Why Push Notifications Are a Tough Sell for Mobile Marketers
By their very design, push notifications seem like a logical choice for mobile app developers to integrate into their products’ design. We’ve become so completely reliant on our phones and tablets that even though we’re spending an extraordinary amount of time on our favorite mobile apps, we can’t be on all of them all of the time—and for advertisers and marketers, this simply won’t do.
And so, we have push notifications. Personally, I’m surprised that apps are even required to ask you for permission to send them to you. Historically, and under the guise that we’ll miss out on something if we decline to receive them, many users simply granted the apps the permission they requested.
Richard Ting at the Harvard Business Review explains the current mess that has been made by the abuse—or at the very least, poor use—by those creating present-day pushes:
While push notifications can be incredibly useful, many mobile app developers and brands have resorted to using them as a cheat to achieve coveted retention and engagement. In some cases, it's starting to backfire. We're beginning to see a tidal wave of push notifications from mobile apps that alert users of every mundane activity, irrelevant sales promotion, or social network update.
Push notifications certainly have the possibility of actually providing helpful information or even the simple awards and badges that drive so much of social media apps like Foursquare and other community-based games. Consider what happens when users are bombarded with ads; even Facebook’s “pushes for pushes,” according to Digital Trends, amounted to nothing more than Facebook looking awfully “desperate.”
While it may only take seconds to tap or swipe away the increasing number of notifications that are of no interest, remember that we’re now averaging forty-one apps installed on every device we own. This adds up to more than a simple annoyance, and it could lead to users eventually deleting the offending apps out of frustration (even though one could just opt to turn the pushes off).
With useless notifications like these, you can’t really blame users for simply walking away.