It’s a Myth That You Can Make Money Online| By |Graham Jones

You can’t move far online before you are met with advice on how to make millions. There are all kinds of promises on how you can achieve online success, almost overnight. There are endless “secrets” and you can sign up for hundreds of courses all supposedly showing you how to use the Internet to make money.

Guess what? Most of what you read is nonsense. The majority of the people selling you their “secrets” aren’t rich and haven’t made much money online – if anything.

Yet, there are success stories. Darren Rowse has become a hugely successful blogger. Zoella, a British YouTuber, blogger and author, earns an estimated £50,000 a month online. Meanwhile, her brother Joe – another YouTuber, known as “Thatcher Joe” – has earned an estimated £1.3m from his online activity.

However, these examples – which many people aspire to – are the icing on a very big cake. According to a new study by Cornell University Assistant Professor, Brooke Erin Duffy, hardly anyone makes money online. In her forthcoming book, (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work, she reveals the results of her research showing that earning money from online activities like blogging and social media is only achievable by a tiny number.

Dr Duffy’s book focuses on female bloggers and social media “personalities”. In it, she says: “I learned that, often, these young women were motivated by the wider culture’s siren call to “get paid to do what you love.” But their experiences often fell short of the promise: only a few rise above the din to achieve major success. The rest are un(der)-paid, remunerated with deferred promises of “exposure” or “visibility”– even as they work long hours to satisfy brands and project authenticity to observant audiences.”

In other words, it’s all “smoke and mirrors”. People might appear to be doing well online, but they are keeping up the facade in order to pursue their dream, which continues to be constantly far away into the distance.

The fact is, that most online activity doesn’t produce any direct income. It is estimated that of all the billions of pounds being made online, around 95% of that is shared by about ten companies. The huge majority of websites, blogs, social media accounts and so on are a COST to the business, not a source of profit.

Almost a decade ago, a study by ReadWrite revealed the answer. It showed that blogging, for example, didn’t really lead to much income for people. However, it was the consultancy that the bloggers could do which leads to the real income.

Go back to those YouTubers and bloggers that have made it. Look where their income comes from. Yes, they make money from online advertising. True they earn cash from selling products through affiliate links. But the vast majority of what they earn is “offline”. It is consultancy, media work, speaking, and so on. In other words, even the leading online income earners don’t generally make most of their money simply from what they do on the Internet.

That’s the trick to their success – and the reason why the dreamers fail. The top bloggers, YouTubers and social media personalities see what they do online merely as a vehicle for their business – just a channel to market. They don’t perceive what they do as the income generator itself.

The dreamers think differently. They aspire to be like their online heroes but fail to spot that they actually run businesses and use their blogging or social media activities to generate income in other ways.

We need to stop thinking of the Internet as a way of making money. Rather, we should think of the web as a way of generating interest in what we do in our business and then make money as a result of that. In other words, your website or blogging or YouTubing is just a lead generator.

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Beyond Tap-to-Pay: Apple Opens Up NFC| By |Katie Cantu

“Just for a minute, let’s all do the bump.”
—MC Hammer “Can’t Touch This”

Was this MC Hammer classic the inspiration for near-field communications (NFC)? Probably not. But little did he know his prophetic lyrics pointed to the future as we now bump/tap our phones to pay.

Years ago, that’s all Apple thought NFC was good for, with Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi going as far as saying: (As he) put it—whilst miming said NFC-induced social awkwardness—“No need to wander around the room bumping your phone.”

Now, fast-forward to Apple’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple quietly opened up support for Core NFC, which could give developers more access and options in the way iPhones communicate with connected devices via NFC technology.

Phone bumps aside, this begs the question: Why the change of heart regarding NFC?

Maybe it’s because NFC, as a user experience, is becoming part of our user habits. With global mobile payment users projected to reach 166 million people and as more banks and credit card companies develop their own payment apps, opening up NFC could turn the iPhone into a full digital wallet to keep all your payment options.

Beyond the bits, bytes, dollars, and cents.

We like money. Everyone likes money. But we’re looking beyond payment options, though, for the NFC possibilities iOS 11 could enable. It could open a whole new world for brands and marketers and enhance the way you communicate with your consumers.

