Let's talk about the problem with push notifications; they usually catch you at the wrong time. Some of them reach you at the "right" time, but you're just too busy with something right now to deal with them. These notifications will almost certainly get lost. In cases the push was a transactional notification, you probably want to get back to it. But, trying to find it in your phone or mail, buried with hundreds of other notifications from all the apps you use, is quite a challenging task.

What we, as product owners, can do to help?

The solution is an "In-App notification center." We're all seen one and interacted with one probably just a couple of minutes before reading this blog post, or probably found this post because someone tagged us in a post.

Benefits of providing In-App notification center

Let's explore some of the reasons why an in-app notification center is essential for optimal user experience, and sending an email or a push is not enough.

Central hub

The in-app center acts as a central hub to manage all of the messages and notifications the user receives. Many customers even use the in-app center to keep track of things they should address and mark notifications as unread to come back to them later.

The next time the user receives a notification not at the right time, he will know that he can return to the app and find everything he needs in a single place.

Communicate with all of your users

As most of you already know, a growing number of users disables push and mail notifications you send them. Usually, due to a bad notifications experience. Here are some of the top reasons users will disable notifications:

  • Receiving too many notifications
  • Receiving notifications in odd hours
  • Irrelevant notifications
  • Clickbait notifications
  • Reducing stress

When all the push channels of communication are disabled, how can we still communicate with the user? Hint: An in-app notification center.

Actionable interactions

When composing transactional notifications, it's considered a good practice that the notifications your users receive are actionable. Some of the examples for actionable notifications:

  • Friend requests - accept or deny
  • The report is ready - download the report
  • Mention - somebody mentioned a user in a comment/item and required his response.

Providing the user with just enough information and a quick action right from the in-app center will offer great UX and save your users some time going to the relevant subject of the notification and perform it on a dedicated page.

Contextual communication

Users best react to a transactional notification when provided at the right time and state of mind. For example, a user currently working with a project management tool in a specific part of the day will likely to see and engage with notifications happening during the same period. The user probably won't have to perform context switching to deal with it. In other words, you will have much of the user's attention in the time he placed for working with your tool.

Informational notifications

An in-app notification center is a great way to make announcements about new features and product upgrades. Combining this with delivering this type of notifications in context will result in a much higher CTR and boost your conversion rates.

The social element

When speaking about B2B SaaS, most of the tools are operated by multiple users from within the customer's organization. An In-App center is a great way to be a medium of meaningful communication:

  • "Colleague A" assigned you for a task.
  • "Colleague B" mentioned you in a comment.
  • "Specific Change" was made to an item you subscribed to.
  • "Colleague A" shared a link with you, and "Colleague B."

The in-app center helps your users communicate within the app without leaving to a 3rd app to notify them about a change.

Psychological factors

Multiple studies have shown that notifications and the unread counter of notifications act as a psychological trigger. When notifications are well crafted and provide meaningful information, users begin to anticipate new notifications, and as shown in the study, releasing dopamine when new notifications arrive. When keeping the notifications transactional and actionable, users will be more engaged and extract more value from your product.

In many cases, transactional notifications are not at the core of your business. This results in creating down and dirty solutions; sending just an email or a push is usually the first thing you do. But, as you've seen in this article, using just push mechanics can, in many cases, do more harm than good.

BBC sending millions of testing notifications to customers (source)

In Notifire, we try to solve this by building an exceptional end-to-end notifications solution for you to embed in minutes, so you can focus on building your core business features. Notifications are literally all we do. And we are happy to share our thoughts and findings here in this blog.

Let us know your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below. ๐Ÿ‘‡