Report: Push Notification Opt-In Rate Drops in 2014

Urban Airship has released its latest report, measuring push notification opt-in rates for 2014.

Urban Airship Push Notifications

Urban Airship, a mobile engagement platform, has released the results of its Mobile Engagement Benchmarks report, measuring the opt-in rates of push notifications across nearly 3,000 iOS apps and 100 billion push notifications, sent to more than 500 million users in 2014.

Across all categories of apps, the report found the average notification opt-in rate to be down slightly, from 45 percent to 43 percent, when compared to data from Urban Airship’s Good Push Index from December 2013. It’s worth noting, the Good Push Index measured only six overall app types, while this newest data covers 15 types.

Across every industry, high-performing app categories were those with greater than 50 percent average notification opt-in rates. This includes categories like business and charity or non-profit apps. These charity apps had the highest average opt-in rate, at 58 percent. Games had the lowest average, at 33 percent.

Urban Airship Mobile Engagement Benchmarks

When comparing the six original industries across both reports, retail apps saw the largest decline in notification opt-in rates, dropping from 46 percent to 37 percent. This was followed by media apps, which dropped from 50 percent to 42 percent.

The report encourages developers to focus on personalizing the notifications sent to users. Speaking on retail apps specifically, Urban Airship compared the use of push notifications over the 2013 and 2014 holiday shopping seasons, using the same 150 retail apps. It found retailers doubled the number of notifications sent on key shopping days in 2014 (Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday), and users also responded to these messages at double the rate of 2013. However, Urban Airship speculates companies could have achieved 4x-7x greater response rates, had they personalized or targeted those messages, rather than sending generic blasts to everyone.

Furthermore, developers should reevaluate the timing or language used when asking a user to allow push notifications to be sent. Many apps trigger the same generic notification request immediately after first opening the app, which can be annoying for consumers. Instead, the report encourages developers to describe the value of these notifications before ever requesting to send them, or even create other places in the customer’s experience to ask them to opt-in, allowing them to see the value in doing so.

Brett Caine, president and CEO of Urban Airship, commented on the results:

Our latest data shows that high-performing apps have opt-in rates that are 45 percent higher than average performers. As more and more customer interactions take place in the notification layer, especially on Apple Watch and IoT, it’s more critical than ever that marketers move from good to great in their mobile engagement practices.

Urban Airship’s complete report can be downloaded here.