How to A/B Test Push Notifications

Push notifications are quickly becoming the preferred method for contact with app users. Receiving a push notification instead of a mass market email can help app users feel important and valued. However, if your push notifications aren’t being received well by your users, you may need to reevaluate your notification layouts, colors, etc. This is where A/B testing comes in. So, let’s dive into the topic of how to A/B test push notifications:

Step 1 – Create a Hypothesis

Brainstorm on the different types of push notifications you think your target audience will respond well to. These types can include fun, practical, informative notifications, and more. An example of a fun notification would be a daily joke/pun. A practical notification could be a reminder of an expiring coupon you have available in the app. An informative notification could be an announcement for the sale you have going on in your app for the next 24 hours. Try to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and imagine what would appeal to them the most.

Step 2 – Run a Test

Compose a variety of push notifications that basically say the same thing but are just worded differently. Include different types of graphics (emoticons, links, etc.) in the notifications. Some variants in your testing can include:

  • Voice – Personal or Professional? Will your users respond better to text reads friendlier and more personable? Or more “down to business” and informative?
  • Call to Action – Direct or Mysterious? Will your users prefer direct, to-the-point messages? Or mysterious, “Click to the find out!” messages?
  • Time – Urgent or Friendly? Will your users want an “Order now or miss out!” notification? Or a “You still have time to…” notification?

Then, send the various notifications to certain groups of users (these will be your groups of test subjects).

Step 3 – Document Results

Analyze viewing and app engagement data received directly in result of each variety of push notification. Once you have that data, you will be able to document your results. Your results will help you determine what type of notification was the most successful (meaning it directly led to the user interacting with your app), which notification wording was the most successful, and which types of graphics proved to be the most successful.

Step 4 – Spring into Action

Once you have all the data and analysis you need, take action. Begin sending your notifications in the formats that were proven the most successful and watch your engagement and retention numbers soar! If you run into problems, like low click rates, then just run another, more specific test and make changes accordingly. For example, suppose you need to determine if you are using too much or too little “extras” (such as links, emoticons, etc.). Running a secondary and more specific test will help you determine which side of the spectrum your users are responding to.

These are just four simple steps to get you started with A/B testing your push notifications. If you want to delve deeper, you can always set up notification tests based on personalization, locations, segmenting, etc. All of these are great aspects that can improve the success of your push notifications.

Push notifications are a great way to get the attention of your users, draw them in to interact with your app, and build a loyal customer relationship between them and your app. So, now that you have the steps to run an basic A/B test for your push notifications, what are you waiting for? Dive on in and discover the valuable information and tools an A/B test for your push notifications can provide!

“Smartphones and tablets are transforming how and where we consume news and information. The ABC must meet the challenge of delivering content to the audience at a time they want and on the device and format they prefer.”

Mark ScottManaging Director, ABC

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Terry ReaderChief Commercial Officer, Brisbane Broncos NRL

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Colin LangmeadCIO- Health Partners

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