How consumers feel about push notifications in 2021

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
June 04, 2021, 1:51 PM UTC

For brands who rely on mobile push notifications in their marketing strategy, less is more. Push notifications can be a powerful tool to generate sales and draw attention, but send out too many and your brand risks annoying the user.  

As Apple is expected to announce changes to how users control notifications, a new YouGov survey reveals how many notifications is too many for American users who get push notifications– and what they do when apps are too persistent. 

Right now, YouGov data suggests brand promotions are certainly less welcome than other types of notifications – 19% of American users say it’s appropriate to see promotions a few times per week, 18% say once a week and 17% say less often than that. Only 6% think it’s reasonable to get a message more than once a day. 

These numbers are considerably lower than other types of notifications. For instance, 41% say it’s fine to news alerts several times a day, while 62% say it’s appropriate to get personal messages with such frequency. As for email and social media alerts, 40% say alerts a few times a day is fine, and 23% say getting reminders (e.g., from fitness apps) with such regularity is appropriate. 

Nearly half of adult consumers in the United States (47%) feel they get too many notifications, while 38% say they get the right amount. 

For marketers, notifications could be a high-stakes game. While a plurality of users (42%) will simply go in and change settings if notifications are too frequent, 39% will turn off notifications entirely and 8% will delete the app entirely, shutting the brand out of the app ecosystem completely. Fewer than one in ten (9%) will do nothing. 

In order to better serve the user, personalization is key and insights into consumer attitudes, and behaviors, should help tailor push content. According to reports ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, the firm is set to announce some changes to its notifications. Changes will give users the ability to change preferences depending on status, say if they’re at work, if they’re driving, or if they're sleeping.  

Overall, regardless of what smartphone brand ownership, roughly a third (32%) of American smartphone users say they don’t have enough control over when or how often they receive push notifications, while 62% say they do. It’s worth noting iPhone users are slightly more likely to feel in control (69%). 
 

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Methodology: YouGov polled 1,167 US adults online on June 3, 2021 between 8:54 a.m. ET and 11:58 a.m. ET., The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity. Results are nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is 4.2% for the overall sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct.