Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

The smartphone is the most transformative device in our media lifetimes. Today, listeners and viewers have continued access to all forms of content, while eating, working, driving, and yes, sleeping. But the smartphone can do more than simply make content available to audiences – push messages can activate the audience by alerting them to breaking news, contests, guests, or other events happening at that moment and move the audience immediately to your station. In other words, push notifications are a power tool and can make a huge impact on your station’s success.

Push notifications are brief messages or alerts that look like text messages that are sent to the user’s lock-screen notification panel through your station’s mobile app. Push notifications are a great marketing tool that enhances your mobile app because it allows you to engage with your users at any time during their day.

Here are four ways to use push to improve your relationship with your audience and increase listening and viewing:

  1. Breaking news alerts

Use push messages to notify your users about breaking news, sports, or severe weather alerts. Keep the messages short and to the point, and link them through to the appropriate place on your website for more information.

  1. Program reminders

Push notifications can let your audience know about special or event programming. A key interview or special event can be called out to your audience to drive them to tune in.

  1. Event reminders

Local and station events are perfect uses for push messages. Remind your audience to show up and give them easy access to the details of when and where. Obviously this also has benefits for your advertisers.

  1. Targetability

Push notifications provide the ability to target your message just to those who have expressed interest in a specific topic. Having the ability to target messages creates a significantly better user experience and increases response.

And here are some things to beware of:

  1. Frequency

Push notifications are highly interruptive to the end user – that’s their power – but if you send too many, your messages will lose their urgency and thus, their engagement. And if you abuse your audience’s patience, they will probably block your messages altogether.

  1. Relevance

Make sure your messages are about topics that really matter to the audience. If possible, use different message categories or “topics” to allow your audience to choose what kind of messages they want from you. Nothing turns off a user more quickly than a bunch of messages interrupting them with things that don’t matter.

  1. Advertising

We strongly recommend against sending push messages with specific sponsor messages. You can tag the sponsor at the end of a content-driven message, but if you start sending ads to your audience you’ll get blocked.

Remember that push notifications are a powerful tool, and you need to use them with great care and thought. But if used properly they can provide valuable information to your audience and drive them to your broadcast.

Bob Kernen is the COO of mobile application developer, jacapps. If you want to discuss push notifications or any other matter relating to mobile apps, contact Bob Kernen at Bob@jacapps.com.

The WBA Digital Hotline is a free service from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. If you have any questions relating to digital, social media, mobile, or related topics, contact Paul Jacobs at paul@jacobsmedia.com.

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