What Happens When You Analyze 1.5 Billion Push Notifications?

Byline: Brittany Fleit, Content Marketer at Leanplum

The next big data science announcement is here. Last week, Leanplum, the industry’s most complete mobile marketing platform, released a new report on the impact of personalization on app engagement.

The results: we found that personalizing push notifications increased user engagement by up to 800 percent!

Smartphones are the most personal device people own. With that in mind, we wanted to understand how personalizing an app’s primary way of communicating with people — push notifications — affected overall engagement.


Increase User Engagement With Personalized Push Notifications

So we analyzed 1.5 billion push notifications sent to users around the world. We looked at both the open rate, as well as the length of time it took for people to open the message, for the following factors:

  • Mobile platforms
  • Personalized content
  • Delivery types
  • Geographic regions

Some standout findings:

  • Android has double the push notification open rates of iOS, but iOS users open push notifications seven times faster than Android users.
  • Push notifications triggered by individual user behaviours produce nine times the open rate of blasts sent immediately.
  • Push notifications that contain personalized content, such as user names, favourite categories, or recently viewed items, see four times the open rate of generic messages.


For this blog post, we’ll take a look at that first statistic, diving into the differences between user engagement on mobile platforms.

To read more about the rest of the findings, download the full report here.


1. Android vs. iOS Open Rates

First, let’s compare the open rates on iOS versus Android.

Open Rates

You can see that iOS has an average open rate of 1.77 percent. Android has an average open rate of 3.48 percent open rate — double that of iOS.


2. Android vs. iOS Time to Open

But that wasn’t even the most head-scratching fact. When we looked at time to open, we found the following.

Time to Open

Here, you can see that users on iOS open push notifications in a median time of seven minutes.

However, Android users open push in a median time of 48 minutes, almost seven times longer than iOS.


3. UI Differences Between Android and iOS Push Notifications

To figure out why, we studied each operating system’s unique user interface. We theorized that iOS lags behind Android when it comes to push notification open rates due to its UI.

On Android, messages “stick” around longer in the lock screen. A user is required to acknowledge the notification in some form, whether opening or dismissing, for it to disappear.

Even after users shelve notifications, Android still lets them know they have unread notifications by adding a sticky icon to the top left corner of the home screen.

On iOS on the other hand, once a user unlocks their screen to take any action, the message moves straight to the notification tray. It’s then only accessible if a user drags the tray down from the top bar — not a common occurrence. Once out of sight, the notification is usually out of mind. Thus, the ephemeral nature of iOS push notifications may play a large role in the vast open rate differences.

Here’s how that plays out in a visual manner.

UI Differences

When it comes to median time to open, our hypothesis is that the difference is also related to the distinct user experience between iOS and Android.

Since iOS pushes disappear after a user unlocks their screen, open rates are lower. Yet iOS users who open, do so faster than those on Android. As notifications disappear after a user unlocks their iPhone, users open push directly from the lock screen, while the message is front and center. iOS users may be trained to act with more immediacy, knowing how quickly pushes will be moved into the hard-to- find notifications tray.

Want to read more, including the personalization tactic that increases push open rates by 800 percent? Download the report from Leanplum’s library to get full access to the data science report, as well as solutions that take your mobile messaging strategy to the next level.

Download Report

Leanplum offers the best-in- class solutions for Messaging, Automation, Personalization, App Editing, A/B Testing, and Analytics. We’re always around to answer your questions, about our data science report or best practices to skyrocket your app to success. Shoot us a note at hello@leanplum.com to learn more.