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Android users respond to notifications at more than twice as fast as iOS users, study shows

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Android apps have an average notification engagement rate of 20% versus 8% on iOS, all because it is easier to find old notifications after the event, a study suggests.

In its second Mobile Engagement Benchmarks report, Urban Airship, a leading mobile engagement platform reveals that, while both Android and iOS have elevated the visibility of notifications to the phone’s lock-screen, that is where the consistencies in notification handling end. The primary reason Android notification engagement rates maintain a wide lead over iOS is because it’s easier to find notifications later.

On Android, notifications persist on the lock screen until dismissed. When Android devices are unlocked, notifications are easily accessible from app icons in the Notification Status bar on the home screen.Android also supports enhanced notification formats in Android 4.1 and above that could continue to grow comparatively greater notification engagement rates, as more devices adopt its latest operating systems.

Notifications are more ephemeral on iOS. Once a user unlocks an iOS device, all the notifications previously seen on the lock screen are moved to the Notification Center and grouped by app rather than chronologically, making it difficult to determine which notification just arrived moments before. iOS also extends controls to users to select how notifications will appear (alert box or banner) and if their arrival will be accompanied by sound, versus Android’s binary choice of Show/Do Not.

“A core advantage of apps is the ability to reach out beyond their confines to engage people on device home screens and smartwatch faces—the only always-on screens that are never more than a glance away,” said Brett Caine, president and CEO, Urban Airship. “Data shows the difference between good and great mobile engagement is only getting bigger, making it critical that brands treat mobile engagement as a personal experience for their users.”

Similar to Urban Airship’s first benchmark report on notification opt-in rates, analysis discovered a significant and widening gap between the notification engagement rates of high-performers versus the medium—it’s a bigger difference than what separates the medium-performers from the low. High-performing apps on iOS get six times more engagement with notifications than medium performers; on Android, it’s nearly four times more than medium rates.

Medium-performing apps should focus on implementing greater targeting, rules-based automation and general message optimization to attain greater notification response rates. Apps in the 10th percentile of notification engagement rates—5 percent on Android and 2 percent on iOS—should consider re-architecting messaging strategies immediately before users generally tune out, or, at worst, delete the app.

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