Four tips to help you send good notifications in games

2 min reading
UX / 27 November 2015
Four tips to help you send good notifications in games
Four tips to help you send good notifications in games

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1. Requesting permission to receive notifications

The industry standard is to ask for permissions immediately after the application is downloaded. This is not the case with games. Waiting until the user understands the benefits of receiving notifications ensures greater acceptance ratios compared to the industry standard approach.

A study conducted by DMA in the United Kingdom found that one in two users agree to receive notifications from an application that they have just downloaded. This ratio can be improved if users understand the role that notifications have to play in the game.

2. Content

An application's content must be its raison d'etre. Messages need to be consistent and anticipate user requirements once they have received the same. Deep links are a must at this stage of digital maturity among users.

Humanizing messages is also very important.  Robotic or impersonal notices simply drive users away from an application. Some ingenuity is required to get users involved, making popular or seasonal references that are appropriate for the time of year.

3. Frequency and timing

Ideally games should send users a maximum of one message per day. The study identified users' five favorite means of receiving notifications. Games were not amongst them. And if you don't have much to say, avoid sending the same notification repeatedly in a short space of time. Bothering users with superfluous notifications can easily drive them away.

Incentivizing a user's interest when they haven't opened your game for some time is a good way of reviving activity for your application. Adding a reward into the equation is likely to get results.

4. User segmentation

No two users are exactly the same. Making smart use of the metrics that they generate, and not simply based on what they open or download via the app, can be highly effective.

For example, a rewards system can be established based on peak usage times for the application, which can significantly boost user flows. Any data analysis that allows you to group users via behavioral patterns in your game is a good opportunity to incentivize use of your application.

If your application is multiplatform, always bear this in mind. You can (and must) read the functional and good practice guidelines provided by application distribution platforms. Interaction with notifications in iOS differs from Android devices. In iOS, swiping a notification will open the content that it advertises, while in Android the same action will completely discard the same.

Furthermore, while iOS notification boxes can fit 120 characters, in Android notifications should ideally contain between 60 and 90 characters. Both Apple and Google provide all kinds of useful information for developers to help them work with iOS and Android.

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