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Push notification metrics: How to measure performance

Push notifications play a key role in mobile app marketing, and brands are taking note. According to our State of Messaging Report, there was a 49% year-over-year increase in brands using push to reach customers in 2023. That’s a significant leap—and a testament to the effectiveness of push notifications as a marketing tactic.

But you’ll need a deep understanding of push notification metrics to capitalize on this channel’s conversion potential. 

Unlike email marketing, push notifications can throw your usual KPI targets for a loop. For example, many marketers see much lower open rates for push compared to emails. If this sounds like you, you may have found yourself asking questions like, “Oh no! Are my messages underperforming?” Or worse, “Is my mobile SDK integration broken?!” Luckily, the answer is almost always “No.”

Instead, you simply need to rethink how you measure push notification performance. Let’s dive into which metrics you should track and how to interpret them.

Here’s what we’ll be covering today:

The State of Messaging Report 2023

Push notification delivery rate

One of the most important metrics to track is your push delivery rate. It’s calculated simply by dividing the number of messages delivered by the total number of messages sent. 

Delivery rate = (delivered/sent)*100

This metric is crucial for understanding if your push notifications are actually reaching your target audience. Yet, delivery rates are inexact for a host of technical reasons, mainly because mobile devices don’t always expose delivery information.

If you can see a message has been delivered, it’s likely that one of your customers has seen it and was influenced by it even if they didn’t open it. Luckily, we can measure this influence using conversions (more on that later).

Bottom line: Delivery rate alone does not paint the full picture of push notification performance. So, while it’s important to aim for a high delivery rate, the open and conversion rates are much more exact.

Pro tip: By default, the mobile SDK within Journeys automatically tracks delivered statuses for push notifications (if they originate from our product). Otherwise, you can track push metrics with the trackMetric method below:

   deliveryID = deliveryId,
   deviceToken = deliveryToken,
   event = MetricEvent.delivered

Push notification open rate

Open rates tell you the percentage of users who open a push notification after receiving it on their device. It’s calculated by dividing the number of opened push notifications by the total number sent.

Open rate = (opens/sent)*100

On average, open rates for push notifications are quite low—and that’s completely normal. In fact, the industry average open rate for push is only about 4%, according to our platform data. This mostly has to do with user behavior—and here’s why. 

Imagine you have a language-learning app and send a campaign to customers who completed the Spanish 101 course. A personalized push notification might look like this:

  • Title: Way to ace Spanish 101, Susan!
  • BodyFelicidades on finishing Spanish 101 in just 4 weeks! Visit the app today for an exclusive discount: 40% off of Spanish 102.
Push notification metrics: example push notification

To actually open the push, Susan must tap the notification or trigger the app. But unlike email, she gets the key message content even if she glances at the notification without opening it.

Let’s say she’s in a meeting when the notification pops up, so she quickly looks down at her phone and then dismisses the message, making a mental note to sign up later that day. During her lunch break, she opens the app and signs up for Spanish 102. The push converted, even though she never opened it. But if you’re only measuring push performance with open rates, you’ll never know the message was successful. 

Bottom line: Don’t rely too heavily on open rates to measure your push performance. Instead, conversion rates will be your go-to for performance measurement.

What’s the difference between Android and iOS for push performance? 

iOS notifications are displayed once and then moved to the message center. People see the message when it pops up but don’t have to touch the screen to dismiss it. 

On the other hand, Android notifications stick around until you manually swipe to dismiss them. While that can give customers more of a chance to engage, it can also lead to accidental opens when people try to clear their notifications.

Bottom line: Don’t put too much stock into the difference between iOS and Android open rates.

What about push notification CTR?

Unlike email marketing, push notification CTR is measured almost like an open. 

Let’s say you’ve included a deep link to your app within the push notification. When a user taps your push notification, they’ll automatically be dropped to the specific screen you’ve linked to within the message. So, in this sense, push open rate and push click-through rate are the same thing. 

Bottom line: An open signifies viewing the push notification and actively engaging with it via a click.