In the five zones of the consumer’s retail journey we’ve identified, this enhanced communication would happen in Zone 4—the “Remind and Engage” zone. With NFC technology, you’ll have the ability to enhance product experiences via shoppers’ own devices and create trackable, two-way dialogues, providing a deeper experience for opt-in shoppers.

Want to run a sweepstakes and build your brand? Create tap-to-enter giveaways with NFC chips embedded in your product packaging. How about tap-and-play tutorials for recipes and cooking techniques that’ll help you with your fresh meal kit delivery? These are just a couple of quick examples of how you can create engagement with a new consumer base and deliver interesting, new ways to engage with your loyal fans.

Bump your speakers. Bump your fridge. Bump your washing machine.

While your customers can make a connection with your brand, NFC can also help them physically connect products, especially in the case of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. By 2020, the number of IoT devices installed worldwide is projected to reach 30.73 billion.

For all these devices, NFC can help make it easier to control smart home solutions. Everything from using your phone as a key to controlling lights to pairing your phone with your appliances (they’re all smarter than us now) can be done quick and easy via NFC.

Millions of iPhone owners would be able to take advantage of all the NFC-enabled washing machines, fridges, printers, speakers, and more that are entering the marketplace. In return, it gives those brands a whole new audience that gets to use these cool new features. Dare we ask: Could it open the door for Apple’s own line of IoT devices with proprietary NFC interactivity?

Is NFC about to hit the big time?

As we all know, Apple and its loyal consumer base can start trends and make features “cool.” Will this be the case for NFC? Maybe, especially if Apple can deliver the simple, seamless user experience they’re known to deliver in a fresh, new way. It looks like Apple has put the paddles on NFC, yelled “clear,” and zapped it, giving it new life.

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Beyond Tap-to-Pay: Apple Opens Up NFC| By |Katie Cantu

“Just for a minute, let’s all do the bump.”
—MC Hammer “Can’t Touch This”

Was this MC Hammer classic the inspiration for near-field communications (NFC)? Probably not. But little did he know his prophetic lyrics pointed to the future as we now bump/tap our phones to pay.

Years ago, that’s all Apple thought NFC was good for, with Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi going as far as saying: (As he) put it—whilst miming said NFC-induced social awkwardness—“No need to wander around the room bumping your phone.”

Now, fast-forward to Apple’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple quietly opened up support for Core NFC, which could give developers more access and options in the way iPhones communicate with connected devices via NFC technology.

Phone bumps aside, this begs the question: Why the change of heart regarding NFC?

Maybe it’s because NFC, as a user experience, is becoming part of our user habits. With global mobile payment users projected to reach 166 million people and as more banks and credit card companies develop their own payment apps, opening up NFC could turn the iPhone into a full digital wallet to keep all your payment options.

Beyond the bits, bytes, dollars, and cents.

We like money. Everyone likes money. But we’re looking beyond payment options, though, for the NFC possibilities iOS 11 could enable. It could open a whole new world for brands and marketers and enhance the way you communicate with your consumers.

In the five zones of the consumer’s retail journey we’ve identified, this enhanced communication would happen in Zone 4—the “Remind and Engage” zone. With NFC technology, you’ll have the ability to enhance product experiences via shoppers’ own devices and create trackable, two-way dialogues, providing a deeper experience for opt-in shoppers.

Want to run a sweepstakes and build your brand? Create tap-to-enter giveaways with NFC chips embedded in your product packaging. How about tap-and-play tutorials for recipes and cooking techniques that’ll help you with your fresh meal kit delivery? These are just a couple of quick examples of how you can create engagement with a new consumer base and deliver interesting, new ways to engage with your loyal fans.

Bump your speakers. Bump your fridge. Bump your washing machine.

While your customers can make a connection with your brand, NFC can also help them physically connect products, especially in the case of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. By 2020, the number of IoT devices installed worldwide is projected to reach 30.73 billion.

For all these devices, NFC can help make it easier to control smart home solutions. Everything from using your phone as a key to controlling lights to pairing your phone with your appliances (they’re all smarter than us now) can be done quick and easy via NFC.

Millions of iPhone owners would be able to take advantage of all the NFC-enabled washing machines, fridges, printers, speakers, and more that are entering the marketplace. In return, it gives those brands a whole new audience that gets to use these cool new features. Dare we ask: Could it open the door for Apple’s own line of IoT devices with proprietary NFC interactivity?

