3 steps to creating awesome in-app and push messaging content

In app push messagingIf content is king and mobile is the way of the future, then there’s no better place to invest your content marketing time than in creating app messaging. Why apps? Because, the inherent goal of apps is to help someone complete a task, and with their broad accessibility, apps have become the preferred channel that provides the best, easiest solution possible.

Keeping this in mind, successful app marketing requires content that is compelling, concise, helpful and targeted within the right context. Here are three steps to take – plus examples of great content, designs and offers – to create awesome push and in-app messaging campaigns.

1. Identify user segments and determine the best content type for them

Each and every app messaging campaign you run should be highly targeted to a group of relevant users. Why? Because open rates double and conversion rates triple when push messaging is segmented, versus broadcasted to all users.

The attributes you choose to segment by will differ as your goals and campaigns evolve, and there are various options of segments available, depending on which combination of attributes you highlight.

You can start by identifying your user (and buyer) segments based on their app screen flows and past interactions, and use that as the basis to inform the key question: what kind of content would be most relevant to them? Would a quick alert or a text heavy message be best?

Identify user segments and determine the best content type for them

2. Map your copy to the key steps in your campaign funnel

Understanding the various steps you’re prompting a user through allows you to answer this question: what is the copy that’s going to kick start successful completion of that funnel? Map your copy to your funnel effectively by highlighting the messages that will move users through each step.

For example, say you’re a media app and you’d like to run a campaign converting passive readers to active subscribers using a special discount; your funnel and message approach could look like this:

Map your copy to the key steps in your campaign funnel

Example: Connect-the-dots is a mobile game app providing customised offers for users when they complete levels. Providing recognition at certain intervals encourages positivity and continued playing.


3. Write the right content

Developing great content can be a challenge no matter the medium, but given the space restrictions and short attention span of users, creating effective content for your mobile or web app presents additional challenges. However, app messages also present an opportunity for creativity in brevity. The content best practices differ by message type (push or in-app), so let’s dig deeper into each one.

Push messaging

Push messages are sent to users who aren’t currently interacting with your app – we often refer to them as a ‘tap on the shoulder’.

They allot little space for copy, can have a lifespan of seconds and compete for user attention in a long list amongst a host of other app notifications. Because of these challenges, delivering on eye-catching copy is a must.

Consider these copy suggestions:

Identify the value, goal or reward behind the notification to prompt an open.

Add actionable language that prompts the user to complete an action, even if that action is opening the message itself.

Use verbs like “act now,” “shop now,” and “redeem” to put the emphasis on the user to complete an action.

Finally, make up for a lack of visual branding by infusing your push messages with your own dose of brand-specific personality. Showing a little personality in your messages helps you stand out in a crowd of many app notifications.

Example: Discount offer with push messaging

Discount offer with push messaging

In-app messaging

A great in-app message is targeted to arrive at the right time during the in-app user experience, allowing you to derive more value out of users already using your app.

For in-app messages, clear headlines can be hugely effective in initially capturing user attention. Headlines are the largest body of text in the message and convey purpose before the user starts reading the copy that follows.

Unlike push messaging, which is limited in terms of copy, in-app messaging has room for more content. But, to get mobile users to engage and not exit the message, your content should also be concise and persuasive. One tactic is to highlight why it’s important by using copy such as “limited time only,” “don’t miss out,” or “exclusively for our fans.”

Example: Swaag, a streetwear and sneakers app, A/B tests their in-app messages to determine what content results in the greatest conversion.


A clear CTA is equally important as headlines and copy when it comes to in-app marketing. Buttons are often a safe bet to draw the user to click through, but because your entire in-app message is clickable, your CTAs can be more creative with formatting and text. Successful in-app CTAs are visually bold and easily identifiable, so that the user can immediately act on the offer.

Finally, avoid making your in-app message looking like an ad, and instead, present a branded campaign that looks natural within the app. Determine which colours, content, sizing, and format will work best for your brand. Adding graphics or other illustrative branding to your in-app messages helps grab attention, reinforce brand identity and improve conversions.

Example: Discount offer with in-app messaging

Discount offer with in-app messaging

Following these three steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating truly awesome push and in-app messaging campaigns.

Raj Aggarwal, chief executive of Localytics