Hold and Return Audiences Using Email and Push Notifications

    " We are difficult to find, easy to lose, and impossible to return ... " - Users

    Owners of sites and mobile applications are primarily concerned with the production, purchase of traffic and monetization. Many people think about keeping the audience, but almost no one thinks about how to return the user when he left the site, or deleted the application.


    In this article, we will discuss how to hold and return users using Email and Push notifications.

    The interview is given by Andrey Sas, the chief specialist in Email and Push marketing at Badoo.com, a speaker at many industry conferences (Highload, RIT, CodeFest). Andrey advised Mail.ru on the assessment of sender reputation.

    Andrey, there are at least 2 tools that allow you to return users - these are Email and Push notifications. How is everything at Badoo in terms of technology? How is email technology built? How many letters do you send per month? What kind of letters are these?

    Badoo currently has 214 million users. It is clear that not all of them are active, so Email and Push notifications are very important for us. We send more than a billion letters and as many Push notifications per month.

    From the point of view of the technical device, we do everything ourselves, because we want to achieve the highest quality. What should an Email Newsletter Have? The main thing is the servers that send emails. It’s good that we could already take the finished tool here.

    And here is the rest: scripts that generate letters, statistics on sent letters, analytical developments - everything had to be done by ourselves.

    Letters can be divided into two groups:
    1. Operating room - letters covering the work processes of registration, password change.
    2. Reactionary - directly the return of the user.

    Does a mobile app need an email newsletter? Many say that this is already the last century and is irrelevant for the mobile sphere.

    It all depends on the project and application. Email is one of the channels through which you can reach the user. Often the user quickly deletes the application, and the Push notification will not be sent to him. Email newsletters have an advantage in this.

    For different areas, their own rules of operational and reaction letters?

    No, the Email and Push notifications scheme works approximately the same in all areas. There are fundamental rules. For example, the first letter, or push notification, should tell the user what notifications he will receive and how often.

    For example, you registered somewhere, received a push notification, and confirmed Email. Then he stopped using it, and letters begin to come to you. Of course, you mark the email as spam. Therefore, it is important to form people's expectations immediately.

    How to force the user to send an email if he does not want to inform him?

    If you need content, then you will send Email. To ask Email at a point for registration is normal. You can ask to log in through social networks. Some give Email (Facebook, Twitter), some do not ( VK )

    If immediately after registration you want to receive the user's Email, then you need to offer something for him. For example, in games you can offer an intrasystem currency.

    How to return one-day users?

    If a person has already uninstalled the application, you can at least get a feedback on why he did it. In order for the user to honestly name the reason, you need to correctly ask him about it.

    You can try to return the person. But you need to offer him something for which he can return. For example, to make some paid service free for several weeks or offer him a new service. But it works if a person has just left, and in months to do this will already be ineffective.

    If the user uninstalled the application, it will be difficult to force him to install it again. You can count on attracting him to another service, if any.

    What mail services should a multi-regional service focus on?

    As for Russia, this is Mail, Yandex, Gmail. Rambler is already a little dull. In figures, Mail.ru has 60%, Yandex and Gmail each have 15%.

    Specific projects have their own characteristics. They need to focus not on mailers, but on antispam filters and Google AdSense. If we look abroad, there is a big three: Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo.

    In most countries, they give from 50 to 80% of users. The most popular is Hotmail. Gmail is slowly overtaking Yahoo. But it all depends on the region. There are email service providers in the USA, and old local services are strong in Asia. In China - QQ, Hanmail, Sinocom. In Japan, most addresses are issued by providers.
    What should be the letter so that it reaches the addressee?

    The technical side of the issue is minimal:
    1. Make it possible to indicate the IP addresses that belong to you, so that the mail services understand that the letter is from your project.
    2. Sign the newsletter electronically and confirm that it is you who send it.

    Having completed these two points, the technical side of the delivery issue is resolved. Any system administrator will do this in a couple of hours.

    The most important part of receiving your emails as a recipient is how users respond to your newsletter. It is necessary that they often open it, click in letters and do not complain by clicking the "This is spam" button. Outsmarting mail services in this regard is impossible. Spammers rely on a very small number of people who easily trust. The rest of the people quickly understand where spam is and presses the corresponding button.

    The system administrator configures the service and technology for authorizing letters. If you do not need statistics, then you can do without it. Problems arise when it is discovered that part of the message is spam, part comes with a delay of three hours. Then you have to spend resources on creating internal statistics. Programmers are needed here.
    For mailings from 100 thousand letters a day, it makes sense to think about renting your own server. There are box solutions, but they are not always convenient. Traditionally, the choice is made towards their own decisions.

    And what is cheaper financially? Own mailing system, or boxed solution?

    Own system is cheaper. Renting a server costs about 50 euros per month. Such equipment can send 3-5 million letters a day without any problems. The price of a ready-made service from Amazon for sending 100 thousand letters a day for a month is $ 300. That is, its own in any case is more profitable.

    If we talk about the monitoring of deliverability. For example, there is a postmaster of the service in Mail and Yandex. What is it and why is it needed? And do western mail services have similar functionality?

