A majority of respondents to a Localytics survey believe push notifications have improved over the years, but continue to lack value.

A recent survey of 1,000 smartphone users in the US found push notifications are percieved more positively today than they were a few years ago: 52 per cent of participants said they are better, 38 per cent said they are the same and 10 per cent said they are worse.

Based on the survey, users are willing to receive more push notifications before disabling the feature now than they were in 2015. However, they are likely to be more open to notifications from “relationship-based” apps such as social media, dating, and messaging apps, as well as news apps.

Despite the high level of positivity regarding push notifications, only one in five respondents said they are actually helpful. Users who don’t find the feature useful are likely those who get too many promos from shopping apps or other apps which send them irrelevant messages.

People are also more likely to disable push before they stop using an app completely if too many notifications are sent.

Lessons in marketing
The research indicates mobile marketers can today experiment with sending more than one weekly push notification with less serious long-term risks. In 2015, receiving two to five push notifications would have caused 31 per cent of users to stop using an app: today, this is down to 22.3 per cent.

Localytics’ research also found the push notifications which add the most value are those triggered by a user’s stated preferences. About 49 per cent of those quizzed said such notifications cause them to use an app more. Meanwhile notifications triggered by in-app behaviour are most likely to cause them to use an app less, as some find it unsettling due to the relationship between in-app behaviour tracking.

Some 58 per cent of people said such notifications would make them feel nervous, harassed, or annoyed.

Localytics recommended marketers who have not used the feature before should start with one push per week. Given the research found 90 per cent of people are willing to receive one push per week without disabling notifications, this “makes experimentation relatively safe”.

The report also suggested giving users the options to receive specific types of notifications. Location-based push alerts may also work. After specific user preferences, location tracking was cited as the most valuable type of trigger for push notifications.