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Importance of Push Notification Ads for iOS Apps: 3 things you should know

Push Notification Ads on iOS

Simply having a mobile app for your business is not enough. It does not guarantee success. It is in fact just the first step. There are several tactics available to market your app and it definitely pays to consider leveraging them all.

If you are struggling to retain your users, push notifications may be your go-to solution. When used correctly, push notifications help you to engage your users and create a mutually beneficial experience. Through push notifications, you can send our fun prompts to remind your customers why they downloaded your app in the first place.

For the uninitiated, Apple made several changes to the App Store in the first quarter of 2020. These changes help app developers to provide a unique or quality experience.

One of these changes to regulations was to allow for push notifications ads.

This new change gives customers full control over whether or not they want to receive notifications. For customers who do it, will be able to receive important information such as upcoming sales easily.

While email marketing can easily get into the spam folder, never to be opened, mobile messages are seen almost instantly. Push notifications ads are a crucial tool to improve an app’s retention rate and sales and offer a huge opportunity for marketers to make essential marketing gains.

Before this update, Apple had banned apps from using push notifications for promotions, advertising, or direct marketing purposes. However, with the new update, apps can now technically send marketing notifications to their users. The new update comes with a clear caveat stating that push notifications should not be used for direct marketing or promotions unless customers have explicitly opted to receive the. Also, customers must be provided with options to opt-out.

While push notifications have been around for a while, the change in the policy is new. In fact, Apple has been bending its own rules in the last couple of years. For instance, they sent out rather suspicious-looking ads such as free three-month trial to lapsed subscribers of Apple Music. They faced heavy backlash and criticism.

That said, here are three things that you should know to get the most of the push notifications ads without turning off your users.

1. Targeting

  • Know your target audience

You need to understand your target audience if you want to use push notifications ads effectively. You cannot afford to send irrelevant push messages to the wrong customer and get ignored. It can do more damage than good. Don’t you unsubscribe from the mailing list of unwanted marketing? So, you wouldn’t want to risk doing the same to your users’ right?

Make sure to keep in mind your target users’ ages, interests, locations, and mobile spending habits when making your push notifications strategy. You sure don’t want to send the same push notifications to millenials as you will to baby boomers. Therefore, it is imperative to target your messages according to different audiences. It will make a major difference in your app’s retention and engagement rates.

  • Real-World application

Real-World examples of push notifications ads;

  • Retailers can personalize promotional messages for ongoing sales or new collections

  • Streaming and entertainment apps can target people according to their watching habits. For instance, Netflix recommends similar shows to users and even informs them about when their favorite show is released.

While consumers may have their reservations about allowing push notifications, they can opt-in to be notified when something they have been eyeing up is on sale. Push notifications ads when targeted accurately works great for both the consumers as well as the marketers.

You can start analyzing the results and gain insights once you start targeting your push notifications ads. If you find that some aren’t providing you with the results you are looking for, you can try another tactic. Conversely, if a tactic works well, you can use it more.

Of course, do not overdo your push notifications ads. If users are spammed with too many ads especially irrelevant ones, it will be difficult to win back their trust. This could lead to users opting out of your push notifications, which means you have lost them for good.

2. Plan of Action

Once your targeting is in place, it’s time to think about sending the notifications out into the world.

According to Localytics survey, 42% of respondents said that they would use an app more if it factored their location into the push messages sent to them.

  • Localization

According to LeanPlum, retention rates can improve 7 times in the first 90 days if push notifications are sent out at the right time. So, if you have users across different countries, there is no point in sending your push ads out at the same time. You will miss out on potential engagement due to thoughtless timing.

  • Frequency

Apart from localization, the frequency of your ads per week is another factor you must consider. However, do not spam your users. They will certainly not like it and you’ll be damaging your reputation.

You can start small and build the frequency as you gain more insights into what’s working for you and what’s not. The optimal number of push notifications per week is between two and five according to Localytics.

  • Encourage users to opt-in

To encourage your customers to opt-in, you can create a personalized splash screen aimed directly at your users as you can’t customize Apple’s push notifications prompt. Make it informative, engaging, and consistent with your brand tone. Tell users why they should opt-in. If they respond, the official opt-in screen will appear for them to confirm. If they don’t, you can prompt them again a little later.

Only 42% of iOS users opt-in to push notifications, according to LeanPlum. This shows that you need to improve your opt-in rates to a great extent if you want to see a dramatic increase in retention and engagement rates.

Most opt-in requests appear after a series of other requests such as permission to access your location, etc. It’s easy to click don’t allow and close the box so that you can begin to explore the app. As you are not sure whether you even like the app, it is easy to reject the opt-in request. However, it rejecting your opt-in request may not be a bad thing always. That is because you can send customized prompts later reminding them to opt-in and why. By reminding your users later, you give them sufficient time to engage with your app and develop loyalty to it.

3. Use emojis

Heart Emoji

Now that you have understood your target audience and how to implement your strategy, it is time to entertain your users with emojis. Research has shown that emojis can have a significant impact on open rates of push notifications.

Emojis are a great way to keep things light-hearted and at the same time add some fun into your marketing. Additionally, emojis help grab the attention of visual consumers who would otherwise tend to ignore plain text. Also, they are more engaging and fun which makes your brand more relatable to iPhone users who are familiar with the Emojis keyboard.

According to a study by LeanPlum, push notifications with emojis see a 254% increase in open rates compared to the ones that don’t use them at all. In addition, apps that use emojis see a 26% fewer uninstalls than those that didn’t. Therefore, it is safe to say that emojis are really helpful in contributing to an app’s overall retention rates.


Hopefully, with this post, you will have a better understanding of why you should be using push notifications for your app’s mobile marketing. Don’t forget to personalize your messages to target your audience. Also, chalk a marketing strategy and plan about when and how often you want to send out push notifications.

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