Facebook takes push campaigns for apps out of beta

As consumers spend an increasing amount of their digital time in apps, Facebook is offering a way to make them more engaging.

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Facebook's white paper contends that 63 percent of apps send push notifications at the wrong time.

Facebook on Tuesday announced that it's making push campaigns available to all businesses using its free Analytics for Apps tool.

Push notifications were released in beta earlier this year, and Facebook is rolling them out more widely with improved functionality. The audience targeting section of the feature has been redesigned, making it easier to send push notifications to specific user groups. Facebook also offers in-app notifications, enabling companies to send rich media cards with elements like photos, emoji, animated GIFs, or buttons.

Consumers spend a significant portion of their time online on apps; comScore's recent research showed that the share of time spent on smartphone apps has been on an upward trajectory and now accounts for 50 percent of the time Americans spent online. However, as Facebook notes, 60 percent of all apps downloaded are used less than 10 times. The company points to research suggesting that when people opt into to receiving push notifications, apps can see a retention rate up to 180 percent higher.

Moreover, recent mobile OS updates have made push notifications even more impactful, Facebook argues. Since iOS 10 requires two taps on the home screen to unlock, push notifications stay on the screen longer. Meanwhile, Android Nougat lets users directly interact with and reply from push notifications.

Facebook also released a white paper on best practices for push notifications. For instance, it notes the importance of understanding when an audience is using an app. The paper contends that 63 percent of apps send push notifications at the wrong time.

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