Segmentation: The Secret to Smarter Push Notifications

Getting a user to opt into your push notifications is the mobile app equivalent of securing a second date. You clearly made a good first impression, and now they’re feeling optimistic about where things may lead.

At this pivotal point in the relationship, your next few moves could be the difference between a brisk breakup and a lengthy love affair. If you bombard the user with a steady stream of irrelevant interruptions, don’t be surprised to find yourself in the first scenario. But if you can manage to send a smaller set of messages that consistently hit the mark, the two of you may soon be inseparable.

Perfecting those initial push notifications is easier said than done, of course, but every user drops hints about what they want to hear. This process of gathering, recording, and leveraging those clues is more commonly known as segmentation.

A Quick Explanation of Segmentation
Segmentation is one of marketing’s most fundamental tactics. It divides a single market into several subgroups of customers who are defined by their common characteristics and behaviors. This allows marketers to speak more specifically to the interests of each group.

By segmenting your app users, even at the simplest levels, you acknowledge their individualism in a way most businesses sadly don’t. And with every new detail you associate to a segment, you’ll be able to add another layer of personalization to each push notification.

Given all the available criteria you can use to create customer segments, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Beginning at the broadest level, though, is often the best place to start.

Focus On Demographics First
Initial segmentation can begin even before users take their first actions inside your app. The user acquisition and registration processes create all kinds of clues about who your users are and what messages they’re inclined to embrace. Simple demographics like age, gender, and location are small-but-valuable seeds for a savvy mobile marketer.

Segmenting users by location, for example, is an easy way to ensure you are sending push notifications at a time of day when the audience is actually awake to read it. (Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many well-meaning marketers overlook this!) Location segmentation has the added bonus of helping you develop hyper-relevant geofencing campaigns as well.

You can even get users to layer on additional details themselves by crafting an app onboarding process that encourages them to create rich profiles. If you’re running an event app, for example, getting attendees to volunteer their job titles and interests allows you to proactively recommend scheduled activities that may be a match.

Lastly, one subtle advantage of user demographic data is that it rarely changes. As a result, the segmentation effort spent at this early stage of the relationship can continue to reap rewards for both sides well into the future.

Build Up to Behavior
Once you’ve seen some initial movement in your engagement rates and are feeling more confident in your segmentation skills, you can consider raising the stakes with some more proactive moves.

The longer your user relationship continues, the more behavioral footprints they’ll leave behind in your analytics. The exact behaviors you choose to monitor will vary based on your unique goals, but some of the more common candidates include:

  • Links Clicked

  • Pages Viewed

  • Audio/Video Files Streamed

  • Comments Submitted

  • Content Shared

The segment of users who left comments on an artist video, for example, may be the most receptive to a push notification announcing the debut of the artist’s new album. Similarly, the segment of guests who recently researched fitness facilities within a hotel’s app may be more receptive to a push notification advertising one of the properties more health-conscious dining options.

At this level of segmentation, the user groups and messages you create are limited only by your creativity. But you still need to remember the golden rules of marketing with push notifications. Novelty and surprise are always encouraged, but never at the expense of common sense and courtesy.  

Now that you know the essentials, comment below and let us know how YOU could use segmentation to spark deeper connections!

1 reply on “Segmentation: The Secret to Smarter Push Notifications”

Segmentation is an essential operation, strongly desired in pretty much every business that deals with internet conversion. Trying to single out thev conditions in which certain groups of users are more likely to convert for me seems like a dream-come true, an ideal basis for content optimization.

And I totally agree with the point covering the need of localizing your content – this is overlooked even in abroad website optimization processes, where the currency isn’t as it should be (local of course) and the address details, as well as the ones regarding the shipment, are wrong.

Are there any tools for segmentation that you find to be your favourite?

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