Push Notifications Copywriting: 18 Tips for Improving Engagement

Push Notifications Copywriting: 18 Tips for Improving Engagement

by Andrea Knezovic

The push notifications for your mobile game are not working? Don’t stress. The solution is simple – you need to improve your push notifications copywriting.

To help you out, I’ve put together the best copywriting tips that will boost your engagement and retention.

But first, here’s why push notifications are so important for mobile games.

Why You Need to Send Push Notifications

So you have acquired some users for your mobile game. Congratulations!

However, you noticed that the engagement is not as high as you would like and many players churn after a few days of playing.

Welcome to the world of mobile gaming. This is something that happens all the time, even to top mobile games.

Here are some mobile game statistics that confirm it.

According to GameAnalytics, just one day after installation, the top 2% of mobile games lost 70% of players in 2020. Median 50% of games lost about 80%, while the bottom 25% of games lost about 88% of players.

It gets worse.

After 28 days, the top 2% of mobile games lost about 97% of players. For median games, as much as 99% of players were gone. The bottom 25% of mobile games retained 0 players after a month.

Shocking, right?

This shows just how hard it is to keep players engaged, even for top games.

One of the best solutions to keep that engagement up and prevent player churn are push notifications.

If done right, these notifications can re-engage players and keep user retention up. It offers the best visibility, personalization, and localization.

According to GameAnalytics, 90-day user retention for players who opt-in for push notifications is 23% higher than for players who don’t receive them. That’s significant.

However, according to Accentage, only 41% of players on average opt-in.

While push notifications on Android are enabled by default, on iOS, players need to give their permission. That’s why the opt-in rate on Android (91%) is higher than iOS.

Because of that, the first step is to get as many players as possible to give you permission to send notifications. Luckily, this was not affected by IDFA changes.

The next step is making sure you craft the perfect message that will (re)engage players.

But also make sure to check out our guide on push notifications strategies to ensure the placements, frequency, and tracking are right.

writing a script for an app promo video

18 Tips for Mobile Game Push Notifications Copywriting

Crafting a push notification that’s useful, engaging, and improves user experience is everything but easy.

You need to stand out from the competition by making your copy interesting and persuasive enough to make users complete an action.

All of that in 150 characters.

Furthermore, push notifications tend to be annoying to most users, which is why they’re often dismissed.

So how do you write the perfect message that won’t get ignored?

Here are some tips that will help you.

1. Start With the Purpose

Before you start writing, keep in mind that each notification needs to have a distinct purpose. This will be your starting point.

What do you want the users to do? Why are you sending this message? What type of result are you expecting?

In most cases, the purpose of sending a push notification to players is to get them back to the game.

However, there are nuances to that.

You might try to get users back after they haven’t played for a day or more.

But you also might send notifications that have the purpose of informing users (e.g., a new update, new content, etc.), asking them to rate and review, or simply to keep them engaged.

Whatever it may be, make sure to always make the purpose of your message clear.

If you’re not sure where to start, checking out some push notification examples might help.

push notifications example quizup
2. Respect Your User and Make Them Trust You

Here’s the thing.

Push notifications are intrusive. There’s no sugarcoating it.

The least you can do is to respect the user’s attention and not abuse it. Don’t send notifications that are dishonest or misleading. Never try to disguise the real reason for sending the message or use unethical strategies to get them back to your game.

Instead, be straightforward, honest, and nurture that relationship. If you make users trust you, your notifications will go a long way.

You can even describe the drawbacks of sending notifications. For example, “Buzz buzz! I know this can be annoying, but we have a new release for you! Check it out to see all the exciting updates we prepared for you!”

This way, users get a sense that you acknowledge how bothersome notifications can be and that you respect their time and attention.

3. Make Notifications Actionable

One of the most important things when writing a push notification is to tell users what exactly you want them to do.

You can write an outstanding and creative notification, but if you don’t include a call to action, you won’t get any results.

However, don’t think of it as ordering people what to do, think of it more as an invitation. And before you write your CTA, you need to have a specific goal in mind – what do you want users to do?

Furthermore, the CTA shouldn’t be overly complicated. The point is to prompt your user to take action with ease. It should be actionable, benefit-oriented, and consistent with your game.

It may also help if you use persuasive words. According to Hubspot, the top five persuasive words are “you”, “free”, “because”, “instantly”, and “new”.

For example, “Collect free coins now!” or “Get instant access to new game content”.

4. Get Personal

As you probably know, if you send the same generic notification to all users, the odds of it engaging users are slim.

Thus, when writing your message, you need to think about why this user would be interested in it.

And keep in mind – every aspect of a push notification should be personalized. Not just the copy, but frequency, delivery time, content type, etc. Segment the users according to their progress and engagement in the game, responsiveness to notifications, and the type of game content that appeals to them. In other words, user behavior should play a big part in your push notifications campaign.

Tailor-made notifications feel unique and have a much better chance of getting the user’s attention.

A good push notification provider can make it easier to personalize your messages.

5. Choose Active Voice

Here’s why you should use active voice over passive voice.

In passive sentences, the subject is not performing the action, it’s being acted upon by the verb. On the other hand, in active sentences, the subject is the one performing the action.

Why is that important?

According to Hosman (Language and Persuasion, 2002), active sentences are more persuasive. Because passive sentences are more complex, they’re more difficult to understand, and this negatively influences the persuasion process.

6. Use the First Person

Another great trick for making your notifications stand out is to write in the first person. That way, it will read like a personal message, directly from you, the publisher.

For example, instead of “*Game name* has free coins for you!!” write “I have free coins for you!!”.

When you say “we”, you’re not just a faceless mobile game company, but their friend.

