Data Finds Pictures Boost Direct Response Rates for Push Notifications 56 Percent

With iOS 10, Urban Airship offers the industry’s first full cross-platform support for Rich Notifications enabling businesses to drive more attention and utility outside of apps

PORTLAND, Ore. — September 1, 2016 — Ahead of the final release of Apple’s iOS 10 and its support for Rich Notifications — where images, video, audio, GIFs and interactive buttons are embedded directly within push notifications — mobile engagement leader Urban Airship revealed initial performance analysis of similar big picture style notifications on Android. Data from nearly 5 million messages sent August 5-18 show that big picture notifications see a 56 percent higher direct open rate on average than notifications without images1. With Rich Notifications soon available across all major mobile platforms, marketers can gain greater response and engagement using rich media, while taking advantage of an even bigger opportunity to create powerful, streamlined customer experiences with more app interactions and content delivered to the lockscreen.

Urban Airship also announced the industry’s first cross-platform support for all Rich Notification media types in Urban Airship Engage, which extends its years-long advantage in offering out-of-the-box functionality for interactive notification buttons and Android Rich Notifications. These new cross-platform capabilities will be available in the Urban Airship SDK 8.0, which will immediately follow the final release of iOS 10. In addition, Urban Airship offers a proprietary content delivery network to provide customers convenience and speed in serving up media for Rich Notifications.

iOS 10 will display accompanying rich media as thumbnail previews on receipt, and also offer better visibility to buttons contained in notifications. Combined with Urban Airship Engage’s real-time marketing automation engine and its new Message Composer, marketers can easily create, test and manage an endless array of Rich Notification experiences to optimally engage users in key moments throughout their customer journey. For example:

  • A retailer might determine an offer and product image with “View Details” and “Add to Wish List” buttons perform best for products customers recently browsed, whereas users showing deeper levels of product engagement get a demo video and “Add to Cart” button.
  • An event could send attendees a picture of their mobile ticket with “Add” and “Remind Me Later” buttons.
  • News organizations might find audio or video culled from social media drives more interest in unfolding events than a standard wire photo, adding “Follow” and “Share” buttons to amplify engagement and reach.

Every user action, such as taps on interactive buttons, will enrich Urban Airship’s user profiles in real time and can trigger conditional follow-on automation. For example, hotels sending a receipt image with simple thumbs up, thumbs down emoji buttons to rate their stay, could then ask satisfied guests to share their experience with friends, whereas unsatisfied guests could be directed to an in-app survey to garner details.

“The future of customer insight will rely more on messaging interactions than app or website sessions,” said Brett Caine, CEO and president, Urban Airship. “Businesses that seize this shift to offer proactive service-oriented experiences within each individual customer’s immediate context and moment of need will learn and grow the most.”

Caine continued: “Apple's upcoming iOS release and Android's existing Rich Notification support will transform the mobile experience for the vast majority of smartphone users virtually overnight. Businesses get a more visible and effective on-ramp to better customer insight and deeper app experiences, while customers gain a richer and more actionable experience without even having to open the app.”  

iOS 10 Rich Notification Examples


Analysis included Android apps that sent at least 400 big picture notifications August 5-18, and compared average direct open rates of these messages to notifications sent without pictures. Nearly 5 million notifications were included in the study, of which more than 650,000 were big picture style.

About Urban Airship

Urban Airship provides the world’s leading mobile engagement platform, helping thousands of businesses of all sizes form a direct and lasting connection with their customers. With Urban Airship, companies gain total control of their mobile footprint — apps, wallets and user-level data — to deliver experiences that get noticed and drive action across mobile or any other customer touchpoint. More than 45,000 apps and some of the most innovative global brands trust Urban Airship to grow their business through mobile with an independent study reporting a composite 878 percent return on investment for customers.

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