Mobile push impressions in India – the opportunity ahead

Push notifications are a great way to engage app users, which is why marketers are interested in implementing push notifications in their strategies.

A push notification is a message that pops up on a mobile device. App developers can send a push message at any time to customers who have the app downloaded on their device. Users do not need to be active in the app to receive the push message, making this channel very attractive to marketers. Moreover, rich-text push notifications can be an interactive way of engaging with customers – and these are now supported on both Android and iOS (10 and above) devices.

Why mobile push matters in India

In 2019, India will have about 374 million smartphone users – a massive 13.8% of the world market. More and more people are using their smartphones to download apps, giving marketers enormous opportunities for finding new customers and gaining their loyalty. This prospect may seem overwhelming, and comes with a set of challenges that keep marketers and technologists on their toes.

Ever-changing technology

With its release of Android Oreo, Google introduced notification channels. These are a new way to organise and manage push notifications. They allow apps to group their notifications into categories and determine how a given notification will display to a user with suggested display settings (vibrate, sound etc). Notification channels also offer greater flexibility to customers, allowing them to adjust preferences so they get the messages they want when they want them.

These kinds of changes introduce rigour to marketers and mobile teams, requiring changes in technology and strategy to get things right.

User permissions

Adobe India’s product management and engineering teams recently ran a study with multiple Indian enterprise customers to test the effectiveness of mobile push notifications and campaign impressions.

The internal research found that on average 60% of local Android users in India allow push notifications to reach their mobile phones, in comparison with 45% of local iOS users.

This is a huge drop in the reachability of Mobile Push messages to the app download base caused by restricted permissions from the end user. Marketers should therefore strategise to increase the permission from users through incentives and offers.

Chinese OEM handsets

This is the biggest factor behind low delivery rates of mobile push notifications in India. Battery-optimisation features in both standard Android and custom versions of Android used by some Chinese manufacturers can shut off apps and their services, preventing them from receiving notifications.

Here is a snapshot of delivery statistics from Adobe Campaign with the app active/inactive on these Chinese devices.

Note: This is a sample study and the results not absolute in nature. Devices were in full network zone when these tests were carried out.

Low network connectivity

This is a common problem in India, where mobile internet data has low connectivity in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Apps are mostly downloaded in a wi-fi enabled area; then users are likely to take the device into zones with little mobile internet connectivity. Push notifications are subject to timeframes of one-to-three days (known as delivery lifetime). The maximum time for which Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) tries to deliver is 28 days, after which the message is invalid.

If a device is in doze mode, FCM will hold on to normal-priority messages and deliver high-priority messages only.

Set up your strategy

The delivery rate of push notifications is very much dependent on how recently the recipient used the app. The table below shows push message delivery rates in Android (impressions) from Adobe Campaign, depending on the type of campaign.

Depending on the marketing strategy, campaigns can be developed through which higher delivery rates can be achieved. If the customer is inactive on the app for a prolonged period, marketers should try alternative channels such as SMS and email from Adobe Campaign to reactivate the customer (that is, inspire the customer to launch the app).

Adobe’s thinking

Adobe is aware of the challenges marketers face around the deliverability of push messages and the engineering team is looking at multiple possibilities of improving delivery rates by handling certain activities through the software development kit.

Keep a look out for updates as we explore alternative channels such as App Inbox and Local Notification to give marketers more flexibility in engaging customers with their brands.