Push notifications are a double-edged sword

From Semil Shah:

Push notifications aren’t an entirely new phenomenon, but as mobile handset growth continues to accelerate (along with faster handset releases), push alerts only grow in importance as a channel for applications to communicate with and re-engage users. In theory, push notifications seem elegant, a way to prompt a mobile user at the right place, at the right time, regarding the right piece of information.

…It’s early days in mobile, but I believe the tacky growth-hacky tactics which persist on the web and through email won’t work as well on mobile because push notifications are even more of an interruption and limited to 140 or less characters. This puts app developers in a bind: If an app desperately needs re-engagement, there’s a perverse incentive to flood the notification channel, but if those alerts (and the app itself) aren’t truly relevant to the mobile user, well, the clock starts ticking before either the company doesn’t exist or the user shortcuts it all and deletes the app from the phone altogether.

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