Is NFC about to hit the big time?

As we all know, Apple and its loyal consumer base can start trends and make features “cool.” Will this be the case for NFC? Maybe, especially if Apple can deliver the simple, seamless user experience they’re known to deliver in a fresh, new way. It looks like Apple has put the paddles on NFC, yelled “clear,” and zapped it, giving it new life.

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What Not to Do After a Data Breach| By |Juan Martinez

Thousands of words have been written about how to prevent cyberattacks and what to do if you’ve been targeted. You’re probably already familiar with terms such as endpoint protection and data backup and recovery. These solutions and services are great for protecting you and helping you get back up and running once an attack has been resolved. Unfortunately, there’s no standard playbook for a data breach and your actions during a disaster could be as harmful as they are helpful.

In this article, I will discuss what companies should avoid doing once they realize their systems have been breached. I spoke to several experts from security companies and industry analysis firms to better understand the potential pitfalls and disaster scenarios that develop in the wake of cyberattacks.

1. Do Not Improvise

How We Test Security Software

In the event of an attack, your first instinct will tell you to begin the process of rectifying the situation. This may include protecting the endpoints that have been targeted or reverting to previous backups to close up the entry point used by your attackers. Unfortunately, if you hadn’t previous developed a strategy, then whatever hasty decisions you make after an attack could worsen the situation.

“The first thing you should not do after a breach is create your response on the fly,” said Mark Nunnikhoven, Vice President of Cloud Research at cyber security solution provider Trend Micro. “A critical part of your incident response plan is preparation. Key contacts should be mapped out ahead of time and stored digitally. It should also be available in hard copy in case of a catastrophic breach. When responding to a breach, the last thing you need to be doing is trying to figure out who is responsible for what actions and who can authorize various responses.”

Ermis Sfakiyanudis, President and CEO of data protection services company Trivalent, agrees with this approach. He said it’s critical that companies “do not freak out” after they’ve been hit by a breach. “While unpreparedness in the face of a data breach can cause irreparable damage to a company, panic and disorganization can also be extremely detrimental,” he explained. “It is critical that a breached company not stray from its incident response plan, which should include identifying the suspected cause of the incident as a first step. For example, was the breach caused by a successful ransomware attack, malware on the system, a firewall with an open port, outdated software, or unintentional insider threat? Next, isolate the effected system and eradicate the cause of the breach to ensure your system is out of danger.”

Sfakiyanudis said it’s vital that companies ask for help when they’re in over their heads. “If you determine that a breach has indeed occurred following your internal investigation, bring in third-party expertise to help handle and mitigate the fallout,” he said. “This includes legal counsel, outside investigators who can conduct a thorough forensic investigation, and public relations and communication experts who can create strategy and communicate to the media on your behalf.

“With this combined expert guidance, organizations can remain calm through the chaos, identifying what vulnerabilities caused the data breach, remediating so the issue doesn’t happen again in the future, and ensuring their response to affected customers is appropriate and timely. They can also work with their legal counsel to determine if and when law enforcement should be notified.”

2. Do Not Go Silent

Security Breach

Once you’ve been attacked, it’s comforting to think that no one outside of your inner circle knows what just happened. Unfortunately, the risk here isn’t worth the reward. You’ll want to communicate with staffers, vendors, and customers to let everyone know what has been accessed, what you did to remedy the situation, and what plans you intend to take to ensure no similar attacks occur in the future. “Don’t ignore your own employees,” advised Heidi Shey, Senior Analyst of Security & Risk at Forrester Research. “You need to communicate with your employees about the event, and provide guidance for your employees about what to do or say if they asked about the breach.”

Shey, like Sfakiyanudis, said you may want to look into hiring a public relations team to help control the messaging behind your response. This is especially true for large and expensive consumer-facing data breaches. “Ideally, you’d want such a provider identified in advance as a part of your incident response planning so you can be ready to kick off your response,” she explained.

Just because you’re being proactive about notifying the public that you’ve been breached, it doesn’t mean that you can start issuing wild statements and proclamations. For example, when toymaker VTech was breached, photos of children and chat logs were accessed by a hacker. After the situation had died down, the toymaker changed its Terms of Service to relinquish its responsibility in the event of a breach. Needless to say, customers were not happy. “You don’t want to look like you’re resorting to hiding behind legal means, whether that’s in avoiding liability or controlling the narrative,” said Shey. “Better to have a breach response and crisis management plan in place to help with breach-related communications.”

