OneSignal: Accelerating Customer Engagement with Engaging Push Notifications

“When you pick up your phone, the first thing you see are push notifications—maybe there’s a breaking news alert, a game update, a response from a dating site, etc.” shares George Deglin, the Founder and CEO of OneSignal.

On average, people look at their smartphones 80 times per day. Considering the frequent use of smartphones, push notifications are the top driver of app re-engagement. Notifications get users into an app with a perfectly timed and highly relevant message. Across iOS apps 52% of app users subscribe to push notifications, and all Android users are automatically subscribed to notifications from apps that support them. Notifications consequently help boost customer loyalty by keeping an app fresh in their minds or surfacing important information, and apps that send notifications see a 27% higher engagement rate.

In this fast-track digital age, no one likes pervasive retargeted ads, robocalls, or email spam. On the other hand, push notifications are the only channel that gives users full control over who can communicate with them. To get a notification, you have to opt-in on an app or website you actually use. If the notifications are too frequent or irrelevant, one can easily opt-out.

To understand how push notifications are one of the most popular drivers for every business, the team of Corporate Today interacted with George about how his company has started and emerged to be one of the market leaders in the push notification market.

Push notifications are leveling the competition because…

While speaking about how push notifications are changing the competition between SMBs and large scale companies, George said, “Push is levelling the playing field, allowing SMBs to compete with large enterprises. In a customer survey we conducted of 700K users, 56% of respondents said that push reduced spending on traditional engagement channels like Google/Facebook for retargeted ads, email CRMs, and SMS platforms.” He added, “We want to help all developers delight their users through the most effective channels possible. We believe all developers should have an intuitive platform for sending effective push notifications to their customers, and we believe this should not cost a small business six figures a year.”

Solving problems of users to get maximum customer engagement

Previously, George started the company as a Y Combinator-backed mobile developer called Hiptic Games. As a game development company, the team became frustrated with existing push notification tools, so Hiptic built its own system. This system eventually became the company’s focus. George and his team found that existing push notification platforms were not developer friendly and did not solve the issues that they and many other app and game developers were facing.

The rise of OneSignal platform to send push notifications helped to solve the roadblocks that the developer community faced. George said, “Initially, we designed the platform around the needs of game developers. But soon we began to target all app developers and marketers instead of just game makers. We also worked hard to change the perception of push notifications from ‘spam’ to a useful part of the customer experience.” Through iteration, George and the team of OneSignal ended up democratizing push notification software. In the form of OneSignal they built a fast, developer-centric tool that enables dreamers, tinkerers, and small/large businesses to spread their services and ideas broadly.

An Intelligent way to get the most of push notifications

OneSignal is the leading push notification SDK used by app developers, sending over 5 billion messages daily across mobile and web platforms. It allows developers to run automated campaigns to re-engage users, with features like message localization, personalization, and scheduling. Knowing a user’s activity and behaviors aren’t helpful unless you find a way to apply that data. Thus, to apply correct data, OneSignal’s User Tags make sure that the message will be something that a user is interested in. These tags are based on attributes such as subscription status, cart abandonment history, and other user behaviors. After an app has implemented tags, developers can use segments to create specific audiences for various messages.

We use smart delivery that enables users to…

George shares, “A key feature of the OneSignal platform is our ability to optimize each notification’s delivery time based on when each user is most likely to engage with an app. We leverage engagement data collected over a 3-month rolling average. With Intelligent Delivery, push notifications are going to be sent and opened at the most optimal times for users without sending them all at the same time or trying to time delivery based on timezone alone.”

Finally, let’s say you’ve delved into your extensive user data and cooked up a successful push notification strategy. OneSignal’s A/B Testing helps further test its audience’s reactions to a variety of messages. Therefore, by testing to see what works best for every audience, you can analyze the results and make changes to your strategy while testing one variable at a time so you know exactly what’s influencing the results.

Relying on email for customer engagement is no longer enough

Explaining the core challenges that OneSignal team faced while delivering the best-in-class solution to its users, George stated, “At present, the prime challenge is understanding the real-world behaviors of people so that businesses can send updates at the most relevant time without annoying them. Customer engagement from traditional marketing channels like email or retargeted ads is dropping year after year, making lead generation and remarketing increasingly difficult. Email open rates are in decline. About 26% of consumers use ad blockers on their desktops. Even LinkedIn marketing is getting played out, which was something unthinkable even a year ago.”

Hence, to keep prospects engaged in a world of fierce competition and short attention spans, businesses need more direct channels like push notifications, which are more likely to be seen than online ads and emails. In such a fast-pace world targeted messaging, like a specially curated push notification, cuts through the noise and places your message directly in front of your target. While on average 52% of mobile users enable push notifications, by contrast, the average email open rate is less than 20% and email click-through rates average 1-3%. Notifications are key path to success and OneSignal is continuously expanding its way to offering the most intuitive and personalized push notification solution on the market.

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