Push notifications are powerful triggers to bring members back to your community. Over-using them can hurt though.
We've been looking into the usage of push notifications across all our communities. Since push notifications are the only medium of communication implemented in our communities at the moment, our goal was to maximise the amount of members having them turned on.
During our work to increase the average push notification opt-in ratio across all communities, we've discovered that push notifications are sometimes over-used or mis-configured. In some cases communities are being negatively impacted by the the number of members opting out of notifications. We have aimed to increase Push notification Opt-in ratio from 64% to 79% on iOS, 93% to 95% on Android and 46% to 53% on Web.
The following issues were highlighted:
- Knowing how your community is performing in terms of push notifications opt-in ratio
- The default notification settings for a new post is negatively affecting the push notification opt-in ratio
- Use the "Notify" button on the Members page of the Console, but don't over use it
- Members weren't aware they had push notifications disabled
1. Knowing how your community is performing in terms of push notifications opt-in ratio
The push notification opt-in ratio represents the proportion of active members in your community that have enabled push notifications for your community. This is based on the device(s) they've used in the last 30 days to access the content for your community.
Traditionally, as a community host, you don't have visibility if your members have push notifications opted-in or opted-out on their device(s); therefore leaving you in the dark. Creating visibility is the first thing we wanted to solve.
On the Analytics dashboard in the Console, you can now see the push notification opt-in ratio across iOS, Android and Web. We are also providing you how your community is performing against the industry benchmark but also against the average across all communities using Disciple. You will be able to judge if you're satisfied with the ratio or not. To help you understand your next actions we will provide you with guides and tips on how to maximise it.
Here is a preview of the new element on your Analytics dashboard:
You can see how your community is performing in contrast with the industry benchmark and against other communities using Disciple. In fact, if you go hover the legend with your mice device you'll see the following overlay showing up. This overlay shows you how your stats performs against the industry and other communities, helping you to take actions if your community is performing poorly against the industry standard.
2. The default notification settings for a new post is negatively affecting the push notification opt-in ratio
When looking at the push notifications opt-in ratio across all communities, we've identified a few communities with a much lower ratio than the average. So we've looked into different settings affecting push notifications and how they are being used.
One setting we found that communities with a low push notification opt-in ratio had in common was the "Notify all members on every post".
This feature was sending a push notification every time anyone in the group was posting. It is a useful feature when:
- turned on in a very small group (<10 members)
- only group admins can post on the group
- there are less than 1-2 post(s) published per day on the group
But most of the time, communities suffering from a lower ratio than average had this setting turned on on larger groups with a high post activity.
On one hand we had hosts enjoying and using this feature but on the other hand, their community was suffering from it. For this reason, we decided to improve this feature and give you more flexibility to customise and decide what's best for your community.
We have replaced this setting with "New posts default notifications setting". This gives you more options. Here is how it looks:
In the list of options, you can now find the following:
I'm not seeing any push notification data, what's happening?
Make sure you're running the latest available version on iOS and Android
What happens now if I had previously "Notify all members on every post" turned on?
Every group which previously had "Notify all members on every post" turned on, will see their setting set to "Push notification + in-app notification". We haven't changed anything, and this setting will function in the same way that "Notify all members on every post" did. We're now just giving you the choice to decide what you think is best for your community.
What happens now if I had previously "Notify all members on every post" turned off?
Every group which previously had "Notify all members on every post" turned off, will see their setting set to "No notification sent". We haven't changed anything here either as it wasn't sending a push notification by default.
What's the benefit of having more options?
Customisation. You can choose what's best for your community and members of each group.
If you use a Folder as the Home page, then you might want new posts to generate an "in-app notification" to make sure that members see it.
If you use the Activity feed as the Home page, you might not want to create an "in-app notification" when publishing a new post. This is due to the Notifications centre (the page that can be found under the bell icon) showing the same content as you can already see on the Activity Feed.
If you have a very small group of members and you believe they don't receive too many push notifications, then you might want to add the "Push notification" setting, but be careful with it, especially if you have more than one group with this setting selected.
When "Push notification" setting is turned on, every member will receive a push notification every time a new post is published in the group by a member. This can be overwhelming for members of your community and will most likely lead to them disabling push notifications.
Our recommendation is to have the default setting set to "No notification sent" for all groups and only let group admins override the setting when they think they're writing an important post that all members need to see and need to receive a push notification for it.
You can always send a push notification later on about a post (or any other content) via the "Notify" button on the Members page, including posts from non-admin group members.
3. Use the "Notify" button on the Members page of the Console, but don't over use it
This is another feature that can be easily be over-used and negatively impact the push notification opt-in ratio in your community. But used wisely, it is a powerful tool.
The "Notify" button on the Members page lets you send a push notification to a singular member, a segment of members or the whole community.
These push notifications can be sent to multiple locations, such as "post". This will help you to send a push notification to a post you've identified as important and want to share with the rest of the community. Even better: this feature lets you personalise the push notification text and segment who you want to send the push notification to thanks to the use of the "Filters" in the search bar of the page.
4. Members weren't aware they had push notifications disabled
Because the retention of community members relies so much on push notifications, we needed to make sure members were turning them on, or aware they had it off.
On Android, Google allows us to turn them on by default without asking people's permissions. However on iOS and on Web, we need to request the permission first. This is the main reason why Android opt-in rates are so high.
For all members that have disabled their push notification, they’re now prompted to enable them. The prompt offers two options: “enable“ or “not now“. If they opt for "enable", they’ll be redirected to the place where they can enable them. If they opt for “not now“, they’ll be reminded 7 days later to enable them.
What about group admins posting on these groups?
These settings are the default settings for all members in the group, including group admins. However a group admin (from the Console) can override the default settings of the group they're posting onto.
Previously, they only had the choice to sending or not send a push notification (and customise the text of it). Now they can override the default settings with more options.
To override push notifications from the iOS and Android apps, the member account must have the privilege to send 'push notifications'. More information can be found on this here.
One more thing...
We successfully reached the goal of increasing the average push notification opt-in ratio across all communities (Push notification Opt-in ratio from 64% to 79% on iOS, 93% to 95% on Android and 46% to 53% on Web), we thought we should focus our effort first on another issue concerning retention: bring people that don't have (and prefer to not have) push notifications enabled back to the community. We will revisit this later this year after collecting more data and shipping other ways than push notification to bring people back to the community such as emails 😃.