Best Practices of Push Notifications for App Engagement

Vladyslav Pobyva

One day, Noah Weiss, the Senior Vice President of products in Slack, said that excellent push notifications have several characteristics: they are timely, personal, and actionable. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single guide on how to make your pushes like that. However, we can cite the best practices of direct marketing to help you improve your communication with users and develop an effective push notification strategy. We hope you’ll find interesting and useful push examples.

The main types of mobile push notifications

Usually, all pushes are divided into the following types:

  • Informative messages, which deliver certain information when it’s needed;
  • Catch-up notifications to stimulate your clients to make some actions they decided to skip or put off;
  • Promotional messages to inform people about sales and special offers;
  • Recurrent notifications that are triggered at a certain time and day. Often, they remind users of their goals and the work they haven’t done;
  • Survey pushes for gathering feedback to improve the UX of the app, product, or service.

According to the AARRR model, there are five user-behavior metrics for which different types of pushes are applied:

  1. Acquisition (the first interaction with your app).
  2. Activation (users sign up for a free trial, visit additional pages, or the like).
  3. Retention (clients who visit your app at least 3 times per month).
  4. Referral (users who recommend your app to their friends and relatives).
  5. Revenue (the total income you receive).

Automate your marketing with event-triggered campaigns.

So, let’s consider the best mobile push notification practices for each of the mentioned stages.

The Acquisition phase

At the very beginning, you can just welcome the new user, introduce your offers, and show how you can help. Each message should contain a call for certain actions so that users go the right way.

Tell about the main functionality of your app

It may be a single message or series of notifications if it’s necessary. Or use pushes to invite the user to the app for providing a brief guide on how to use your solution.

Tell about the main functionality of your app in mobile push notifications

Reveal the particularities of your offers

Show in a push how your service can be useful for the user. Also, offer a free trial option. If you have a retail app, encourage them to open a page with new products or bestsellers.

Reveal the particularities of your offers for app engagement

Try to gather information

Some solutions such as language and retail apps require input data: the user’s language level, gender, interests, and so on. It helps to personalize offers a lot and stimulate the client to make the first purchase.

Work on personalization, as it is appreciated by users. Take into account usernames, devices, in-app behavior, favorite products, and so on.

Send push notifications to gather information

Leverage social media

Send push notifications with links to your social networks to maximize customer engagement while they are still warm/active. Your posts in the client’s feed may encourage him to make a purchase after a while.


Leverage social media in push notification marketing

Push messages within the Activation stage

At this stage, the person makes his first purchase. And your task is to increase ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). There are numerous methods how to do that. Your choice highly depends on your business specifics.

Prepare a welcome bonus

The bonus is limited only by the imagination and possibilities of your company. Crypto exchanges give some money to deposits for new users while retailers often offer free delivery.

Prepare a welcome bonus within your push notification strategy

If the user hasn’t used the bonus yet, refresh the client's memory of its availability.

Entice with incentives (coupons and discounts)

There is nothing more effective than a discount on your services or goods. Often, this is the only way to fight for a client: people like bargains especially when they are going to get a high-quality service/product.

Entice with incentives (coupons and discounts)

Promote discount codes and price drop alerts through pushes. This is a great incentive for both new and old customers. The statistics say that 93% of shoppers use promo codes throughout the year. Discounts are especially relevant when they relate to goods, which are in the customer’s cart, or supplemental products.

So, first of all, you should consider the segmentation of your audience. To find out how to do that, read this article.

Push notification examples for App Retention

Remind about the abandoned cart

According to some statistics from Drip, about 70% of all carts are left abandoned. It means that seven of every 10 customers never complete their transaction. App push notifications will help you return some users.

Remind about the abandoned cart

Implement a loyalty program

It doesn’t matter what kind of loyalty program you have - points-based, tiered, value-based, or another. Add your program to the strategy of delivering push notifications. 

Remember that 80% of your future profit will be made by 20% of your existing customers, according to the Annex Cloud statistics. So, the development and support of the loyalty program will definitely pay off.

Implement a loyalty program

Focus on personal goals 

Do you have a Health & Fitness, Sports, Education, or Lifestyle app? In this case, you should regularly remind users why they have your solution installed. Motivate them to continue training, follow a diet, etc by push alerts.

Focus on personal goals

Promote ongoing sales and events

Push notification marketing is sometimes about creating urgency especially when planning a sale. Announce such an event in advance so that customers have their money ready. Also, announce the last day of the sale.

Promote ongoing sales and events

Inform users about important changes

People like discovering something new – updates and features of your app. Moreover, they often wish to be among the first to try them out.

Inform users about important changes

Unfortunately, there is also another type of changes, which drives users mad. We are talking about price changes. Don’t hide such information so that clients can better plan their budgets.

Nudge inactive mobile users

How to wake up “sleeping” users? A good method is to cause self-reflection. For example, OneDrive and Facebook send sometimes messages with a selection of photos taken in the past. Such images often evoke nostalgia. And people don't even notice how they start flipping through the social network feed.

The Referral stage

Bring a friend – get a bonus

A brick-and-mortar method of how to receive new users. And it works even nowadays.

Bring a friend – get a bonus

Consider special offers for friends, loved ones, and relatives

Another option to increase your app's audience is to start offering products and solutions for families, friends, or colleagues. It can be a family subscription like on YouTube or wholesale purchases when different people buy multiple copies of the same item.

Consider special offers for friends, loved ones, and relatives
Consider special offers for friends, loved ones, and relatives


Are you satisfied with the income you receive from your app? If not, you should definitely implement the listed practices that suit you the most and begin to project your revenue.

At the end of this article, we would like to give you some more tips related to push messaging within the user journey.

Suggest Complementary Products

Has your customer bought something? Well, offer supplemental goods. For example, if the person ordered a laptop, send a link to mice, bags, etc. Don’t forget about a discount.

Suggest Complementary Products
Suggest Complementary Products

Use rich push notifications to draw attention to your messages

Offer an extension of the functionality and resources

Do some users exceed certain limits of their tariff? Suggest updating their pricing plan. If they use the free version of your services, send a message calling them to switch to premium. However, the offer must be conditioned by something: tell users what benefits they will get.

Such notifications will increase your revenue.

Offer an extension of the functionality and resources

Ask for feedback

Don’t hesitate to ask people if they are satisfied with your services or products. This is the only way to become better and increase app engagement. Unfortunately, around 25% of all applications are abandoned after one use, according to Localytics.

Ask for feedback

With Reteno, it’s easy to develop a strategy for promoting your application: use push notification templates and detailed analytics reports based on user behavior. Do not neglect pushes: such a tool has a 50% higher open rate and a 7x higher click rate compared to traditional emails and web push notifications.

Maya Skidanova


August 26, 2022

Kseniia Petrina


August 23, 2022

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