It seems as though apps everywhere want a piece of your smartphone’s lock screen, blitzing users with requests to send push notifications.

There’s a very valid reason for this – marketers have noticed that push messaging is a good way to get users to come back and continue to use their apps, drawing 88 per cent more app launches among users, compared to those who disabled push notifications.

That’s according to new research from Localytics, an analytics platform for mobile and web apps. The company looked at apps with integrated push messaging on both iOS and Android over the course of July. While Localytics didn’t reveal how many apps and users it followed for the purpose of this study, it tracks 28,000 mobile and web apps across more than 1.5 billion devices.

Not only were push notifications more likely to get users to open an app, but they also drive retention rates, Localytics found. Among users who have enabled push, they were almost three times as likely to continue using the app – an achievement, given most mobile device owners regularly use just a handful of apps.

Still, mobile marketers need to recognize not all push notifications are created equal. In its research, Localytics found e-commerce apps were the most likely to score app launches, with 278 per cent more app launches when users enabled push notifications. In a blog post, Localytics business analyst Dave Hoch noted that’s because mobile users with e-commerce apps can recognize the value in allowing push notifications to go through.

“A well-timed and personalized push message that lets a user know that the items they were looking at last week are now on sale is a great reason for them to re-engage with an app,” Hoch wrote. “The ability to segment push messages ensures that a user will receive content based on their behavior and preferences, which in turn helps them to re-engage and feel like they are building a relationship with the app brand.”

Other types of apps that benefited from sending push notifications included music, with 177 per cent more app launches, travel at 109 per cent, food and drink also at 109 per cent, and photography at 81 per cent.


The categories that seemed to get the least amount of app launches through push notifications seemed to be sports, as well as health and fitness – though that could be because users simply glance at push notifications informing them of something like the number of steps they’ve taken. Still, the average return rate among users getting push notifications was 62 per cent, compared to just 32 per cent when users didn’t receive them.

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