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Web Push: The Secret to Return Users

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Online publishers work hard to create engaging content that appeals to diverse audiences. Only targeting new readers — not working to retain first-time visitors — takes time and leaves money on the table. Push notifications are an easy way to get return visits from your existing audience so you can focus on producing great content. Retaining these visitors leads to increased value over time.

Retention. Maintaining readers is the first step to increasing their value. At Pushly, we see an average opt-in rate of 5 percent across verticals, giving publishers access to subscribers through a direct line of communication. Bringing the same users back is critical for publishers today and web push notifications are proven to deliver these audiences.

Loyalty. Recency and frequency are two trackable metrics used to determine reader loyalty. Once someone trusts a brand, they’re more likely to respond to frequent notifications. The Pushly platform, enhanced with machine learning capabilities, can send customized pushes to these target audiences, pulling them back to the site regularly with engagement rates of 15 percent or higher using Smart Segmentation.

Monetization. Loyal readers consume over five times as many articles per month as standard audiences, resulting in a 15-per-month average, according to a 2019 study published by Content Insights. These resulting sessions can boost ad and subscription revenue. Another benefit? Loyal readers encourage new audiences — they’re almost three times more likely to post brand content on social media or share with friends.

Push Notifications

Push notifications have evolved.

Early models for push notifications were sent with all users receiving the same message, resulting in decreased engagement and higher attrition rates. Over the past decade, push has been refined from an “open faucet” with mass-messaging untailored to reader interest to a personalized, interest-driven line of communication — increasing engagement and reducing subscriber attrition.

This is because push notifications are content your readers have asked to receive via opt-in.

Push works because it’s personal.

Push has to be personal. A successful notification sends the right message to the right person at an ideal time. The Pushly platform uses machine learning to line up these three factors for hyper-relevant content:

The right message. Pushly tracks site behavior to determine what a content subscriber reads when they visit the site. Then readers are segmented based on interest to receive personally tailored notifications.

Example: A repeat visitor to a food publisher’s site who consistently clicks on vegetarian recipes probably won’t interact with a notification about steak.

The right person. Notification interaction informs future pushes. Pushly tracks the content vertical and specific stories readers interact with via notifications and uses that to send bespoke content to the consumer.

Example: An entertainment publisher could have a loyal reader who consistently views articles about new movies. Over time, Pushly determines that they’re only clicking on pushes about documentaries, and ignoring the rest. Interaction will increase by focusing on those in the future.

The right time. The Pushly platform tracks site visit patterns to determine when subscribers are most likely to visit, then sends notifications at these times. Geo-segmentation also helps determine ideal windows through timezone.

Example: A reader checks hockey scores most days during the lunchtime lull. It’s more beneficial for a sports publisher to send him pushes at that time than later in the evening.

4 factors for effective notifications.

An intuitive web push platform can assist publishers in crafting the most effective notifications for segmented audiences, leading to return visits.

  • Machine learning: For example, Pushly’s Personalization Engine finds users and groups them into buckets for targeting based on behavioral, onsite and push interaction data.

  • Data feeds: Enhance personalization by easily integrating with a data management platform (DMP), a customer data platform (CDP), or other custom first-party data sources.

  • Optimization: Send notifications optimized based on real-time analysis of user data, saving valuable time for your team.

  • Automation: Built-in platform features include the creation and deployment of personalized push notifications automatically – no need for manual management.

Return visits lead to visible results.

With Pushly, publishers can get a more complete view of their audiences when they return multiple times, banking more first-party user data to drive smart, effective engagement and increased response. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves:

  • Push notifications have a 5% average opt-in rate across verticals

  • Users average 4 notification interactions per day

  • Personalized pushes have a 7% engagement rate — more than double that of social media posts or email blasts

  • Return visitors don’t just click and close — the average reader who returns to a site via push notification views 1.9 pages

Push works in the real world.

“We really started using push notifications as a test,” says Mark Francescutti, Director of Digital Marketing Operations and Engagement at Dallas Morning News (DMN). “When we saw the results, we were shocked — in a good way.” After implementing push notifications, DMN began capturing over 6,000 notification subscribers every day. Within a month, they built an addressable audience of over 150,000 subscribers.

Pushly now represents 4% of Dallas Morning News's page views, and 11% of their return visits. Those statistics result in a 5% increase in paid subscriptions, and increased ad revenue — 100% covering the cost of the Pushly platform.

Convinced that push is the right solution, but haven’t picked a partner yet? Review this checklist to make sure your company is receiving all the benefits of push notifications.

If you partner with Pushly, your account manager and our dedicated support team will have your site seeing return readers within hours.

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