The temptation to Push (notifications)

I have been monitoring the evolution of push notifications in Portugal by the media. Although I’m writing from my experience in Portugal, I can imagine the situation is the same for you as well whether in the United States or some other part of the world.

Before the appearance of the Observador (Observer, in English), digital media was basically non-existent in Portugal. The online Portuguese journal – which locally we all know well and have become accustomed to reading regardless of political preferences – brought a breath of fresh air to what was done in the news reporting industry but in digital form.

But this article isn’t about digital news media. Let’s focus on the theme of this article, push notifications and more specifically how it is being used by news and other industries.

The push notification, in my opinion, has become unbearable. This observation applies to all media, not just specific to news journals. It seems like there is a competition for the one who sends out a push notification first by constantly sending out notifications.

I’m sure everyone knows what push notifications are now because at some point, you have received a push notification if you have a smartphone. But for those that may not know, push notifications are the messages you receive from an app without needing to open the app or do anything (for example, a reminder to exercise or an update of a game).

The problem with push notifications is that whomever is on the sending side can sometimes forget who is on the receiving end. For the push notifications I receive from media outlets, it doesn’t seem to be relevant whether or not I like politics, which football team I like or whether I’m interested in local/ regional matters or not.

Plus, my schedule doesn’t seems to matter either because it seems to be ok to bombard me with messages on the weekend or even at hours through the night with non-urgent matters. Anyway, I could continue with a list of examples but I think the message is clear: the consumer is not thought about when push notifications are being sent.

Some push notifications seem to only have an on or off button. So as much as I would like to receive notifications, I would be happier if I could control the use, such as if I am a heavy user or if I prefer to get notifications about Benfica over Sporting (or the other way around). Keep in mind, I’m not just receiving push notifications from one app, I’m receiving them from many apps and some are similar in content. It really can become too much.

Push notifications are a great way to reach consumers effectively and immediately. But this temptation to “push” is killing functionality. Without thinking of the consumer when sending notifications, consumers can quickly just turn off the notifications or delete the app all together and it would be a failed opportunity to connect with a consumer.

So how can push notifications be used effectively? Stay tuned for a follow up article.
Submit your email on our website to stay up-to-date with news and opinions.