Editor’s note: this is a guest post from David Xicota, former Co-Founder of Gamedonia, and current Studio Director of GSN Games. You can reach him on Twitter @davidxicota

So, What’s the Right Way to Send Push Notifications?

Sending messages via push has become a business standard in mobile games. “Hey! Your pets miss you.” To which I reply: “I don’t really care, don’t distract me with this messages again!” *push notifications=switched off*

This kind of messaging can be annoying most of the time, but it doesn’t have to be like this. There are proper ways to send the kind of messages players are craving for. Now, do you know how to do it the right way? It’s way easier than you probably think. The techniques I’ll share are based on common sense.

Ultimately, what you have to be able to do is answer a simple question. Will this push notification be welcomed by the player? There are several things you have to keep in mind when you send messages to your players, who are increasingly more difficult to acquire, if you want them to become loyal followers of your games.

The 7 Push Notifications Best Practices

1- Good Push Must be Adaptable

A message telling you that the “Air defense upgraded to level 3” might be not a pleasant way to wake you up in the middle of the night. So don’t do it. Whenever you can, give the player the ability to tell you if they want to receive push messages, and if they do, give them the power to easily control when the messages are delivered.


2- Good Push Matches your Needs

Send your players notifications that carry value for the player (such as: “Chief, our shield is about to run out!”), to give them the heads up in case they want to take action to prepare for an enemy attack. Not every player wants the same message, so you should make sure that they are contextual and relevant – not just what you want to say.

3- Good Push Customizes the Experience

Not every kind of message carries the same value to all players. Some gamers only care about certain types of push notifications. Why am I being pushed that “Your pet misses you” message, anyway? However, I might just be interested in notifications whenever my “pet needs to be fed”.

Give players a preference center to customize your content, and they will love you for it. Let them tell you what they want, how much of it they want, and when they want to get it. It can build a stronger sense of loyalty.


4- Good Push is Reliable

Ever received messages with typos or filled with unrelated content? It’s unprofessional and leaves a bad image. Marketers need hands-on visual tools to finesse push message content and preview the messages across devices.

? For more time-saving hacks, we’ve put together this of: The Best Game Developer Tools

Consistent communications over time is a key element in building a strong brand. Marketers traditionally go to great lengths to ensure consistency in voice, tone and appearance.


5- Good Push Conveys Valuable Messages

What good is it for you if you send messages that are received by a stone cold reaction? If this is the case, it means you’re not sending the right push content for your players. Conversely, has a “new character been unlocked” that she’s been anticipating for a long time?

? For more information about in-game messaging, check out this post: Monetization Tips for Mobile Games

Increasingly, players expect an interesting payoff when they engage from a push message. The goal is for players to look forward to your push communications so they welcome them, and respond to them by engaging in your game. Upon opening a message, the player should be transported into an environment that is directly related to the content of the notification.


6- Good Push Learns how to Serve Better

After sending the nth notification about “reaping your crops” and the player not taking any action, you should probably conclude that player sees no value in them. Look for other opportunities. Is he returning to the game every time “the pickup truck arrives to the farm”?

Every time a push message is sent out the obvious question should be: Was it effective? Did the customer respond to it? Good Push requires that player responses are monitored and analyzed in order to finely tune their successful engagement.

  • How many game opens occurred?
  • How much time was spent in the game?
  • Which messages caused immediate game opens?
  • Which messages had a delay before interaction?


7- Good Push Accounts for Situation

When you deliver good push, the player is more likely to share his location with you. This may prove very useful in deciding when to send messages. Every player has a particular play pattern. Some might play while commuting, others during lunch breaks at work, or while at home for a couple hours after dinner.

Good push should be smart enough to adapt to your players current situation, including their ever-changing locations. With a change in location comes a change in context, and an opportunity to deliver something fresh and engaging through push messaging (if everything else is fully considered).


With great power comes a great responsibility

Being able to whisper directly into the player’s ear is an insanely powerful tool. With good push messages, you can be part of their lives. However, unwelcomed push will be received with hostility. Angering or upsetting players makes your relationship fade away and hurts your long-term success. When you find the sweet spot for good messaging, players will instead see push as game added value.


In closing

It can’t be denied that push messaging conveys the best opportunity for mobile game developers to engage with players, and keep them coming back for more entertainment.

The goal for good messaging is to provide more value that will result in an augmentation of the gaming experience. Push messaging must be an integral part of the game development, not implemented as an afterthought. Use it wisely!

Now, did you find this best practices list useful? If you liked it and have friends that could benefit from reading it, send them a link! I’m sure they’ll appreciate it. You can find the original post on the Gamedonia website here: Best Practices for Push Notifications in Mobile Games

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