Social networks and news publications have push notifications mastered. Throughout the day, people can glance at their phone’s lock screens and see the latest headlines, newest Tweets, and their most recent likes. Brands are beginning to learn from the publishing giants about how and when to send push notifications for the best response.

For brands, it’s all about timing. Timing push notifications for breaking news is easy—do it as soon as possible—but brands need to be more creative. “With brands, it’s a little bit trickier to learn some of (the) niche moments” for notifications, says Sophie Kleber, executive creative director at Huge. The holiday season included several of those moments, however. With a 128 percent increase over last year, Black Friday weekend was a huge opportunity to focus on targeted push notifications, alerts, and updates to customers.

And with potential customers’ lock screens full of push notifications, brands not only need to opt-in, but they also need to stand out. Men’s retailer Chubbies has an entire team dedicated to push notifications. They push sales and products just like any other retailer, but they curate clever headlines to entertain users as well. Engagement, humor, and one-liners may drive customers to opt-in for push notifications, and in turn, drive them to open the app and/or purchase from the brand.

Personalizing the experience

Each time a person opens an app, makes a purchase, or browses a page, brands can collect information to personalize the customer’s future experiences. Apps can access contact information to auto-fill the checkout portion of a purchase, prioritize Apple Pay preferences, and suggest products based on previous interests. They can also take that information and create targeted notifications for the user after they’ve closed the app. When a retailer pairs convenience with personalization, the effort pays off big with “users engaging at a rate that’s over 200 percent higher” than general push notifications.

As email becomes more cluttered, brands have a unique opportunity to reach the masses through push notifications. They just need to find the right words and the right time, and users are ready to respond.

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