Over a third of your audience will never use push notifications

4 minute read

Research by the Direct Marketing Association has revealed that 31% of mobile app users had never turned on push notifications, making a third of the mobile audience almost impossible to engage regularly.

This does mean that some 69%, the majority of users, do have them turned on. Losing a third of your audience in this or any other circumstance is nothing to be complacent about.

The problem:

People are opposed to them. In many cases the reason for not having the notifications activated is due to being completely opposed to the idea of them (30%). These people may prove difficult to engage with regularly via mobile, no matter the approach taken.

The solution:

Get to understand your customers to see if this could change but this section of your audience may be reluctant to receive messages from brands in this way permanently.

The problem:

People don’t know what push notifications are. A significant group of those who do not have push notifications turned on simply don’t know what they are or have had any lack of information about what they are (21%). This may mean that the likes of Apple and Android have some work to do to explain the benefits of push notifications at an operating system level but app owners can also help this.

The solution:

Find an on-brand way of communicating the values and benefits to your users. Think about unique rewards you can offer people who visit the app more regularly, something that can be triggered via the push notifications. Think about the language used and lead with the benefits, for example, getting exclusive offers or being the first to know about things. Using plain English rather than technical words would help. Without knowing what a push notification is, people are unlikely to select yes. Other reasons cited included finding it too complicated, another hindrance that can be avoided by using the right language and incentive.

As well as trying to re-capture the attention of the 30% that had never turned on push notifications, there’s also a danger of losing people who had initially agreed to receive contact from you.

According to the search, 78% of those polled said ‘”hey would immediately delete the app or disable the notification’ if they were unhappy with the material they received.”

According to the report, “There’s a fine balance between keeping consumers up to date/engaged and turning them off, along with the push notification.”

With a little creative and strategic thinking, this doesn’t have to happen. The phones will also let you use some of the features native to the phone that turns the push notification into something useful or entertaining to your customer. For example, geo-fenced notifications, such as The Green Bay Packers app, can help notify you when you are near things with offers or services that you like.

In fact, the research revealed some positive points that people like or would like about push notifications. For example, some people said they’d like greater control in personalising the push notifications.


The three preferred types of push notifications are; sales promotions (34%), new products and launches (26%) and location-based offers (26%).