With the advent of new marketing tools, one-size-fits-all strategies are going out of style. Customers are now expecting more genuine app experiences that are personalized to their liking. With push notifications, this is no different.

Fortunately, engaging your user base with personalized notifications can be easy. OneSignal actually automates most of this process which helps you save time and effort when crafting your notifications. Our platform has great features like placeholder tags and rich notifications where you can send engaging messages to bring your users back to your app.

Using Personalization Tags

The quickest way to personalize your notifications is to use placeholder tags. These tags allow you to replace placeholders with their first names and other user data for each notification. We've got a great guide on tags below for you to check out when you get the chance.

Having tags in messages allows your system to pull data from your database and substitute user-specific data into those messages. Automating personalized notifications isn’t the only benefit you’ll get out of this. You'll also see a dramatic increase in user engagement. By prompting users with their first name, you can get their attention and encourage them to engage with your application.

Using our SDK, these tag placeholders can be placed in-line with the message text in your notification templates. With OneSignal, simply create a new Template and insert a placeholder tag within the template’s message.

You only need to set this up once. All notifications being sent out will have all placeholders replaced with actual user data. You can also go much further beyond first names when personalizing push notifications. For example, in a gaming app, you can include tags for the highest game score for each user, current level, and other gaming variables that are stored.

Check out our personalization tag documentation on how to set this up.

To personalize your messages even more, you can also include rich media in your push notifications.

Example of Push Notification with Rich Media, Source: JibJab

Push Notification Personalization Best Practices

To provide an engaging customer experience without embarrassing personalization mistakes that can anger your customers, here are a few best practices to make sure that your strategies execute without a hitch.

1. Use a catch-all default value

Sometimes you won’t have all the data you need on each user, so it’s best to have a catch-all default value for every tag you use. For example, if you are missing a first name for a user, you could set the default value to “friend” or “there” so your notification would read “Hello there! [message]” or “Hello friend! [message]”.

2. Test with dummy users first

Set aside a few devices used internally within your company connected with dummy user information. Before you blast your personalized notifications to your entire user base, test your personalized templates using dummy data and adjust accordingly.

3. Balance data collection with privacy

With new privacy laws like the GDPR in force, some companies are hesitant to incorporate personalization in their push notification strategy. Don’t let that scare you from collecting first names and email addresses. While most people are hesitant to give out their personal phone numbers, they understand that giving their first names and email addresses can get them better customer experiences with your app.