3. Do Not Make False or Misleading Statements

How to Be Interesting on Social Media (Without Getting Fired)

This is an obvious one but you’ll want to be as accurate and honest as possible when addressing the public. This is beneficial to your brand, but it’s also beneficial to how much money you’ll recoup from your cyber-insurance policy should you have one. “Don’t issue public statements without consideration for the implications of what you’re saying and how you sound,” said Nunnikoven.

“Was it really a ‘sophisticated’ attack? Labeling it as such doesn’t necessarily make it true,” he continued. “Does your CEO really need to call this an ‘act of terrorism’? Have you read the fine print of your cyber-insurance policy to understand exclusions?”

Nunnikhoven recommends crafting messages that are “no-bull, frequent, and which clearly state actions that are being taken and those that need to be taken.” Trying to spin the situation, he said, tends to make things worse. “When users hear about a breach from a third party, it immediately erodes hard-won trust,” he explained. “Get out in front of the situation and stay in front, with a steady stream of concise communications in all channels where you’re already active.”

4. Do Not Close Incidents Too Soon

2016 HR Tech Forecast: Copycats, Data Analytics, Wearables & More

You’ve closed your corrupted endpoints. You’ve contacted your employees and customers. You’ve recovered all of your data. The clouds have parted and a ray of sunshine has cascaded onto your desk. Not so fast. Although it may seem as if your crisis has ended, you’ll want to continue to aggressively and proactively monitor your network to ensure there are no follow-up attacks.

“There is a huge amount of pressure to restore services and recover after a breach,” said Nunnikhoven. “Attackers move quickly through networks once they gain a foothold, so it’s hard to make a concrete determination that you’ve addressed the entire issue. Staying diligent and monitoring more aggressively is an important step until you’re sure the organization is in the clear.”

Sfakiyanudis agrees with this assessment. “After a data breach is resolved and regular business operations resume, do not assume the same technology and plans you had in place pre-breach will be sufficient,” he said. “There are gaps in your security strategy that were exploited and, even after these gaps are addressed, it doesn’t mean there won’t be more in the future. In order to take a more proactive approach to data protection moving forward, treat your data breach response plan as a living document. As individuals change roles and the organization evolves via mergers, acquisitions, etc., the plan needs to change as well.”

5. Do Not Forget to Investigate

How We Test Security Software

“When investigating a breach, document everything,” said Sfakiyanudis. “Gathering information on an incident is critical in validating that a breach occurred, what systems and data were impacted, and how mitigation or remediation was addressed. Log results of investigations through data capture and analysis so they are available for review post-mortem.

“Be sure to also interview anyone involved and carefully document their responses,” he continued. “Creating detailed reports with disk images, as well as details on who, what, where, and when the incident occurred, will help you implement any new or missing risk mitigation or data protection measures.”

If your company is too analog to conduct this analysis on its own, you’ll probably want to hire an external team to conduct this investigation for you (as Sfakiyanudis mentioned earlier). Take notes on the search process as well. Note what services you were offered, which vendors you spoke to, and whether or not you were happy with the investigation process. This information will help you determine whether or not to stick with your vendor, choose a new vendor, or hire in-house staff who’s capable of conducting these processes should your company be unlucky enough to suffer a second breach.

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Mobile Gaming UX: 4 Essential Tips and Tricks| By |Hannah Levenson

Pexels / Pixabay

If you want to deliver a great mobile game user experience, you must first understand what your gamers are like, and what they need. Some of these needs are universal to all gamers, while others are unique to the mobile platform. And just to make things clear right from the get-go – graphics has never been a necessity, on any platform, any genre, ever.

Gamers’ needs that are the same, regardless of the platform, are fairly obvious: they want to experience fun. They want fresh, creative ideas. And finally – they want to be challenged.

When it comes to what your gamers are like – it’s vital to understand that mobile gamers are different from console and PC gamers. The latter are usually more avid gamers, with plenty of gaming foreknowledge and experience. Mobile gamers, on the other hand, are mostly casuals and newbies to gaming in general.

So building games for mobile means you have to prepare for a mix of newbies and veteran gamers, that both want to experience same levels of fun, creativity, and challenge.

