Push Notifications: Not So Annoying Anymore

Notifications increase in popularity and promote large gains for one company

Push notifications, those less, er, pushy cousins of SMS messages, are on the rise.

Urban Airship, which powers push notifications for more than 60,000 apps, said it took in as much revenue in the first quarter of this year as it did in all of 2011.

Building on smartphone apps’ ability to recognize a person’s location, interests and identity, push messaging services are delivering results. In the past year, Urban Airship claims that some brand app developer customers have enjoyed as much as a 540 percent increase in daily app opens, 30 percent uptick in social sharing and 20 percent increase in mobile orders. For example, flash sale site Rue La La saw app open rates increase twenty fold and user sessions by 25 percent.

Overall push notifications lead consumers to use apps 18 percent to 30 percent more, said Urban Airship CEO Scott Kveton.

Early SMS-based text campaigns may have felt unfamiliar and intrusive to consumers. Forrester analyst Ari Osur said the ubiquity of smartphone apps and the development of new app-based push notifications give consumers more control over incoming messages while giving marketers myriad ways to target. “Text messaging grew up as a friend-to-friend communication channel, and when marketers inserted their brands in there, it felt inauthentic and invasive,” Osur said. “That’s changing as people become more reliant on their mobile devices.”