About Check City
Check City is a short-term lender offering payday loans online, cash advances, check cashing and other financial services. An established financial business for over 35 years, Check City has developed a vast community of hundreds of thousands of loyal customers across 65 US store locations.
Solving Notification Delays
Like many companies looking for new ways to communicate with existing and potential customers, Check City was eager to add web push notifications to their messaging channels of email, social media, direct mail and messenger bots. The more messaging options they could provide to their customers, the better Check City felt they could engage with users. However, while Check City was bullish on the value of push for user re-engagement, they weren’t familiar with the channel nuances and quickly signed on with a OneSignal competitor. “We assumed all providers would perform the same service in the same way, so we went with the first provider we found,” said Nathan Young, Director of Online Marketing for Check City.
“Since we now knew what to look for, we had a pretty extensive list of what we wanted in a push notification service. After another series of Google searches, we found OneSignal, who checked all the right boxes on our push notification provider wishlist.”
Check City’s previous push provider came with delivery restrictions, severe time delays, and consequently, low CTRs. The product not only failed to support real-time sends, but limited Check City’s time-sensitive notifications to 15-minute intervals. Additionally, Check City began seeing severe sending delays of up to an hour. As a financial services company that relies on real-time promotion and traffic, delayed sends that misrepresent sensitive application deadlines posed serious regulation compliance concerns. Finally, despite significant subscriber growth, Check City noticed their engagement metrics were going in the opposite direction. They feared these ongoing limitations and potential deliverability issues were damaging their campaigns. They decided it was time to look for a new push provider.
Finding the Right Push Notification Tool
With a better idea of their push notification needs, Check City set out to find a new provider that could better serve their business. “Since we now knew what to look for, we had a pretty extensive list of what we wanted in a push notification service,” said Young. “After another series of Google searches, we found OneSignal, who checked all the right boxes on our push notification provider wishlist.”
They had four top requirements, which OneSignal was clearly equipped to handle:
Realtime Message Delivery & Best-In-Class Reliability
Check City created a free OneSignal account to compare the two providers. They’d already installed push on the back end (the members area of their site), so the team used OneSignal’s WordPress Plugin on the front end to drive new subscribers for an informal split test between the two providers.
“For me to be able to go in, install it in WordPress and get 14,000 subscribers without any developer help, and already have hundreds of clicks per month and applications coming in -- I’m excited to see what we can do in the future.”
After sending these campaigns for multiple weeks (which translated to hundreds of thousands of notifications sent) Check City was not seeing any scheduling and delivery problems with their OneSignal sends and reported positive metrics trends:
- Clicks & Click-Through Rates: Check City saw higher CTRs through OneSignal than their other provider. In one campaign, CTRs increased from 0.11% to 0.48% - a whopping 336% increase! “To put it simply, Check City often gets the same number of clicks from sending push notifications to 14,000 subscribers on OneSignal as they get from sending out almost 80,000 push notifications through your competitor.”
- Conversion Rates: Check City expected to see higher conversion rates for their member sends vs. their newer front end sends, as the members are either existing customers whereas the front end subscribers are earlier in their customer journey. For some sends, they did see a slightly higher conversion rate for the member sends (4.46% vs. 4.21%).
- No Sending Delays: “Without fail, OneSignal sends our push notifications out exactly when we schedule them,” said Young. Compared to the 15-to 60-minute delay they continuously see on their other notifications, Check City saw this as a deal-breaker for their previous provider.
“Check City often gets the same number of clicks from sending push notifications to 14,000 subscribers from OneSignal as we get from sending out almost 80,000 push notifications through the competitor.”
Measuring Push Notification ROI
Young shared that one of the ways he considers ROI of push notifications is to equate push traffic to his paid media traffic. “We’re in an industry where CPC advertising is very expensive and restricted. So to be able to get people opting in to the push notifications - I kind of see it as a way to make the most of paid spend and potentially recoup some CPC spend.”
Young is driving his CPC ads to the pages with OneSignal installed, so he’s getting more out of each CPC click by a percentage of those users opting in to notifications. Additionally, he can approximate a value for the clicks on his push notifications, knowing he would have paid $5.50 per click in advertising to bring users to the site. If he sees 500 push clicks in a month, he can equate that to about $2,750 in advertising dollars.
Making the Move to OneSignal
Check City’s testing confirmed their assumptions that their current push provider was limiting the effectiveness of their push notification program. They were excited by the functionality and early results with OneSignal, and are now in the process of moving fully to the OneSignal platform, aiming to migrate their existing subscribers over.
They’re planning to implement OneSignal capabilities like Category Opt In, which allows users to select the categories of alerts they’d like to see, increasing the personalization and engagement for each message. They’ll be launching Advanced Analytics which will allow them to implement custom event tracking to see how their notifications may be influencing conversion outcomes among subscribers, as well as Confirmed Deliveries so they always know their notifications have successfully delivered.
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