CTR is one of the key indicators of push notifications effectiveness, and its improvement is challenge #1 for many marketers.

The Pushwoosh team has collected the clients' most burning questions and come up with answers to them.

Keep reading to learn:

  • Two formulas for calculating CTR;
  • Six factors that influence your push notifications’ click-through-rates;
  • Average CTRs across the industries;
  • Six proven methods that can improve your CTRs;
  • How to A/B test your push notifications and multichannel communications to maximize their efficiency.

How to calculate push notifications CTR

Push notification providers use either of two formulas to calculate their clients’ CTR:

How to calculate push notifications CTR

One way to calculate push notifications CTR is to divide the number of users who opened a single push by the number of those who were sent the push.

Another formula shows the share of those who opened a push relative to the number of those who were delivered the push.

Obviously, fewer pushes tend to be delivered. So if you use the second formula, the resulting CTR will be higher.

Be aware of the different methods that push notification providers use.
If you wish to compare effectiveness of sending pushes via different platforms, make sure they calculate CTR in the same way.

FAQ on push notifications CTR

Here are the three most popular questions that Pushwoosh users ask on CTR:

- Is it okay that my mobile push notifications CTR is higher than that on the web?
- Yes. In most cases, mobile push notifications show higher click-through-rates.

The reason is, browsers are placing more and more restrictions on web push notifications, which restricts their deliverability.

Mobile pushes and mobile apps in general have a higher potential in terms of communication. So we recommend our clients leverage mobile platforms to improve their marketing efficiency.

- Is it okay to have more opt-in subscribers on Android than on iOS?
- Absolutely. The thing is, you don’t have to ask permission to send notifications to your Android users.

By contrast, you have to send an opt-in request to your iOS users.

As a result, your opt-in rate will normally be lower on iOS than on Android.

- What’s the average CTR for companies in my industry?

That’s a complex question as CTR depends on five more aspects apart from the industry. Let’s dwell on all the factors:

Six factors that influence your push notifications CTR

Your push notifications CTR depends on:

  • your industry;
  • the time and day of the week when a push is sent;
  • your platform;
  • average engagement in your app;
  • the segment you’re sending a push to;
  • the content you’re delivering in a notification.
Six factors that influence your push notifications CTR

Note that these factors are interconnected:

◐ E-commerce apps typically have higher CTR than media & publishing apps. However, it’s mostly due to the fact that they use more advanced segmentation. Each user segment receives more personalized content and clicks on it more willingly.

In addition, e-commerce apps are more focused on growing metrics like GMV and revenue, so they plan their push notifications campaigns in advance. Media apps don’t have such an opportunity; their goal is to deliver news as soon as it hits the headlines. Media apps can choose neither a day nor an hour to send their pushes, especially as they need to deliver 20–30 notifications daily.

There is also an interconnection between platforms and segments. Android has a much smaller coverage in the USA than in Europe. However, opt-in rates and CTRs on Android are higher than those on iOS. Keep in mind these particularities when analyzing your push notification campaign performance in different regions.

Industry benchmarks: average push notifications CTR

Here are the average push notifications click-through-rates across the industries.

The lowest average CTR: media & publishing, retail, and travel apps’ pushes

In our experience, media and publishing apps are more focused on producing articles rather than presenting and distributing them with particular messages.

Breaking news that target a broad audience typically get higher CTRs than some niche updates sent to the same unsegmented user base.

How can media apps improve their push notifications CTRs?

  • Work on their push titles and subtitles;
  • Use more detailed audience segmentation;
  • Target their notifications based on user preferences and content consumption history.

These improvements can increase push notifications CTR by 40% and even 50%, as Pushwoosh clients’ experience shows.

The highest CTRs: health & fitness, e-commerce, utilities, education, and entertainment apps’ pushes

How do leading apps achieve high push notifications CTRs? They apply:

  • Segmentation: demographic- and behavior-based.

Successful push notification senders analyze users’ past activity and track the events they fire in the app in real time.

  • Profound personalization.

Apps with high push notification CTRs use dynamic content to personalize every element of their pushes: titles, subtitles, icons, sounds, send time, and root params (accessible from the platform-specific push settings).

