Activity Notifications

Activity notifications differ from lifecycle campaigns in that they are usually driven by events that occur outside of the user’s personal experience with the app: either things happening in the real world, or in the broader network that the app connects with.  Generated programmatically, usually in real-time and often personalized specifically for each user, activity notifications should inform users of things that are relevant and interesting to the user, based on preferences they have expressed, either implicitly through their past behavior or explicitly by opting to be notified about certain events, content or topics.

Good candidates for activity notifications include:

  • Social signals such as friends joining or things friends/contacts are doing on the platform
    • e.g. “John just posted a new photo”, “Alice achieved a new high score of 505433”
  • Social Interactions with the user or their content
    • e.g. “John commented on your post”, “Alice’s army just attacked your village!”
  • Things that happen in the real world of relevance to the user:
    • e.g. “Leave now to arrive at Town Hall for your 5pm appointment”, “Heavy traffic on the M69 motorway”
  • Content relevant to the user’s tastes or preferences:
    • e.g. “New track uploaded to the ‘techno’ group”
  • Time-delayed events:
    • e.g. “The video you uploaded has been approved and is ready to view”

Note that notifications are not just push notifications; while push is a great channel for delivering real-time notifications to users when they are not in the app, they are not the only effective channel and it’s also not possible to reach all users since many users do not enable push notifications.  Other channels suitable for delivering real-time activity notifications include email, SMS, desktop browser notifications and in-app pop-ups.  The effectiveness of notifications to drive subsequent engagement and retention can be amplified by implementing a bespoke in-app notifications feed or inbox features within the app itself, which stores all notifications in a more permanent form for later browsing and does not rely on the OS notifications tray, in which an app’s notifications compete with those of other apps installed on the device.

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