Personalized App Push Notifications For Retention & Engagement

Push notifications are one of the core USPs of native apps. They allow you to directly communicate with your users without depending on other mediums like email or blog posts. Research has shown that push notifications help maintain an active relationship with users and is one of the most decisive success factors when it comes to user retention, app usage and growth.

A crucial metric – App Retention is understood to be how actively users open and use your app after downloading it. Statistics show a consistent association between the frequency of news and updates with a good retention rate.

User retention % comparison – Push vs No Push. Source: GetSocial

Data analysis by Airship found a strong correlation between push notification frequency & user retention. The analysis showed that app users who receive one or more push notifications in their first 90-days have 190% higher average retention rates than those who don’t receive any push notifications.

Moreover, it is easier to keep opt-in users consistently engaged (i.e. those who have opted to receive push notifications) to the bar. In fact, users who consent to push notifications but don’t receive any notifications have the lowest retention rate of all. Considering the positive impact of push notifications, app developers must utilize them thoughtfully and with personalization.

The Power of Personalization

According to a survey mentioned in Fast Company’s September issue, people absolutely hate push notifications due to excessive use of the privilege by some businesses. While it may be accurate, we think any form of communication used to spam people and make them receive messages they don’t want is abusive.

As a matter of fact, whenever people complain about push notifications, they’re not complaining about the important updates that might relate to their lives. They are complaining about the spammy notifications that have no relevance to them whatsoever. 

When used appropriately, notifications can be a powerful, valuable, and dependent way to convey timely information. They can be the most cost-effective way to get people back to your app and keep them engaged. But it is extremely important to send relevant and current offers/ information. Push notifications should be exclusive, urgent, stimulating (emotional), actionable and beneficial for the user – and by no means annoying! The right choice of words is also essential, as a study by Leanplum has shown.

Almost all push notification optimization strategies boil down to three main factors: Timing, Personalization, and Actionability.

At tchopTM, we offer various approaches to push notifications based on user-generated content, comments and, of course, from the chat. We also offer custom push notification sounds that differentiate your app from others in the crowd. In various articles, we have described the importance of push notifications for engaging users.

Automated User Retention

With the latest app update and various technical enhancements, users can now automatically or manually send push messages with any content based on various dynamic criteria:

  • Operating system: iOS or Android
  • App version: e.g. to notify users of an app update
  • Language setting of the smartphone: e.g. to reach users with a specific language setting
  • Location of the user: e.g. to communicate only with users in a particular country or city
  • User-specific criteria or user properties: These are unique, dynamic properties of a user’s profile/actions. Push notifications can also be set up based on user activity –  like a user has not commented/reacted to a card, etc. E.g. If the user has not yet saved a photo, he can be reminded of this via a push message.
  • Time of first use of the app: The date & time when a user installed the app
  • Last app usage or session: The last time a user opened the app

The last two options are crucial for the use of automated, personalized retention pushes. Few examples of this:

  • Suppose the user does not open the app a second time within a certain period of time (e.g. 2 days) after the first installation. In that case, he will automatically receive a “welcome again” push message.
  • If the user is still not active again after a few days, he receives another push message, which draws his attention to particularly exciting benefits and offers in the app.
  • If a loyal user, who otherwise opens the app once a day, has not been active for more than two days, for example, will be notified of new content, a special offer or another benefit.
  • If a user has never registered after using the app (e.g. for 3 days), he can get an automated notification about the exciting benefits of registering.

The possibilities are many. Content and texts can, of course, be changed and tested for each push message. The push can also complement other features such as in-app messages to draw attention to certain things such as surveys, offers, or new content. The number of push messages sent and the open rate can be utilized to determine the success of each metric.

Firebase Predictions

No user wants to be ignored as a face in the crowd. Mobile users, in particular, want to feel they matter to brands, and there’s a very narrow window where you can deliver content that’s highly personalized and yet not intrusive.

We use a Google technology platform called Firebase, which offers a “Predictions” system to filter and identify users anonymously. (Important: Firebase itself does not have access to user-related data). Firebase Predictions applies Machine Learning to its own analytics data and creates dynamic user segments based on the predicted behaviour of your users. The analytics tries to identify which users will probably stop using the app soon.

It is quite a challenge to re-engage with a user who has already deleted your app. But with the help of Firebase Predictions, you can send highly engaging push notifications to users that are predicted not to return to your app. This way, Predictions along with clever push notifications help maintain long term user retention and loyalty.


When used correctly, push notifications can be a powerful and high-value channel of communication for individuals and organizations of every type.

Many app providers focus heavily on the number of downloads and acquisition of new users rather than finding strategies to retain existing users. Interestingly, retaining existing users is much more cost-effective than acquiring new users through ad campaigns and other marketing efforts.

With tchopTM you can automate your retention efforts with customized messages, offers and user criteria specific strategies. The Predictions system further bolsters your arsenal to re-engage inactive users. Of course, we are happy to assist you in developing a thoughtful push notifications strategy. Besides, we provide ideas, best practices and pre-made templates to give you a quick head-start with our platform. You can get started with tchop for free and explore the platform.