Below you’ll find some of the essential tips for delivering such a user experience in mobile gaming apps.

‘Challenging’ and ‘fun’ aren’t always the same thing

What all games with great UX have in common is that they’re offering their players a challenge. That can be a puzzle that needs solving, reflexes to be trained, or a living, breathing competitor to be defeated with a mix of different skills. Essentially, games would not be games if they did not offer a ‘challenge’. However, this can be challenging for the app pros themselves (see what I did there?).

They need to be careful not to build a game that’s too complex for the newbies, or too simple for veterans. Having a steady difficulty progression is key to offering a fun, challenging game. For example, a puzzle game can start simple enough, but evolve into a more difficult challenge. Or, for a multiplayer game, having a well-designed matchmaking system that won’t pair complete newbies with hardcore veterans can result in a great user experience for all types of gamers.

In order to make sure the game is both challenging and fun to newbies and veterans, you’ll need a quality onboarding process. A hint system, or a beginner tutorial is common practice, and for a good reason. It allows newbies to get acquainted with the game’s mechanics and basic genre features. For example, a beginner’s guide for an RPG could teach newbies how to create and customize their characters, how to collect gear and what it does for them.

With games, it’s also essential to allow players to skip the beginner’s tutorial. That way, the game allows more experienced users to jump straight into the action, instead of wasting time going through things they already know. Consequently – the game ends up being equally fun and challenging for both newbies and veterans, while also not being too boring or too complex to both groups.

Analyze and optimize

As much as they can be entertaining and fun, mobile games can also be a cause of great frustration for users. Poorly designed controls, levels that are near impossible to complete, crashes, cheating and hacking, those are just some of the things that can frustrate gamers and annul all the effort placed into creating an awesome UX. It is thus of the utmost importance to constantly keep track of the game’s key performance indicators, as well as users’ behavior. A great way of tracking user experience is through qualitative analytics tools. They allow app pros to see exactly how their app is being used, through features like touch heatmaps or user session recordings.

Touch heatmaps aggregate all user gestures and present it as a heatmap, allowing app pros to see how users physically interact with the app. Such a feature is great for spotting navigation patterns, analyzing the intuitiveness of the game’s controls, and identifying bugs and unresponsive gestures. Let’s say, for example, that an 8-pool game was built with a pull-and-release mechanism. With touch heatmaps, app pros noticed that many users swipe to kick the ball. In the app’s next iteration, the new play mechanism was introduced, increasing retention and boosting user experience by offering more intuitive controls.

The other qualitative analytics feature that can be put to good use here is user session recordings. This tool allows app pros to watch real-time recordings, of users playing their game. With user session recordings, it becomes much easier to spot flaws in game design, visualize crashes, or examine bugs which would allow some players an unfair advantage over others.

Mind the screen

When PC gamers have a smaller display, they can play around with their screen’s resolution to make sure they don’t miss out on important details. Console players rarely suffer due to screen size, but those that do usually get to sit closer to the TV. Mobile users, on the other hand, are denied that commodity, which means the responsibility lies completely on the app pros. Nowadays, we have mobile devices with screens ranging from four inches up to six, seven, with different aspect ratios (hello, LG G6) and different resolutions.

Games need to fit perfectly on a wide range of different devices with different screens, and different modes (landscape vs portrait). If a game tries to cramp up too many details, it can’t expect to offer a compelling user experience. Similar thing can happen with controls and heads-up displays. Without controllers, keyboards or mice, the screen becomes the controller too, further limiting the screen real estate. This is especially important when creating games for kids, since kids are more likely to accidentally tap buttons on the bottom of screens.

Looking at some of the world’s most famous and successful mobile games (thinking Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Temple Run), we see a strong pattern in the way they handle controls and HUDs – the elimination of as much of the interface as possible. Whenever you can, have the users tap on the screen itself in order to play the game. Also, try to use the first few levels as onboarding, where gamers can learn about the controls. The less screen real estate you use for controls, the better.

If it can be social, make it social

The best games are those that can be played or shared with friends, in one way or another. Competing with them, sharing a screen with them, or meeting on a server for a virtual duel, any type of social aspect works wonders for the game’s user experience.

