How often should I send push notifications?

This article is intended to assist with deciding when a push notification is appropriate and how often a user might want to receive a push notification.

This is one of the questions most frequently asked of Airship, and the answer depends on your customers’ expectations. We can break it down into the following three questions:

Is this something your customer asked for?

Through a preference center, customers tell you when they want to hear from you, how often, and about what. If they ask for alerts about every sale, breaking news story, or game in progress, push away. Content sent to users that have directly opted-in generally has a significantly higher positive response rate.

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Is this expected communication?

Customers will appreciate push message confirmations of a reservation or product shipment, and they might also expect to hear from you on a regular (say, weekly) basis. Push based on their expected cadence so your message is not perceived as an interruption.

Is this message helpful to my customer?

How does your app provide utility, benefit, or delight to the customer? When a push serves your customer, you’ve got the green light. When the push is self-serving, such as a promotional message a customer didn’t request, tread lightly and push sparingly.

In the below example, the send is to inform people about possible deals and give them the opportunity to opt-in to receive more info about those deals.  

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What type of content are you sending?

Push notifications are interruptive and they may not be appropriate for all use cases. Airship has different ways to reach users with great content that doesn't interrupt their day. Message Center messages for example can provide a way for you to reach out to your users about things like cute dogs, which everyone likes, and because it is non-interruptive, users can see the content the next time they open your app:

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