After much discussion about push notifications and their good and bad kinds, it’s high time we focused our lenses on the ROI of these notifications that you are sending to your customers. Before that, give a moment to revisit the metrics of different marketing channels, like email, social media, and display ads.

The Metrics Tracked by Most Marketers

For email marketing – click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, list growth rate, email sharing/forwarding rate, total new leads generated, open rate, unsubscribe rate, marked as spam

For social media – brand search volume, lead growth, brand sentiment, inbound links, exit rate, time on site, audience growth rate, average engagement rate

For display advertising – reach, frequency, impressions, conversion rate, clicks, click-through rate, cost per action, cost per click, bounce rate, engaged visit rate, revenue, revenue per visit

Now the question is, what does the mention of all these metrics do in a post on push notifications? And the answer is, that the new marketing channel, push notification, lands at the confluence of all the above three marketing channels.

The psyche behind push notifications

So, the metrics that apply to these channels may apply to push notifications too. According to Jay Baer, Marketing speaker & coach, content marketing metrics fall into four main categories:

Below, I have listed all those that can be used in context of push notifications:


Consumption metrics: click-through rate, average engagement rate, open rate, marked as spam, exit rate, time on app/site, engaged visit rate

Sharing metrics: forwarding/sharing rate of referral links

Lead-gen metrics: total new leads generated, lead growth rate, cost per action, cost per click, impressions, reach, frequency

Sales metrics: number of sales, total sales revenue, sales growth rate, sales conversion rate, revenue per visit, re-engagement

Now, if you go about tracking and measuring all these metrics, then you’d be left crumbled under tons of data with uncountable correlations, some of which may not even mean anything valuable at all.

As Kevin Lee from Buffer says, “The end goal is action, not eyeballs.” And push notifications are the ultimate way of driving the user into taking some action – which may either be in your favor, or it won’t, but it would still be an action. Therefore, we should only focus on metrics that matter the most and redirect our attention from those that don’t matter significantly.

Notifications Metrics That Don’t Matter

  1. The number of notifications sent:

Don’t go swelling up with pride because of the volume of notifications you send. You are an ecommerce, not a social media website. For you, it will not work to scream the loudest. On the contrary, it will also not work if you ‘batch and blast’ push notifications and stay silent. In your case, what will work is sending the right (contextually relevant) push notifications to a user and personalizing his app purchase journey.

  1. Frequency of notifications sent:

If yours had been a sports app, then frequent notifications would have been warmly embraced by the users, but the truth is it’s not. You have an ecommerce shopping app, and 1-2 pushes a day are sufficient for days of no sale. In fact, for days when there are actually no good offers, no announcements to be made, you should just skip the push. Reserve this frequency for days when you really need high traffic on your website. Following this process would get your pushes more attention, and that is why, keeping a constant check on the frequency of notifications sent should not be in your list of top metrics to measure.

  1. Notification after which the provision was disabled:

Studying the text of the notification that got your app’s notifications disabled is no intelligence. It is like calling the person reporting the crime a murderer. Now, I’m not denying that the notification couldn’t be the culprit, but the chances of it being the culprit are very lean. After all, there are many other factors that govern this action. It could be that your notifications are too frequent, annoying, or may be irrelevant.

Notifications Metrics That Actually Matter

  1. Open rate & click-through rate:

Since, the goal of every notification is to drive the user to take some form of action, he/she will either choose to go into the app and view what the notification tried to convey or ignore it completely. Either way, you can know whether the user took a positive action (opened) because of your notification or not. If he did, you can understand what kind of message at what day of week and what time of the day makes him tick.

  1. The number of notifications delivered:

Now, why is measuring this important and not measuring the number or frequency of notifications sent? This is because the messages that you send may not get delivered to the user due to reasons like network issues or the user disabling your notifications. In that case, the number of notifications delivered becomes an important metric to track: it will tell you about the number of active users of your app, a data that you can use to segregate your users who are better suited for text messages.

  1. App launch via push notification:

Tracking this metric on a notification basis would not only give you information about who your active users are but will also help you identify the peak hours of engagement and relevance of the messages sent. You can check what kind of messages are tempting users the most to launch the app and check out the offer(s).

Other important metrics that you must track include:

  1. Time on app after a certain notification: To understand the relevance of the offer and engagement brought by it.
  2. Number of sales & total sales revenue: To learn the effectiveness of any campaign.
  3. Delivery time with respect to re-engagement: Delivery time of push notifications can influence engagement rates by as much as 200%.

To make smart decisions, you need smart metrics and having smart metrics means sifting through a bag with all the metrics and then sieving out those that can actually help to improve your bottom line. Additionally, you need to be sure of such trade-offs, for example: What if I replace 10% growth in revenue by 2% growth in uninstalls? Is this trade-off worth it?

For every campaign, your success defining metrics could be different. All you need is a strong brainstorming session and an eye to pick the right metrics for every particular campaign. You can also download the ultimate guide to ace your mobile app engagement and revenue.

Starting with the right data is the only way to achieve the right ROI.

This article was originally published in TargetingMantra.