What the World Would Be Like Without Push Notifications

Let’s talk about push notifications. I think we can all agree that we have a love/hate relationship with them. We love when our phones buzz to let us know that our GrubHub order is on its way, but we hate when we’re woken up at 3am by that alert from our virtual pet demanding that it’s time to be fed. No thank you.

Attention mobile marketers: if you wake me up in the middle of the night with a notification that I couldn’t care less about, not only will I be groggy and mad, but I will most likely delete your app.

In today’s blog post, we’ll travel through another dimension of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone: a world without push notifications.The case for personalized push notifications


To imagine what this parallel universe might look like, let’s examine these three hypothetical scenarios. We’re going to use these to determine whether or not we really need and/or want push notifications in our lives.

Scenario One: Your Happily Ever After

You’re convinced you’ll never find the one and have been moodily swiping on Tinder all evening. You put down the phone for a hot minute to make some microwaveable mac and cheese and in those 60 seconds, your soulmate Super Likes you back. You return to the couch, meal in hand, and start bingeing on Netflix. You check your phone reflexively, BUT WAIT. No notifications. You’ll never know that your soulmate might just love you back.

By the time you reopen Tinder later that night, the love of your life has already swiped right with somebody else. Guess you’re gonna die alone, all because there are no push notifications.

The case for personalized push notifications


The Case for Push Notifications

This is a good example of the type of push notification that you actually want. You’ve just been using the app actively, and the notification responds to that activity with an alert that is relevant and personal. You need it to let you know that someone swiped right on you. Without push, it’s easy for us to get distracted by other activities, and thus Tinder is no longer top of mind.

Scenario Two: Keeping Up With Current Events

You’re late for work and rush out the door without checking the latest headlines. That’s odd, the streets are abnormally empty. That car set ablaze is a little unsettling, must’ve been a rough night. Why does that building have a giant hole blasted through it?

You’re caught in a bright beam of light. Looks like aliens invaded the earth last night, but because there are no push notifications, you missed the breaking news alert and the warning to stay indoors that you would have normally received. Have fun living with the Klingons.

The case for personalized push notifications


The Case for Push Notifications

Push notifications are meant to provide us with relevant, timely information. End of the world news? Yes. What’s happening in New Zealand’s elections while we’re asleep overnight? No. If that’s something in which we’ve expressed an interest, try an alert in the morning around the time we usually check the app.

To recap: we like notifications that acknowledge our interests and our physical location. We don’t like notifications that don’t acknowledge our sleeping habits (i.e timezone) and our past app activity.

Scenario Three: Your Favorite Band In Concert

You’re dying to see your favorite band live, but there are no shows in your area. You scroll through your favorite concert discovery app every day, hoping to find a venue you may have missed. After a week of this, you give up. There’s no point wasting your time when you keep being disappointed.

The next day, Mouse Rat adds a show in your area. Too bad there’s no push notification to let you know about it. You miss the show.

The case for personalized push notifications


The Case for Push Notifications

This one almost needs no explanation. Not only can this notification provide you with timely and relevant information, but it has the potential to provide you with a helpful service. An invaluable service. A little alert from that concert discovery app could lead to a night of joy and lifelong memories. Gamechanger.


All jokes aside, push notifications can be an awesome service or a terrible waste. 63 percent of apps send their notifications at the wrong time, and on average, only 42 percent of users opt-in to receive those notifications in the first place.

It’s just common sense. You like messages that are curated for you at the right time. It’s like scoring a sweet deal on a new pair of shoes. You don’t like getting irrelevant blasts at two in the morning. That’s like hearing about the sale the day after it’s over.

If you want to read more about the effectiveness of personal versus generic messaging, check out this full study we did analyzing 671,587,169 push notifications. We break down app sends vs. user opens to break down key findings around push engagement. You can also download it directly by clicking the button below:

Push notification engagement on personalized versus generic campaigns

We live in a world of push notifications, whether we like it or not. The case for push notifications: we hate them when they’re disruptive, unrelated to our interests, and otherwise interrupt our lives. We love them when they’re relevant, personal, and timely to us and the things we love. If you send the right content, at the right time, to the right person, you’ll become the app people love and come back to time and time again.

Leanplum is the most complete mobile marketing platform, designed for intelligent action. Its integrated solution delivers meaningful engagement across messaging and the in-app experience. We work with top brands such as Expedia, Tesco, and Lyft. Discover more at www.leanplum.com.