Revealed: Push Notifications Are the Preferred Messaging Channel for Businesses


The business world is changing at a breakneck speed. Customer expectations from businesses, too, have changed much over the last few years. As such, creating a multichannel communication strategy to connect with customers has become table stakes for businesses. Fortunately, as people spend more time on digital platforms, the opportunities to engage with them across a range of devices have increased. Mobile devices, especially, have grown in importance over the last few years.

But new opportunities bring new challenges. People expect timely, hyper-personalized, and relevant communication from businesses across touchpoints. Communicating with users and attracting, retaining, and converting them require identifying the right channels, having a robust communication strategy, and measuring the right KPIs besides technology and data.

OneSignal’s recent study sheds light on some of the channels most preferred by businesses to send messages to customers, KPIs companies usually track to measure the effectiveness of their messaging strategies and ways they can improve user engagement. The following are the key findings.

See more: Why Mobile Messaging Is Crucial for Customer Engagement: mGage Reveals

Push Notifications Are Ranked the Most Important Channel

Although mobile push notifications are a relatively new channel compared to emails, they have become crucial for sending transactional and marketing messages. Due to its versatility, 61% of respondents ranked the channel as the most critical channel for their business. Emails came second, followed by web push notifications and text messaging.

When it came to reengagement, mobile push notifications again ranked the most popular channel (44.1%), followed by email (17.1%) and web push notifications (16.7%). In-app messaging ranked lower in the list. This could be because retaining and converting app users into paying customers is becoming more expensive despite the low cost-per-install for mobile apps.

Mobile push notifications are also a must-have channel if businesses want to boost customer retention.

The most important channel for businesses over the next couple of years, too, is mobile push notifications, followed by web push notifications and emails. In-app messaging and text messaging rank in the fifth and sixth places, respectively.

Mobile Push Notifications Are Not Enough

While mobile push notifications are important, using multiple channels to communicate with customers can help reach a larger audience, respect their preferences, improve user experience, and boost brand loyalty. It also allows businesses to match their messaging content and context to the appropriate channel. About 68% of the survey respondents said that having a multichannel communication strategy was extremely or very important to their user experience.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each channel helps businesses select the right channel for messaging. For example, according to a separate study by OneSignalOpens a new window , in-app messages have higher click-through rates than push notifications.

How do businesses use different channels for their transactional and marketing messages? It was found that most channels were used in a versatile way for both marketing and transactional messages. That said, web push notifications were used more often for marketing messages, while SMS/text messaging was more used for transactional messages.

Types of messages sent by channel

Source: OneSignal surveyOpens a new window

Notifications Using Personalized Content Have High Engagement Rates

With more consumers expecting personalization, investing in it is paramount to compete and thrive. It was found that notifications that used personalized content had a 259% higher engagement rate than those that did not. Personalization is not limited to content. Segmentation can help personalize a brand’s content to a higher degree as the appropriate message can be directed at the right audience at the right time.

It was found that mobile push notifications had an improvement in average engagement rate by 50%, the highest increase across all channels when segments were used. 

Further, using messaging templates offers various benefits irrespective of the channel businesses use to send out communications. For example, they can save time and resources when creating messages and reduce the margin for error when sending content across different devices. According to the study, notifications that used templates had 17% higher engagement rates than those that did not.

Making Small Changes Can Improve ROI

Companies may forget optimization due to competing priorities. However, making a few small changes can improve returns for the business. 

For example, they should optimize the timing of the message. Content timing can impact the effectiveness of transactional and marketing messages; it can either make it resonate with customers or seem irrelevant. Companies can use engagement triggers to customize the delivery time of messages to the user’s journey, increasing the chances of conversion.

Businesses should also use A/B testing or split testing to measure the effectiveness of different versions of the same message. It was found that A/B testing led to a 15% improvement in message engagement.

Finally, message localization can make the message resonate better with the local audience, improving user experience and engagement rates. The study found that localized notifications had a 28% higher engagement rate than those that did not.

Pre-permission Prompts Improve Opt-in Rates

People worldwide are increasingly wary of unsolicited calls and messages. They are selective about the types of communications they want to receive. When people click “No” to the web browser or mobile permission requests, they are really rejecting irrelevant interruptions and unexplained communications. 

As such, businesses need to earn customer trust before asking for access. Regarding opt-in messages, improving personalization and using pre-permission prompts can improve the chances of building trust. The study found that using pre-permission prompts improved iOS opt-in rates by 50%. Similarly, Android apps that implemented these prompts improved opt-in rates by 15%.

See more: 5 Steps to Integrate the Voice of the Customer (VoC) in Your Messaging

CTR Is the Primary KPI for Measuring Messaging Strategy Effectiveness

When it comes to the most important KPIs businesses use to measure the effectiveness of their messaging strategy, click-through rate (CTR) was the primary KPI used by companies. About 35.8% of respondents used this KPI to measure their messaging strategy’s effectiveness. This was followed by engagement rates (14.4%), impressions/sends (12.6%), and open rates (11.6%). Only about 8% of businesses used conversion rates and customer retention rates each to measure the effectiveness.

KPI to measure messaging strategy effectiveness

Source: OneSignal surveyOpens a new window

Interestingly enough, about 54% of respondents were extremely or very confident that their messaging campaigns positively impacted their business goals.


As seen from the study, push notifications have emerged as one of the most popular channels for user communications due to their benefits. However, it is essential to have an omnichannel communication strategy to improve user experience and engagement rates. Simultaneously, optimizing communications can significantly improve ROI. Similarly, when measuring KPIs, it is necessary to look beyond CTRs to gain a complete picture of the messaging strategy’s effectiveness in converting potential customers.

Understanding what users expect when it comes to messaging and tailoring communications accordingly as well as identifying the appropriate channels to use and KPIs to measure, can take customer conversion, loyalty, and ROI to the next level.

How are you evolving your communication strategy with changing customer expectations? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .


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