • Writer's pictureDoug Pittman

Push Notification Mistakes: How Not to Make Them

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Push notifications have the power to engage users with apps when everything is done correctly on the app side However, when push notifications are done wrong, they can cause users to lose interest in an app or even delete it altogether.

There are two main types of notifications: triggered and passive. Triggered push notifications offer more relevancy to the user as far as when they are receiving the messages, as the trigger is often location or purchase based. Passive push notifications are information that is sent at a scheduled time and not because of an event the user completed. Most push notifications are passive, while triggered are generally more well-received.

Push notifications ride the line between informative and annoying. If the information is boring, irrelevant, or badly timed it can cause damage of the app’s image with the user. If the push offers valuable information with a dynamic design, it becomes the open door to communication that app owners intend.

Though there are many types of push notifications for many different devices, we will focus strictly on mobile options. Mobile push notifications have the most power, as they reach users at any place and time. No one leaves home without their phone, and most have it directly in their hands a large portion of the time.

Three mistakes that apps make with their push notifications will be broken down:

  • Sending burst notifications

  • Neglecting to tell users what information notifications will contain

  • Sharing irrelevant content

Mistake #1: Sending Notifications in Bursts

Have you ever had someone ring your doorbell repeatedly? Maybe say your name over and over again without giving you time to respond? That annoyance is the same thing that a user feels after receiving burst notifications. Irritating users leads to lack of engagement and even removal of the app altogether. Not to mention, it sends a message of lack of professionalism and desperation. Not something that users will respond to positively.

The rule of thumb is quality over quantity. Consider the overall message you want to relay and layout a design that hits all the points in one message.


Sending multiple burst of information is a huge user turnoff.


Grouping information into one informative message is much more receptive to users.

Mistake #2: Neglecting to Tell Users What Information Notifications Will Contain

Most apps send out a notification asking for permission to send push notifications. They usually have some wording around, “APP is asking for permissions to send you notifications”. This fills the legal requirement apps need to send the messages but doesn’t tell what the user will gain from these messages. Social media and news outlets have a basic idea of the type of message that the user picks up on. Retail, entertainment, and other apps have a less clear identity associated with the messages they will be delivering. Being transparent with the type of messages you will be sending gives the user more of an incentive to opt in to receiving them. Trying to “fool” users into accepting by only delivering the bare bones of what you are sending will lead to later decreases in engagement or opting out to receive them altogether.


Mistake #3: Sharing Irrelevant Content

A push notification is another term for an interruption. Users are being interrupted to view something that an app sends. When the information does not contain interests, locations, or brands that correlate to the user that interruption becomes an annoyance. The point of the notification is to engage the user. This is done with dynamic messages featuring visual impact and useful details. Get to know your users and use segmentation delivery to target the ones who fit the profile of the message you want to send. Be aware of time and send messages when it is relevant. The best way to do this is with location-based messaging. Nobody wants to receive push notifications when they are trying to go to bed or on the way to work.


Boring, frequent messages are a surefire way to lose interest.


Entertaining short messages are a great way to engage and lead to happier users!

Many issues associated with current push trends can be solved using a platform that makes designing dynamic notifications easier. Visualmatic™ is one of these services. It offers the ability to personalize your message, use rich media, and segment your audience for more relevant delivery. Right now, Visualmatic™ is offering a free trial to test the power of a high impact push delivery. Sign up today!


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