How to Use Push Notifications to Increase Engagement

In the early days of mobile technology, users generally used their phone or tablet as an extension of their computer, using it to seek the content they needed. However, as the grid of apps has increased, our culture has moved increasingly from this “pull-driven” method of pulling info out we seek to the a “push-driven.” A push notification allows your application to notify a user with a new message when he or she is not actively using the app.

You have encouraged visitors to download your event app. Now that they have it, how do you get them to use it? Recent research by Localytics has shown that app engagement was 88 percent higher when the app sent push notifications. So, for you this means that in this increasingly push-driven world, you need to send regular alerts to your users.

In apps produced by Grandstand in the last year, targeted push notifications increased average app usage by almost 5000% in the hour following a message. Industry research shows that more than half of push-enabled users accessed an app 11 times or more after download versus 38 percent of those not receiving notifications (Localytics research).

On TechCrunch, Ariel Seidman wrote that “its hard to over-hype the power of mobile push notifications. For the first time in human history, you can tap almost two billion people on the shoulder.” The goal for these alerts is to engage the user without over-notifying them to the point of annoyance. Allowing the user to identify the types or dates for notifications in an event app would be key to increasing the viability of notifications.

Clearly, push-notifications are ideal for encouraging engagement with your app, the question then becomes, what types of content can and should be shared for your event app. The types of content are really limitless, but the most effective use of push notifications entices the user toward some kind of action or immediate reminder. There are three main types that event apps might employ:

  1. Action items that take the user from alert to the app
  2. An alert about a venue or time change
  3. General reminder with daily highlights

An action item alert for a conference might direct the user to the opening of the trade show. The user would then be directed to the schedule within the app. A second alert notification might be the release of 4-H Judging results, thereby directing the user to enter the app to browse or search for the winners in recently released categories. These types of notifications would most dramatically increase your user’s interaction with the app, providing the much needed analytics to identify interest of the users, open rate time and engagement. These three analytic points would be of utmost importance when attracting advertisers or other investors for your app in the future.

Alerts about venue or time changes or general daily highlights would increase the importance of your app to remain on your user’s devices, thus serving as a reminder of your event’s interest and importance for their time. Those apps that encourage interaction through notification are rewarded with engagement (TechCrunch, 2014). According to research by Localytics, 53 percent of push-enabled users accessed an app 11 times or more after download versus 38 percent of non-push users. Each return visit to the app offers an opportunity to put your event and your brand in front of a user. In addition, these time or venue change alerts will encourage attendance at your session making it a more successful experience overall.

When using the Grandstand Apps platform, you as an event coordinator can release these alerts or notifications in two key ways:

  1. Using our Grandstand App Builder tools you select the subgroup you want to send to, craft your message, and hit send.
  2. Through Twitter, any tweets sent by the identified account would also be sent as an alert to app users.

These two methods of sending your alerts offers you as an event organizer to most easily get your key messages out to your intended targets. Those users can do one of three things to select their notification level based on your preferences: users may be asked during the initial on-boarding process to allow alerts, after a double opt-in or you may choose to employ an alert management page for the user’s micro-control of alerts allowing them to select multiple categories of alerts or identifying which days they would like to receive alerts in the case of multi-day events.

Our world is an increasingly push-driven one, with a larger app grid on our devices our engagement with certain apps is driven by those that alert us to their existence. By using key tools for notifications, your mobile solution will be ensured to stand out and thus encourage greater engagement with it and your event activities as a whole.

For assistance in developing and managing your event’s Mobile App, contact Grandstand Apps (