It’s true – the world’s most popular games are essentially ones with the focus on multiplayer – World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, just to name a few. Mobile games, even though some have the classic multiplayer approach, like Clash of Clans, go mostly for leaderboards for the social aspect. Angry Birds has them, Flappy Bird has them (hell, the entire point of the game was to have a better score than your friends), Football Manager has them. And we’re talking about the best performing, most popular mobile games ever created. That’s why, if there is any possibility of adding a social aspect to the game, make sure to add it.

Leaderboards will allow gamers to compete against each other, creating additional challenges. Co-op mode is also an extra challenge, as it requires coordination and teamwork. Co-op is also a great way to deliver an amazing user experience because it refreshes the game and brings new ideas to an already familiar environment. Being able to share your scores, screenshots or videos easily to social media is usually considered a bonus as it allows gamers to challenge others and brag about their achievements. All of that increases the game’s virality potential, helping app pros get to audiences that were previously beyond their reach.

Wrap-up

Delivering an amazing user experience in a mobile app is simple in theory, but quite challenging in execution. It means giving players fun, which requires challenging, fresh, socially-driven content. But with a well thought-out strategy, and continuing optimization, the goal is not beyond reach. And to call the results rewarding would be a severe understatement.

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Chinese Lunar Rover Discovering that Moon Landings Were Faked Is A Hoax| By |Erica Abbott

WikiImages / Pixabay

Reports that a Chinese lunar rover found no evidence that the moon landings were real are false. This is just one of many hoax stories that have stemmed from moon landing conspiracy theories.

According to PolitiFact, the fake claim was recently published by the Anti News Network, a disreputable news website. The article, which was first shared as early as 2013, claimed that the Chinese lunar rover found no proof that the American moon landings had ever happened. It purported:

A new scandal has happened after high ranking officials from the Chinese space program called the American moon landing “a complete hoax”, the Beijing Daily Express reports.

The claims came after the Chinese moon rover allegedly couldn’t find any proof of American landings on the Moon.

The rover took thousands of photos and after analyzing them the Chinese discovered that there’s no trace of these moon landings.

There is no truth to this report. The rumor has been circulating the internet for several years after it was published with different variations by websites such as NewsBiscuit and World News Daily Report, whose disclaimer notes that their articles are purely satirical:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

Long-standing conspiracy theories claim that the moon landings were faked by the U.S. government. This hoax has, of course, been debunked numerous times over the years. China did, in fact, launch a lunar rover in 2013 but its mission had nothing to do with the Apollo mission. The Yutu rover revealed more about the moon’s complex history.

Here are some examples of people sharing the fake story on social media:

Social Media Shares Fake Story about Chinese Lunar Rover Finding No Evidence of Moon Landings

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Have you seen the fake story about a Chinese lunar rover discovering that the moon landings were faked circulating social media? What are your thoughts on moon landing conspiracy theories? Sound off in the comments section below!

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What’s the Difference Between Push Notifications & Email?| By |Megan Marrs

Push notifications and emails are both powerful ways to deliver messages to your users.

While these two mediums have some similarities, the methods and strategies used in email marketing are quite different than what is required to be successful with mobile push notifications.

Today we’re exploring how push and email differ, and what you need to know to do push notifications right!

Key Differences Between Push Notifications vs Email

Length: Push Notifications are Super Short

The most obvious difference between push messages and emails is the length. While emails can vary in length, push messages are often less than 50 characters!

While you never want to take up too much of your customer’s time, with push notifications, hitting that short and sweet mark is even more important.

Most users simply won’t engage with long push notifications that look more like prose than alerts – keep your messages short, clear, and to the point.

Intimacy: Smartphone Push Notifications Trump Inbox For Intimacy

Marketers recognize that an individual’s inbox is a much more intimate space than a web browsing session, but push notifications are even more intimate.

Users look to their phone when they’re nervous, curious, in bed, in the bathroom – for many, a smartphone is similar to a safety blanket.

opentable segmentation.png

Asking for a user’s attention in such a personal, intimate space requires a certain level of tact. If an email to a user’s inbox is like ringing the front doorbell, a push notification is like knocking on the bedroom door!

Never be spammy or obnoxious with your push notifications, and always highlight the value and user incentive. You should only be sending push notifications about news that will be interesting to the user, not interesting just for your app (for example, will users really care about the 2.3 edition of your app that features new button sizes? Probably not, so don’t bug them about it).

