Push Notifications Doubled on Thanksgiving

Leading retailers got pushy this Thanksgiving. In a fast-changing digital environment where marketers have become accustomed to overnight revolutions in tools and techniques, this observation from Urban Airship should give even the most jaded digital media jock pause: Retailers doubled the amount of push notifications they sent out to customers this year to nearly 25 million.

“There are a couple of factors at play here,” observes Bill Schneider, director of product marketing at Urban Airship, a mobile marketing platform provider. “Smartphones are bigger, and that makes the shopping experience on them better. Store trips are down, but trips are higher in value because consumers are coming in with shopping lists they researched beforehand.”

Indeed, Urban Airship’s analysis of the mobile apps of 150 leading retailers over the first big weekend of the holiday shopping season found that engagement was highest the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Nineteen percent of app users engaged that day as compared to around 15% on Thanksgiving Day and 11% on Black Friday.

Retailers’ big push generated 41% incremental app opens this Thanksgiving versus last year, and engagement rates jumped 30% on Black Friday.

Retailers played it cool with push messages, in some cases just wishing people happy holidays and following up with deals. Abercrombie texted customers an offer for VIP status, and replies led to a landing page with an offer that could be redeemed in-store.

“The push messages were more focused on brand experience, with messages that weren’t tied to an offer,” Schneider says. “They were driving people into stores, where people became more engaged and spend more money.”

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