    A postmaster is a component that is made primarily in the interests of the mail service. You are given a single address to which the mailing rules are located. You can read and understand why your newsletter does not reach. Similar tools also provide statistics on complaints. They simply allow you to understand what the problems are, and save yourself from frequent calls to support.

    For an email marketer, this is a very useful feature in order to evaluate in time why emails were sent to spam and find an up-to-date collection of rules. The tool provides analytics for opening emails. It allows you to understand how many seconds the message was read, how many users deleted it or sent it to spam.

    For the first time such a service appeared in Russia at Mail.ru. Yandex recently launched a copy of it. As for foreign companies, only Hotmail has this, as far as I know.

    How do I know if my emails are spam?

    You need to look at mail delivery monitoring services. The principle of operation is as follows:
    There is a set of test addresses. To these addresses you periodically send your letters. Services simply send you notifications if emails get into spam.
    Using the monitoring service, you can look at the conversions that you have in the project and are tied to the mail. For example, confirmation of the mail address, registration, click from the letter.

    Examples of such services: emailstream.ru and its foreign counterpart - returnpath.com.

    There is such a thing as “White” and “Black” sheets. What is it? Who are they using?

    White / Black lists are used, often by corporate mail services that do not have access to statistics. For the most part, these are small businesses, or small mail providers.

    Black lists allow you to enter the IP addresses of spammers in special databases based on interaction with the DNS system. Upon receipt of mail, the server address from which it is sent is checked against such a database. If the server IP address is in the database, a letter from it is not accepted.

    The most popular Blacklist is SpamHaus (a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting spam). The rules for getting there are chaotic and incomprehensible. Volunteers work there who consider spam to be a big problem. They make the decisions themselves.

    White lists are often personalized with mail services: projects that never get into spam are added there. If you have a good newsletter and a reasonable product, then getting into this sheet is not necessary.

    There are white lists more global. Returnpath is the only company that allows you to buy a White List place on Hotmail and Yahoo, but they ask for a lot of money for it. After payment you will receive a guarantee that your letters will be in the “incoming” Hotmail and Yahoo. Returnpath will soon start operating in Russia. He will collaborate with Mail.ru and Yandex.

    Tell us, how do statistics on letters count?

    There are three areas in any marketing:
    1. technical implementation
    2. email deliverability
    3. product statistics

    Technical implementation - how fast letters are delivered. You need to know the queue size on the mail server.

    Deliverability - Conversions for email verification. It makes sense to use monitoring services.

    Product statistics - you need to know how many letters were sent, by which letter they clicked, from which particular letter they clicked the unsubscribe button. And all this by type of letter. Ideally, all this is loaded into the biosystem. So you can see how women and men click, residents of different regions.

    Tell us about push notifications. How are they arranged? How should they work? How to build infrastructure around them?

    There are local Push notifications, and there are those that can be sent from the development server without a running mobile application. And it can notify a person of anything. For example, if it is an Android device, show a picture.

    From your server, you, when you consider it necessary, send a certain notification. Your server connects to an Apple, Google, or Microsoft server and tells it what and when to send.

    Technically, everything is not complicated. This is even easier than sending letters, since you do not need to create a separate server for this. To arrange all this correctly from a business point of view, I would recommend only one thing: to send something that will not cause a user's unsubscription.

    The main thing - do not go too far. Push notifications should not be sent at night, if you send, they are extremely silent. Try to send them when a person uses your application. In general, just reduce the noise level for a person so as not to force him to delete the application or turn off Push notifications.

    If the user disables Push notifications, he needs to be reminded that he is losing important information and offer to enable them again.

    If I installed the application, and it at the first start warns me that it will send Push notifications ... - this is not a good solution. It is worth reporting this later, when a person will be able to adequately assess whether his application is of interest.

    Can I add ads to push notifications?

    Not sure. This area is not regulated sufficiently. But I didn’t see anyone do it. In fact, a push notification only forces you to open an application that must learn how to open a special landing page for this. Without this, you sacrifice a significant portion of the audience.

    What are your consulting services?

    Most consulting clients are already showing up with a problem. Caught in spam, want a greater response from the newsletters, need to build a good technical infrastructure, or they are not happy with the current mailing server.

    Immediately I do not presume, first I study the question. It often turns out that there are more problems than the one with which they came. The price is different and depends on the project.

    Do you see something new today? Can SMS bloom? Will there be an alternative to pushing?

    It depends on social networks. I’ve been waiting for a couple of years for a new mechanism like Push-notifications, which will allow you to connect with a specific person on Facebook and, for example, write him personal messages. But while this does not happen.

    This thing could have been killing email marketing. Pushbacks will be increasingly important. They will get ahead of Email.

    SMS is expensive. Although they have a high reading and mobile users are increasing. They should be bet on. This is one of the main trends that I have recorded.

    What do you recommend to our readers?

    A couple of years ago, I thought Email would die. But now I don’t think so. Email is one of the best tools to hold and return an audience. It can and should be used.

    The main rule - do not engage in spam, send only what will be useful and interesting to your users.

    Technical details of working with Email and Push notifications and more about working with mobile users in the podcast: iTunes or Podster.

    Special thanks for the help of KeepCalm and dlinyj

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