Mobile apps in retail: Effect of push notification frequency on app user behavior

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Push notifications are a core functionality of mobile apps and allow app publishers to interact with existing app users and send promotional content. Since every push notification can also interrupt or annoy app users, the frequency of push notifications is a critical success factor. This study investigates how different frequencies of push notifications affect the behavior of app users of mobile apps in retail. In an experiment with 17,500 app users, five different frequencies are tested over seven weeks, and the effects on real observed app user behavior are analyzed. The results show that as the frequency of the non-personalized push notifications increases, uninstalls increase, and the direct open rate of push notifications decreases. A significant influence on indirect opens cannot be proven. The results provide practitioners with important insights into the potential harm that a too high frequency of push notifications can cause. Furthermore, the results support the importance of relevant content tailored to the respective user.

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    • Table 1. Start-end-comparison of recipients, direct opens and indirect opens per frequency group
    • Table 2. Start-end-comparison of direct open rate and indirect open rate per frequency group
    • Table 3. Uninstall rate determined by frequency – regression results
    • Table 4. Direct open rate determined by frequency – regression results
    • Table 5. Indirect open rate determined by frequency – regression results
    • Table 6. Comparison of regression results for direct and indirect opens
    • Table 7. Summary of experiment results
    • Conceptualization
      Atilla Wohllebe
    • Data curation
      Atilla Wohllebe, Uwe Radtke
    • Formal Analysis
      Atilla Wohllebe
    • Investigation
      Atilla Wohllebe, Dirk-Siegfried Hübner
    • Methodology
      Atilla Wohllebe
    • Writing – original draft
      Atilla Wohllebe, Szilárd Podruzsik
    • Project administration
      Dirk-Siegfried Hübner, Uwe Radtke
    • Visualization
      Dirk-Siegfried Hübner
    • Writing – review & editing
      Dirk-Siegfried Hübner, Uwe Radtke, Szilárd Podruzsik
    • Validation
      Uwe Radtke, Szilárd Podruzsik
    • Supervision
      Szilárd Podruzsik