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Push notifications can increase mobile application user retention rates and significantly boost engagement, according to Urban Airship’s Good Push Index study, released in November. The study analyzed 360 of its customers’ apps spanning numerous types, classifying them as “High Push Engagement” (opt-in users representing more than 75% of unique monthly users), “Average Push Engagement” (more than 50%), and “Low Push Engagement” (less than 50%). Retention of opt-in users was markedly higher for those classified as high push engagement.

For example, apps with high push engagement significantly outperformed those with no push engagement for retention rates in each month analyzed: month 1 (68% vs. 39%); month 2 (55% vs. 29%); month 3 (45% vs. 24%); and month 4 (39% vs. 19%). Apps with high push engagement sported a retention rate about 10% points higher than those with low push engagement for the first 3 months, before narrowing to a 5% point gap in month 4. Regardless of the push ranking, those with some level of messaging fared better than those without.

Push Messaging Drives Higher Engagement

The report also finds that users tend to respond well to push notifications. The apps that had high push engagement received almost 5 times as many opens from opt-in users than from those who opted out. The same pattern was evident for apps with average push engagement and low push engagement. In each case, a markedly higher share of opens were attributed to users who had opted in to the messaging as opposed to those who opted out.

About the Data: Urban Airship analyzed its customers’ data to find apps with at least a four-month history of actively using push messaging, including those with at least a 1000 users, at least 1000 pushes sent in the last month and at least 1000 opt-in opens in the last month. Analysis included 360 apps, representing a wide variety of app categories: media, entertainment, finance, music, education, social networking, games, sports, dating, finance, utilities and weather. An algorithm developed with Joy Liuzzo of Wave Collapse was then applied to the sample to determine High, Average and Low rankings.

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