5 takeaways from What We Learned Studying Push Notifications for a Year

Kristen Kornbluth (@kornbIuth), a volunteer with the ONA Resource Team, compiled these key moments from the ONA20 session on Oct. 8, 2020. To view a recording of the session, register for on-demand access to the ONA20 archive. Session participants included:

  • Krystal Knapp, Founding Editor, Princeton Community Media,
  • Virginia Arrigucci, Audience Development Manager, The Associated Press
  • Moderator: Randy Picht, Executive Director, University of Missouri – Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

5 key takeaways:

  1. There are two kinds of push notifications: browser-based and app-based. Push notifications are easy to implement and usually free or cheap to set up. Plus, your CMS may already have pushes built in.
  2. Best practices for getting readers to subscribe to pushes:
    1. Timed opt-in (ex: after third visit to site)
    2. Customized double opt-in
    3. Thank you message
    4. Provide readers with an FAQ page
    5. Ask properly! You only have one chance to ask (unless readers clears their cookies)
  3. Make sure you push info that is timely, actionable and relevant to the reader — use segmentation to achieve this.
  4. Make sure you adjust your push strategy to meet the moment. Periods of intense interest, like hurricanes, election night, coronavirus, etc., may cause an increase in app downloads — people are looking for more info, and you can send more alerts than you normally would.
  5. Make sure you set up guidelines. Every reporter will think their story is worth pushing, so you’ll need to have rules to make sure you don’t push too often and annoy the audience.

Memorable/tweetable quotes:

  • “Push notifications outperform social media channels.” —Krystal Knapp
  • “Clicks are one of the only metrics we have to measure push notification performance … but they’re not telling the whole story.” —Virginia Arrigucci
  • “Make sure you adjust your push strategy to meet the moment.“ —Virginia Arrigucci