Guest Post by: Azat Eloyan

The internet age has transformed the way businesses reach out to their customers. There are many channels that can be used to deliver your message, however, the effectiveness of your message and whether it inspires the recipients to act upon it depends on many factors, including the channel that is used to communicate the message.

Both email and push notification channels have proven extremely effective as lead generation tools. Businesses around the world use these channels to connect with potential customers. However, digital marketers must use distinct communication strategies with each of these two channels to maximize their potential benefits.

Key Differences Between Push Notifications and Email

Before we form an opinion about either communication channel, it is important to explore the key differences between them.

The Length

An email message can be as long as you want, but you don’t want to bore your message recipients with too much information either, so sending a shorter email is usually best. Some best practices that you should follow to achieve optimal email length are as follows:

  1. Wrap up the content of your email in less than 200 words
    According to a study conducted by Constant Contact with more than 2.1 million customers, emails with the highest clickthrough rate had only about 200 words of text, or approximately 20 lines.
  2. Make sure your emails are not too short
    Although short emails with a concise and direct message receive the best response, data has shown that only 36% of emails with fewer than 10 words usually receive a response.
  3. Use language suitable for third grade reading level
    The abovementioned study also revealed that emails written at a third grade reading level had a 36% better open rate and 17% better response rate compared to those written at college reading level. Also, emails with a more informal tone have a higher chance of receiving a response.
  4. Include a few questions
    Emails with one to three questions are 50% more likely to receive a response compared to emails that don’t have any questions.
  5. Keep your subject line short
    Subject lines with three to four words work best at generating responses.
  6. Use images, but not too many.
  7. Research your recipient and personalize your email
    Personalizing the email, such as including the recipient’s name, can significantly improve your chances of receiving a response.

When communicating over mobile push notifications, best practices state you should limit your message to 50 characters. It can be extremely challenging to summarize the content of an email message in a mobile push notification. However, highlighting only the most attractive information to encourage a response to your call-to-action can produce better results compared to emails. If you have too many details to cover, then sending an email might be the better option.

A Personal Connection

Reaching someone’s inbox used to be a very personal form of communication, but nowadays people are bombarded with promotional emails all the time from many businesses. Hence, your emails can be easily ignored, unless you include a subject that compels your audience to open the message. For example, “feeling stressed? Let us help you.” is a great subject line if you are offering counselling services, or “10 tips for a great Christmas” can be a powerful subject around Christmas time.

Mobile push notifications solve this issue, as the notification space is still not as cluttered as emails. Mobile phone users still check all their notifications, and you must take advantage of this fact to generate high-quality leads. Also, push notifications immediately capture the recipient’s attention as many will check to see whether they have received an important message. It is your responsibility to make sure the message is worth their while.

Ability To Block Communication

It is very easy for mobile phone users to block push notifications, so you must make sure your notification messages are not spammy and ALWAYS deliver some value to the readers. For example, your potential leads don’t need to know about changes you have made in the app, but alerting them about the start of a promotion is a useful message they can benefit from it.

This problem is seldom encountered with emails. Many email users would rather ignore your emails than make the additional effort of unsubscribing from your mailing list. This means you will always have an open channel of communication with most of your potential leads through email. Even if you send a few emails that are not of much use, there is a very low probability that the recipients will block your emails. Hence, emails offer a greater room for error with the content of your message compared to push notifications.

The Scope of Content

Emails can be more effective in generating high-quality leads because you can share all relevant information with your target audience in an email. For example, if you are selling a product/service and wish to communicate all the benefits it offers to your customers in the first message, an email is perfect for this purpose.

With mobile push notifications, you do not have such liberty. However, if all you need to communicate is a one-liner update, such as a promotional offer, then push notifications can be more effective due to their ability to alert recipients more immediately about the message.

Message Quality

Since mobile push notifications are extremely short in length, even replacing a couple of words can make a big difference in your lead generation results. With an email, the overall quality of your message matters. For example, your email must have an appropriate template, attractive images (if required), precise content, and a clear call-to-action. However, with a push notification, you only have the power of words (and emojis) to generate leads, and this requires careful planning and extreme precision.

Push Notifications Can Be Highly Personalized

Thanks to advanced CRM software, digital marketers are now able to personalize emails to a great extent, but still push notifications can be more personalized as the app can manage user data in real-time to deliver prompt information that is useful for your customers.

The Metrics That Help You Identify the Most Effective Channels

The only way to know which channel works best for your lead generation is to measure a few key performance indicators (KPIs).

  1. Open Rates - With emails, and push notifications that require users to expand the message to view all of it, open rates are important. This tells us how many people are opening and reading your messages.
  2. Click-Through-Rate (CTR) - There is always a call to action when you generate leads, and usually, with both emails and push notifications, people are required to click on a link (or the notification) to enter the next step in your sales funnel. This metric tells you the effectiveness of your communication.
  3. Conversion Rate - You should measure the effectiveness of your lead generation campaigns with the conversion rate. Which channel of communication, email or push, is providing you with the highest conversion rate at the end?
  4. Time Spent In-App After Notification - For push notifications specifically, it’s important to measure the time your app users are spending in the app after having received the push notification. It’s possible people don’t click-through the notification but instead visit the app later on as a response to the push notification.


Both email and push notifications have their own individual merits, but one might be more effective than the other at generating leads for your business. It would be wrong to crown one to be better than the other as far as lead generation is concerned. Both have their pros and cons, and whether you should use them for the lead generation campaigns of your business depends entirely upon your unique circumstances.

Here are some tips to help you choose between email and push notifications:

  • If you need to convey a chunk of important information to your audience, then sending out an email would likely be more effective than a push notification.
  • When you need to deliver updates, time-sensitive information, or news items, then push notifications are your best bet. This is the type of information people would not want to keep. However, if you are delivering information that people would want to have on record, such as a guide, then sending it via email would be better.
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