When to Use Push vs. Email for Re-Engagement Campaigns

Choose the best channel

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Dear reader: This blog post is vintage Appboy. We invite you to enjoy the wisdom of our former selves—and then for more information, check out our new Cross-Channel Engagement Difference Report.

Early and consistent app engagement is essential for long-term customer retention, and re-engagement strategies can help make that a reality. Sometimes people need a little nudge—or a big nudge—to help them understand or remember the value your company can offer. Users who were once interested and active can especially be encouraged to explore benefits or advanced features to restart their trend.

While your app’s value proposition and content should always be appealing enough to keep people coming back for more, all sorts of events can lead people to disengage. Maybe they go on vacation or have a big life change and fall out of their mobile habits. Different forms of active and passive disengagement can be a sign that customers could use encouragement to stay active.

When to re-engage

Re-engagement strategies are important to help users return to the app at crucial moments, when they begin to lapse. Unfortunately, many apps don’t seek to re-engage until a user is long gone, but ideally, you want to reach them right when engagement begins to wane.

The best re-engagement campaigns entice users to return to the app and become more active at just the right time, when a user begins to lapse, but before they’ve completely checked out or uninstalled your app. How do you know if a user is lapsing? It really depends on your app. Some messaging apps experience heavy daily use (over 4x higher than other types of apps), so one missed day could be a big deal. Others, like travel apps, may see periodic usage as high engagement.

Using data to bring them back

What’s the best approach to boost retention? Re-engagement campaigns are most effective if personalized (the right way) to reflect user information. Special discounts or sales can be built around types of products you know that users prefer. Favorite genres can be referenced in clever campaigns to bring people back.

You’ll want to create several campaigns based on segmented user habits, but pay special attention to power-users, who not only make the biggest difference for engagement, but also are likely to have more user data you can reference. Targeted campaigns for these groups can have the highest payoff.

Once you have a compelling message—highlighting often-missed features or new content you know your user will love—you’ll need to determine the best channel. When engagement is good, you can reach them from within the app but when opens are low, you need a different approach.

So do you choose push or email?

In our experience it all comes down to past engagement and their current level of disengagement. Recently engaged users provide you more options to personalize push notifications, but someone who hasn’t been opening the app or responding to push is more likely to need an email nudge.

re-engagement campaign

A few coordinated strategies can help to create a campaign that meets users where they are to encourage re-engagement. Of course, you hope to get all your users back, but if you focus in particular on keeping your best users, you’ll see the payoff in the long term.

Looking for more tips on engagement? Check out these articles to build your best campaign yet:

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