Personalize these push notification elements to increase your CTR

6 tried-and-true ways to get higher push notifications CTR

Here are the most effective hacks that can improve CTR of your pushes:

  1. Emojis
  2. Dynamic content
  3. Custom sound
  4. Segmentation
  5. Timing and frequency
  6. A/B testing

1. Emojis: boost your pushes CTR by up to 40%

We can share a recent case of a Pushwoosh client, a media app. They came with a typical problem for their industry, as you can judge by the benchmarks above: they wished to improve their push notifications CTR.

We suggested they conduct an A/B test: add emojis to their pushes’ subtitles and send such augmented notifications to a part of their subscribers. Another segment would receive their messages without emojis.

The experiment lasted three days, and it showed 15% higher CTR for the push notifications with emojis.

Our e-commerce clients gain even better results from using emojis. They bring up to 40% increase in push notifications CTR.

Use emojis to increase your push notifications CTR
Ideas: Use an emoji as a punctuation mark; Place emojis before or after a sentence; Replace a word with an emoji.

2. Dynamic content

Modify your push notification content with corresponding Tag values collected from users.

You can address your customers by their names and refer to any of his or her preferences in the message. Set Tags based on user behavior, and you will send relevant communications to every single user, how cool is that?

Personalize your push notifications with dynamic content to improve CTR
Ideas: Media apps can notify readers of the new content on their chosen topics; Restaurants can facilitate orders for their regulars; E-commerces can re-engage their less active customers with relevant product suggestions.

3. Custom sound

Add a custom sound to your push notifications. Users will hear it when they receive a push on their device.

A sports app can shout of a goal, and an entertainment/streaming app can play a tune from their users’ favorite movies.

In fact, any unusual sound can drive extra user attention to your notifications.

Custom sound for a push notification can boost its CTR
Idea: Notify users with a relevant custom sound. Attract extra attention and increase your CTR.

4. Segmentation

The more targeted your messages are, the higher CTR you’ll get.

Define the main audience segments for your application and create different messages for each of them. Different people treat the same news differently. You may create them with the help of Tags and Filters.

Segmentation with tags and filters can increase your push notifications CTR
1. Choose a condition you want to use as a Tag. You can add several conditions if you will. 2–3. Specify the conditions. In our example, we chose “Last application open”, so we set a specific time period when this event was supposed to take place. 4. Use the Tags when sending your communications.

5. Timing and frequency

  • What is the best time to send push notifications if you want to achieve higher CTRs?

Based on Pushwoosh’s aggregated statistics, it’s Tuesday, between 6–8 p.m. users’ local time.

  • How many push notifications should an app send to maximize their CTR?

The perfect frequency of push notifications varies from industry to industry. Ideally, you should dive into your app statistics to determine the right frequency.

In our experience,

🛒 E-commerce apps send 12 pushes per week, targeting their active users or those who haven’t opened the app for the last 7 days.

This number doesn’t include transactional messages (such as order status updates) — only promotional pushes.

🏋️  Fitness apps send even fewer notifications: 10 pushes per week.

▶️ As for media apps, their usual frequency varies. Some of the Pushwoosh clients send 30 notifications per day and receive 3–4% CTRs. Others deliver 30 pushes per week and get comparable CTRs.

So for publishers, the perfect frequency of push notifications depends on the type of media, their audience, and segmentation and personalization options they use.

📷 Subscription-based or product apps tend to send 10 pushes per week.

🎮 Gaming apps distribute 30 notifications during the first seven days after the app installment. This is how they onboard players to the game, and it works perfectly for their users.

6. A/B testing

In Pushwoosh, we see A/B testing as a go-to method for growing any marketing metric, including push notifications CTR.

You can A/B test any element of your push and every condition of your marketing communication: audience segments, send time, geo, language used in the copy, and now even entire push notification sequences.

Let’s dwell on how you can A/B test your pushes and get higher CTRs.