7. Write in a Conversational Tone

When writing your notification, keep it friendly and informal – it’s what users respond to best. A conversational tone makes your message more human rather than robotic or impersonal. Make it sound like you’re having a genuine conversation with your users, they’ll appreciate it.

Make it simple and easy to read. Avoid being brash or too edgy – this might annoy and even repel users.

8. Make It Concise

Since push notifications pop up on the user’s notification screens, they don’t offer a lot of space. Furthermore, research shows that notifications with 20 to 90 characters achieve the best results.

These are the main reasons why you need to keep your copy short and sweet.

While it might sound simple, this is not an easy task. Including all the important information and enticing users to make the desired action in such a short message takes practice.

You can start by writing a longer copy, then whittling it down.

9. Include a Call to Value

A call to value is very similar to a call to action. Both ask the user to make a specific action. However, in a CTV, you’re not just telling people what to do, but what they get.

Here are some examples.

CTA: “Play *game name* right now!

CTV: “Play now and get free coins!”

In the CTA example, users are told to play the game. But why would they do that? What’s in it for them?

On the other hand, the CTV emphasizes the reward they’ll get for playing and gives them a clear reason to return to the game.

10. Create Intrigue

Another way to hook the user’s attention is to create intrigue – it can be very enticing.

The best way is to start your push notification with something unexpected that will leave them wanting more. When you create an air of curiosity around your copy, the chance that people will continue reading it and act on it is much higher.

For example, “*In-game character* found a new chest on your land! The word is, it could be full of gold, play now to find out.

push notifications create a sense of urgency

11. Create a Sense of Urgency

Conveying urgency is a tried-and-true copywriting technique that works for just about anything, including mobile game push notifications.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you’re offering users a reward for coming back to the game. If they knew that offer was available for an indefinite amount of time, they wouldn’t be in a rush to claim their reward.

On the other hand, if you make it clear that this is a limited-time offer that requires swift action, they’re much more likely to do it.

It’s simple psychology, people often base their decisions and actions on emotions. They hate missing out on great offers, and scarcity or time-limited offers make them act fast.

12. Be Funny

This one is quite simple, yet effective. If you can make people laugh, they’re much more likely to do what you want them to do.

People play mobile games to have fun and relax – push notifications should reflect that.

Here’s a great example from Simon Circles.

push notification example simon circles

It’s light, fun, and original – all marks of a great push notification.

13. Ask Rhetorical Questions to Engage Players

Do you ever use rhetorical questions when writing push notifications – like this one?

This is a cool copywriting trick that can improve engagement.

Research shows that including rhetorical questions in your copy has a positive influence on the persuasion process. (Petty, Cacioppo, & Heesacker, 1981)

When met with a rhetorical question, people tend to consider your arguments more carefully. That, of course, results in more engagement.

14. Take Player Motivations into Consideration

Everything you do as a developer, from your UA to monetization strategy should be based on player motivations. This includes push notifications.

Different people play mobile games for different reasons.

This is another opportunity to segment players and write a copy that leverages their motivations.

For example, let’s say you’re targeting players who love the social and competitive aspect of gaming. You could do something like Words With Friends – “Hey, Anna! Do you have what it takes to outsmart your friends? Prove it in a game of Words With Friends! Play now!”

15. Show, Don’t Tell

This is another tried and tested copywriting technique, known as the golden rule. It can help you with crafting the perfect push notification.

It’s a writing style in which the story is related using descriptive language that shows what happened, rather than simply telling people what happened.

So instead of just stating the facts, paint a picture for users and pique their interest with well-chosen descriptive words.

push notifications copywriting power words

16. Use Power Words

As we have learned, language choice plays a big role in how your push notification will be received.

What works well for any copy is including power words. They are words that trigger a psychological or emotional response in the reader.

For example:

  • Exclusive
  • Don’t miss out
  • Fast
  • Frenzy
  • Giveaway
  • Greatest
  • Jackpot
  • Money
  • New
  • Now
  • Prize
  • Quick
  • Special
  • Treasure
  • Ultimate

17. Take Advantage of Social Proof

Finally, I’ve included one of the most important copywriting principles – social proof.

It states that people will follow the lead of their peers. They’re constantly looking for cues on what to do and how to behave.

That’s why recommendations from family, friends, or influencers, can have a big impact on people. According to Chatter Matters, 83% of consumers say recommendations from family or friends make them more likely to purchase something.

You can take advantage of this when writing your copy.

For example, it can be something as simple as, “X number of users are playing *game name* right now. Join them!”

18. Appeal to Players’ Emotions

Most decisions are not made by using reason and logic – we make them based on emotions, most of the time, subconsciously. This is a well-known fact many marketers are capitalizing on.

This technique can be applied to push notifications.

In order to persuade players to complete a desired action when they see a push notification, appeal to their emotions.

For example, you can evoke the fear of missing out in players or make them remember how relaxing it is to play your game. All of that are emotional triggers that can make people get back to your game or purchase something.

Words have the power to convey powerful emotions and influence decisions – use that to your advantage.

However, for this to work, you need to know your players inside out – what they fear, what they desire, what are they lacking, what makes them happy, etc. So take the time to study your user base and learn what makes them tick.

Final Thoughts on Push Notifications Copywriting

As we have learned, there are many different copywriting techniques you can use to create push notifications that are engaging and make users complete a desired action.

But the most important thing is to be creative and make sure to test all of your ideas. If one copy doesn’t work, don’t despair, test ten more until you identify the winning one.

Just like everything else in the mobile gaming world, push notifications copywriting is about trial and error.


About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018. Visitudonis.co

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