September 4, 2014, 9:51 AM

Want to rule mobile marketing? Try push notifications

Of the Top 10 e-retailers in the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500, nine use push notifications to market their content to consumers.

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The way to market to mobile users might just be through the push notification—notifications that pop up on a smartphone or tablet when a consumer isn’t actively engaging with the app. For example, if a retailer has a sale that starts at 10 a.m., a notification could pop up at that time on a shopper’s phone whether or not she has the app open.

Nine of the Top 10 e-retailers ranked in the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 Guide use push notifications. That’s the most-used feature among that elite group. 136 of the 500 e-retailers featured in the guide use push notifications. 166 use high definition images, which was the most-used features. Among the Top 10, six use HD images. Other commonly used marketing techniques include mobile exclusive deals (5) and mobile paid search (5).

The use of push notifications is on the rise. A study published in May found that 77 of the top 100 e-retailers, per the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, had mobile apps. The number of retail apps employing push notifications increased 48% from 2012 to 2013, and 66% of the top 100 retailers with an app used them, the study from mobile messaging analytics firm OtherLevels found.

Push notifications have been shown to increase engagement and retention among consumers, especially for retailers. Consumers who opted in to push notifications on retail apps generated 40% more monthly app opens than opted-out consumers, according to a study from Urban Airship, a vendor focusing on mobile push messaging. The average increase in engagement across the gambling, media, entertainment, retail, games and sports industries was 26%. The average opt-in user opened a retail app 12.5 times compared to 9 times for those who had not opted in. The percentage of consumers still using the app after six months was 21% for those who opted in and 10% for those who did not.

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