How to achieve maximum push notifications CTR with A/B testing

Here is the general framework for A/B testing your pushes:

General framework for A/B testing push notifications to increase their CTR

There are two ways to run A/B tests in order to maximize your push notifications click-through-rates:

A/B test your one-time push notifications

For a simple experiment,

  1. Go to the Pushwoosh Control Panel
  2. Click the One-Time Push module.
  3. Press the “Start A/B Test” button.
  4. Set different content for each of your groups. In our example, we’re testing two messages against each other, but you can set up to four groups.

We’re using the same preset for both pushes, but we’ve only applied personalization to one of them.

Note that you can send your A/B pushes to specific segments instead of your entire user base. This way, you can stay reassured that A/B testing won’t affect your communication with all the customers.

  1. Send your notifications to the audience.
  2. Go to the Message History and check results.
  3. Which push notification has the highest CTR? Continue using this push in your next campaigns and triggered communications.
How to A/B test one-time push notifications to increase their CTR

But what if you want to set a more complex logic and test multiple criteria in your push notifications sequence?

For this purpose, there is an A/B testing feature in Pushwoosh Customer Journey Builder.

A/B test multistage push notification scenarios

Pushwoosh Customer Journey Builder is a tool that automates marketing communication workflows. You might have made use of it in your triggered and broadcast messaging, user onboarding flows, and engagement campaigns.

Now you can do A/B testing in Pushwoosh Customer Journey Builder too!

Streamline simple experiments and see the results right in the tool

Doing simple A/B tests is even easier in such a visual tool as Customer Journey Builder.

A/B testing to increase push notifications CTR

Statistics are delivered directly to the interface. This is very convenient for quick analysis and saves you another extra minute.

A/B test your event-triggered push notifications

You can conduct an experiment within a particular segment.

Say, you have an e-commerce app. Set a Product Add event as a starting point of your communication journey and check what type of content works best for this type of customers.

A/B test event-triggered communications to increase push notifications CTR

Apply more complex segmentation to your A/B testing

Start with a preset audience segment — in the example, it’s called “For A/B Testing”. Divide the audience into two parts: one will receive your communications straightaway, another one will have to trigger an event (Checkout Success) to get the same notification. If they don’t fire the event, they will see a different type of message.

Will segmentation improve your results? That’s the question you want to answer with A/B testing.

A/B testing by segments to increase push notifications CTR

Compare push notifications CTR at different times of the day

When is your audience more open to communication?

Learn it with the Wait Until feature. Let a part of your users receive notifications in the morning (10 a.m. in our example) and another part — in the evening (8 p.m.).

Will CTRs differ?

Customer Journey Builder will provide clear visibility on how your messages perform under various conditions.

A/B test send time to increase push notifications CTR

Run a controlled experiment on a smaller part of your audience

Have you come up with an idea that appears a bit risky?

Split the audience unequally: test a new set of messages on just 5% of your audience — or whatever number you feel like. Compare CTR in this smaller group to that in the rest of your user base.

Well, is it worth scaling your idea to the entire audience?

A/B test your push notification idea on a smaller segment to increase CTR

Test several communication channels against one

Cross-channel vs. single-channel: which approach works best for your audience?

A/B test your hypothesis inside your Customer Journey. Let one part of the audience receive push notifications and send an in-app message to another part of your users first. Then, you will follow them up with a push. Will it be more effective for increasing your notifications CTR?

A/B test multiple channels to increase push notifications CTR

Hold multistage A/B tests during your Customer Journey

You can break down your audience into A/B groups several times.

For example, you can split that larger group (95% of users in our example) and test different content in your pushes.

If you wish to get more insights on your user behavior, you can set some extra event-triggered parameters and divide your subscribers into groups again, and again, and again.

A/B testing will be done at each step, meaning you will get the results at every branch of your journey and every criterium tested.

This way, you will be able to adapt your communication strategy to your user preferences and improve your CTRs.

Run multistage A/B tests to increase push notifications CTR

If you have any questions on A/B testing in Customer Journey Builder, feel free to contact us.

Our team will be happy to help you configure your journey and set the parameters you can A/B test.

Any ideas on how we can improve the tool? We’ll be glad to hear your feedback too!