Different Tolerance Thresholds: Push Gets Away With Less

Many users will opt into mailing lists and never unsubscribe – they’ll simply ignore your emails or delete them when they come in.

While of course you’d rather have users read your emails than delete them, the relatively low chance of an unsubscribe action allows for multiple opportunities to reach out and re-engage with users.

However, most app users have a much lower tolerance threshold when it comes to push notifications – if you message them every day with annoying interruptions that provide no value, they’ll turn off push notifications and you’ll never be able to contact them again.

Getting users to re-activate push permissions after they turn them off is very difficult, so it’s best to tread carefully when composing your push notification campaign.

Content vs. Alert: Email Tends to Deliver More Completed Content

One major difference between these two communication channels is what they are used for.

Both emails and push notifications can be used to alert customers to a special sale or new features.

However, while emails can serve directly as content, push notifications don’t really have this ability, except in a very limited capacity.

In an email, you can provide users with a full blog-post length piece of content if you’d like. You can give a complete message with no additional action needed.

Push notifications, on the other hand, are almost always acting as a middle man, trying to get users to click into your app or take further action.

This isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions – weather updates and transactional notifications are a few ways to deliver content directly via push notifications.

Still, for the most part, push is used to drive additional action, rather than serve value by itself.

Sound Alerts, Punctuation, Emojis, & Rich Push

Unique sound alerts, punctuation, and emojis are all powerful tools for making a push notification stand out and capture attention.

While punctuation and emojis are also incorporated into some emails, they primarily focus on just the subject line.

Push notifications also have the unique ability to, in some cases, attach CTA-style buttons to their messages.

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Push notifications can even include images or other extra media. These are referred to as rich push notifications, and they’re definitely worth experimenting with!

More Rewarding A/B Testing With Push

There’s no denying that A/B testing is vital for pulling off a successful marketing campaign, and that’s true for email and push alike.

However, A/B testing with push notifications is unique because you have such little content to work with.

This means that even the tiniest changes can reap huge rewards – whether that involves adjusting just one or two words, mixing up punctuation, or switching a smiling emoji for one that’s crying for joy (we humans are a fickle bunch).

Because even tiny changes can have big effects, some may find A/B testing with push a bit more fun and exciting than with other mediums like email.

The Most Meaningful Metrics: What to Measure for Push vs Email

Push notifications and emails share some similar metrics for measuring success, as well as a couple key differences.

For both methods, it’s important to examine:

  • Open Rates. Whether email or push, it’s important to know how many users are opening and looking at your message. For push, this would apply to those notifications which you can expand to consume the whole message.
  • Click-Through-Rate. Push notifications and emails also both rely heavily on CTR as a metric to measure. Who is clicking through on your messages and being sent on to the next step in your campaign path?
  • Conversion Rate. Conversion rate is another metrics that’s essential for both push and email. Was your message effective at driving a conversion?

Push notifications have a few additional metrics that are important to take into account, such as:

  • Time in App After Notification. This is an additional metric to help measure the engagement that resulted from your push message. Some users may not click through on your push notification, but may go open your app later as a result of your interaction.

Push Provides the Ultimate Personalization Power

Marketers have already been implementing personalization strategies into email – usually this simply involves capturing an individual’s name, and incorporating that into the email message.

However, apps have the ability to take personalization to the next level – we’re talking way more powerful info than just a user’s name.

With apps, you can collection a vast amount of user data including:

  • Past purchases
  • Location
  • Tastes and interests
  • App activity and time in app
  • Plus tons of other detailed behaviors and demographic data

App marketers can then segment individuals into various groups based on their behaviors and user data, while creating targeted funnels personalized to each segment.

For example, imagine one user spends most of their time in your news app watching videos, while another user spends time reading hot-off-the-press text articles.

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You might create two different push notifications (one notifying the user of a new video, the other pointing out a new article) to promote the same news story, personalized for the two different users.

This kind of deep personalization is highly valuable, and access to large swaths of user data allow push notifications to use a unique level of granularity that emails can’t come close to matching.

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As you can see, while push notifications and emails have some similarities, they are, for the most part, entirely different beasts.

Don’t make the mistake of copy and pasting your email marketing strategies onto push; push notifications require an entirely different approach and need their own tailored campaigns to truly capitalize on the power of push!

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