It’s every business owner’s online nightmare: you’re ready to launch a brand-new product or feature, but none of your users are able to find out. Why? Audience ownership. When Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other major platforms get to decide what their users see, you’re not always able to interact with your customers in a way that suits your strategy.

It’s also getting more difficult to get your content in front of the right audience, especially when it comes to advertising. With 47% of internet users blocking advertisements, browser blocking cookies, the old model of monetizing traffic is quickly becoming outdated.

More importantly, online platforms increasingly own your audience. Google, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube don’t want you to have your own pool of customers to market to. It’s in their best interest to provide their own ads to the users by utilizing your content, profiting off what you create.

Owning your audience is now more essential than ever, and will be a survival tactic for digital publishers in 2020. In fact, both publishers and e-commerce brands need to look toward audience development to drive sustainable growth. Push notifications, in particular, are lightweight, easy to commit, and usually the first port of call for audience development.

Finding the right way to go about bringing push notifications into your marketing strategy can be a challenge, however, the potential for massive boons to your sales numbers is there – provided you go about things the right way.

1. Content > Advertisements

Consumers are increasingly turned off by ads. Even if something slips through their ad blocker, they’re unlikely to engage. Paid ads only receive about 10% of clicks, compared to organic results.

Push notifications can be used to send ads, however, in an increasingly saturated market, publishers should look toward leveraging them to promote content. Providing coupons, alerts, and other interesting content allows for higher conversion rates when compared to just advertising.

When consumers opt-in to your push notifications, they’re signing up to be a part of your media environment. Instead of renting the space from Facebook or Google, you’re building an audience of your own.

Publishers and e-commerce stores sending their audience ad after ad aren’t doing themselves any favors. While push notification ads are better than online advertising, too much of it will lead to higher unsubscription rates.

Savvy e-commerce providers must personalize the push notification content to drive sales. These notifications can feed into your sales strategy – an abandoned cart notification, for instance, reminds the user of something they may have simply forgotten, allowing them the chance to re-engage.

2. Less Is More

Once publishers see the incredible ROI available via push notifications – an open rate of 50% greater than email – they are occasionally tempted to go full-force into this kind of marketing.

This is a mistake. 10-15 push notifications a day will merely turn a potential long-term customer into a never-returning-reader. Users have the option to disable notifications but only do so when the content isn’t of interest to them, or when the content turns to spam.

What’s the sweet spot to stay engaging without becoming annoying? Opting for 3-5 notifications per day works best. Regular updates keep users engaged without overwhelming them.

This may not seem like a lot, yet when coupled with a cutting-edge, data-driven marketing strategy, these brief notifications can turn into your most effective channel to date. It’s a quality-over-quantity mentality that means all the difference in the age of personalization, and one that will only grow more essential throughout the 2020s.

3. Segmented Audiences

The days of broad advertising strategies are quickly falling behind us. Now more than ever, consumers want a unique experience, with 61% of people not just wanting but expecting companies to personalize their marketing based on preferences.

Push notifications are one of the easiest ways to do this. When you own your audience, you know exactly which kinds of content appeal most to different individuals. Publishers can segment their content by genre or topic based on their data.

For example, news media companies can know which users want sports headlines delivered directly, and which ones prefer politics or local news. By targeting in this manner, you create a better path toward increased engagement (and sales) from your most dedicated consumers.

Better engagement through push notifications is an iterative process. Once you see which notifications work best, you’ll be in a better position to retarget and re-engage, later on, building your audience alongside your improved strategies.

4. Less Dependency on Google & Facebook 

Google – which accounts for 92% of all search traffic – has a strong incentive to keep your readers on their platform. They profit off the advertisements while collecting data on your customers.

It’s time to change the way things work. While owning your own audience is a process, publishers and ecommerce providers can start on the right foot with push notifications. Showing your consumers they can get better, more personalized content via your platform is the best way to reduce your dependency on Google, Facebook, and other platforms currently dominating your market share. By growing your own readership, you’re engaging in a way that sets you up for future success in the 2020s and beyond.

Let your customers show you what they’re most interested in – and then give it to them, in the form of push notifications. You’ll find your engagement efforts greatly improved in less time than you might expect, with all the control you need to make the best marketing decisions, no matter what.

Shrikant R Kale, co-founder of iZooto, an owned audience marketing platform that helps publishers build, engage, and retain their audience using web push notifications. An IIM-C product, he is looked up to for his dedication and calm demeanor. This passionate bike-lover can be easily spotted in our office 24*7 (almost!)