Push notification conversion rate

Both delivery and open rates are important, but what matters most is whether your push notifications are driving conversions. Conversion rate measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action—like opening your app or making a purchase—after a push notification is delivered. That’s why setting conversion goals for your push campaigns is super important.

Conversion rate = (conversions/delivered)*100

Push notification metrics: Example of setting a conversion goal in

Let’s return to the earlier example of Susan’s unopened push notification. If she receives it at 10:00 a.m. and signs up for Spanish 102 at 12:45 p.m., you can infer that the push caused the conversion. In fact, any conversion that occurs within a day or two of a push campaign is a strong indicator of engagement. As you measure behavior over time, you might discover your customers respond within a shorter or longer interval.

Bottom line: SDKs with customized conversion goals give you far better insight into push performance than open rates.

Pro tip: To track engagement with’s SDK, just add a conversion goal to your campaign. Conversion goals in are fully customizable; you define the behaviors and timeframes that are meaningful for your customers. 

3 techniques for improving push notification performance

Now that you know which metrics to track, your next step is to build a strategy for optimal performance. Here are three actionable methods you can use to elevate your push notification results.

1. Always use personalization

When it comes to push, relevance reigns supreme. Customers are all too ready to opt out of push notifications (or delete your app altogether) when they feel your messaging doesn’t hit the mark.

Instead, you’ll increase the chances of engagement if you use personalization throughout your messaging. In fact, our State of Messaging report found that 63% of brands point to behavioral triggers as yielding the highest ROI. Responding to customer actions and tailoring your content accordingly is key to success. 

Example: Say you’re using push notifications during onboarding. Consider including a deep link in your push that takes users back to the last screen they viewed. That way, they can continue their journey without interruption.

Bottom line: Personalization is critical to a sound push notification strategy. Leverage customer data to deliver a custom-tailored experience to your users and watch your engagement rise.

2. Try incorporating rich media

As the saying goes…a picture is worth a thousand words! Simple push messages typically include a title, text-only message, and your logo, but rich push allows you to create more engaging content and calls to action. You can include images, videos, and deep links that provide greater context and give you a ton of flexibility to experiment with your messaging.

Example: Say you’re announcing a new feature to existing users. You might include an image of the feature in your push notification and a deep link to the screen within your app where a user can learn more about it. This creates a more engaging user experience and will likely boost conversions.

Bottom line: Rich media can be a powerful value-add to your push notifications, helping increase engagement. 

3. Take an omnichannel approach to messaging

It’s one thing to optimize your push notification strategy; it’s another to create a unified messaging strategy across all your channels. That’s what omnichannel marketing is all about.

As the State of Messaging report highlights, 64% of brands already have a multi-channel messaging strategy. Yet, the brands that can strategically evolve from multi-channel to omnichannel will reap the rewards of higher engagement across the board.

Example: Say you’re aiming to launch an omnichannel campaign for users at risk of churn. First, you might send a “We miss you” nudge via push to drive users back into your app. Then, you might send an email with a “See what you’ve been missing” message that includes information about all the new features you’ve launched since they last logged in. Finally, once they jump back into your app, you might prompt an in-app message giving users a tour of all that’s new and exciting.

Bottom line: Omnichannel messaging creates a consistent experience for users across channels. That’s great for your users and great for engagement.

Improving push notification performance begins and ends with your customers

Once you fully understand push performance metrics, you’ll be better set to create a strategy that delivers the outcomes you want to see. Tracking your delivery, open, and conversion rates is a great place to start, as these metrics clearly show how your customers respond to your messaging. Then, you can incorporate personalization, rich media, and omnichannel techniques to improve engagement.

But remember: success in marketing never solely boils down to metrics. Instead, success hinges on the connections you forge with your customers by creating relevant, engaging experiences for them at every turn. When you do that, you foster an environment where customers are receptive and actively responsive. That’s the ultimate testament to the genuine impact of your brand—and something metrics alone can’t measure.

Ready to push your way to increased engagement? Sign up for a free 14-day trial of today!