Say No To God Damned Spam Inside Your Own App!

Staicy, SEM manager - May 25, 2015
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Spam letters

Oh, what a wonderful place a world without any spam would be. Both marketers and users could have lived in a friendlier environment and their relationship could be beneficial to all parties. And yet spam exists. What do people do to spam mail? They trash it. What do they do to ad letters from the mailbox? They toss it away! What do they do to web spam and popups and all those flashing and blinking windows? People install adblockers. Literally everybody hates spam and if your in-app push notifications are spam they will be blocked or will even lead to your app being deleted. Are you in for such an outcome?

What can be considered Spam?

Basically, any message with no actual value that steals time from people is spam. If push notifications of your app are considered they will qualify as spam if:

  • They are disruptive
  • Unsolicited
  • The message is poorly targeted and irrelevant
  • Notifications come in a bad time

In simple words, any poorly designed message that is received by a wrong person and with poor timing is spam. Considering it costs $200 million annually to American businesses and consumers why is it still even used? Because it works? No! It’s used because marketers are not dedicating enough effort due multiple reasons from basic lack of appropriate data about app users and up to simple laziness.

So, to get things clear, what should never be done to in-app push notifications?

Making the long story short, here is a list of really common mistakes that transform a great idea like push notifications into ugly looking irritation-causing spam:

  • Product name is not enough; you have to provide more details to people. If you have some weekly sale activities, do highlight why they are of any value to your user, etc.
  • Not having a decent call to action means you do not know what you expect people to do with the received notification. If you are not sure on this one, considering you are the one sending this message, how can you expect your users to know what actions to take instead of merely getting irritated?
  • Your language is your everything. There are words that literally illuminate your awesomeness, and there is just meaning plane text. Which approach would work better? Any thoughts?
  • Speaking of the devil, don’t go too far as lots of symbols will simply ensure most of your message is hidden. This is awfully terrible.
  • And one more language trick – do not sound like a robot, don’t be too official.
  • Sending same old message to everybody is a terrible idea. Know what people want from your app and deliver them with value. If somebody just bought a pair of male jeans from your e-commerce app – advise him with an amazing belt and not one more pair of pants or a toothbrush.
  • Use images and typographical elements when you have more than one sentence to say.
  • Do not refer to yourself and/or your app in third person.
  • Do not repeat yourselves over and over again, especially in a short period of time.

It’s not that hard, really. Simply put yourself in your user’s shoes. Try going through the message before sending it. Would you appreciate receiving the push notification you have just designed?

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