3 ways push notifications can boost audience engagement

By Jesse Moeinifar


Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The next time you unlock your mobile phone, take a look at what types of notifications you have on your home screen. I’m guessing that you probably have a mix of alerts from social media, messaging platforms, and your favourite applications.

Ultimately, push notifications help guide us to content and experiences that we find relevant and important in an endless maze of digital information. And, with 58% of people willing to open an app from an alert on their phones, push notifications also offer media companies the chance to bring people back to their digital properties.

Fifty-eight percent of people are willing to open an app from a notification alert.
Fifty-eight percent of people are willing to open an app from a notification alert.

Tim O’Rourke, director of product and strategy at the San Francisco Chronicle, notes that a push alert system is “a weapon against subscriber churn.”

To help your organisation improve user engagement and retention rates, I’ve outlined some useful applications for push notifications in the media industry below.

1. Alerts for breaking news

In any urgent situation, media companies need to deliver critical information and news updates to people instantly, no matter what Web site or app they’re on. Push notifications give organisations the ability to direct people’s attention to a trusted platform and keep them informed with reliable updates. Not only does this process steer people from misinformation on social media, but it also reminds them about the valuable content and experiences a media company may have to offer.

“We can [push alerts] to people and take our content to them rather than relying on them coming to us,” states the San Francisco Chronicle’s director of audience, Jess Shaw.

And once a person opens an alert and is taken to a Web site or app, they can be convinced to come back again later to read more content and interact with visitors.

2. Personalised content recommendations

Push notifications can be leveraged to promote more than just general news. In fact, you can use notification tools to share all types of content with people based on their unique interests.

Consider getting people to opt into their favourite topics and authors or learning about audience preferences through first-party user data. From there, you can give push notifications a personalised touch by serving up relevant, interesting content.

Back in 2020, during the U.S. presidential election period, NBC News saw open rates for push alerts rise by 16% by customising alerts for audiences based on their location. NBC News used these notifications to inform each audience group on how they could submit their election votes. This customised notification strategy helped NBC News achieve three times the standard industry open rate for push alerts.

With so many industry competitors, providing personalised content alerts can give your business the edge it needs to capture the attention of your audience members.

3. Comment replies

Social activities, like posting comments and chatting with like-minded people, are naturally engaging. By giving people the opportunity to socialise on your company’s digital properties, you can build up interest in your brand and encourage users to connect with each other.

Push notifications are able to enhance the engaging nature of your company’s engagement tools by alerting users when there’s been a reply to their comments. Social media companies are already using this strategy on a daily basis to get people in the habit of visiting their platforms. Media companies like yours can adopt this engagement tactic to convince users to rejoin active conversations online.

So, how do we know whether or not people will actually end up clicking on these notifications? According to Viafoura data, customers using Viafoura’s push notifications have experienced open rates of up to 73% and click-through rates of up to 27.6%. This means that people are not only willing to get push notifications in exchange for relevant information and engaging experiences, but these alerts can also revive user interest and activity around a brand.

Now that sounds like a win-win situation for everybody.

About Jesse Moeinifar

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