Android is the leading mobile operating system, owning 73% of the global market share. But, 40% to 70% of your Push Notifications go undelivered in Asia’s fragmented Android market

These Push Notification statistics confirm the importance of this channel in driving critical customer engagement and retention metrics. But low Push Notification delivery rates negatively affect your mobile marketing campaigns.

If you’re wondering why Push Notifications go undelivered, their impact on key marketing metrics, and the solution to this problem, this article has the answers.

Let’s first understand how Push Notifications are delivered to set the context. 

How Push Notification Delivery Works

How are push notifications delivered?

Step 1: Campaign creation

The first step is to create a push notification campaign via a marketing dashboard such as MoEngage. Here, you can craft the push notification copy, manage subscriber and customer insights and data, and measure the campaign performance.

Step 2: Campaign execution

Once you execute the campaign at a predetermined schedule, third-party marketing platforms such as MoEngage, split your customers based on the segmentation qualifiers you’ve set. These segments need to have at least one online device linked to an active push token. 

Push tokens are unique cloud identifiers allocated by cloud messaging platforms such as Google’s Firebase Cloud Messaging service (FCM), responsible for delivering your Push Notifications to Android devices. After identifying reachable devices, MoEngage sets frequency capping and allocates the active devices that will receive your Push Notification.

Frequency capping determines the number of Push Notifications an eligible device should receive during a set time interval)

Step 3: FCM Delivery

Cloud messaging platforms such as Google’s FCM receive your Push Notification campaign and take over the delivery process from this step.

Step 4: Device Delivery

After FCM receives your campaign, it attempts to deliver your Push Notifications.

Note: Most customer engagement platforms mark a Push Notification as successfully delivered after FCM receives it. But whether or not FCM was successful in delivering your Push Notification is what determines your true reachability. When you use a customer engagement platform like MoEngage, you can analyze the correct data around our Push Notification delivery rates.

Step 5: Impression Creation

Once the Push Notification is received (or not), MoEngage informs the server about the Push Notification delivery status and records it as an “Impression” 

Now that you know how Push Notification delivery works let’s look at some of the factors that influence Push Notification deliverability.

What Factors Affect Push Notification Delivery Rates?

There are several reasons why Push Notifications fail to deliver. Let’s take a look at some of them here.

Factors affecting push notification delivery in Android

1. When app Push Notifications are blocked

The Android OS has an option that allows your customers to disable app Push Notifications on their devices.

Tip: A great onboarding experience, relevant and personalized Push Notifications, along with being mindful of Push Notification frequency, can reduce the probability of your app notifications being silenced. 

2. Device disconnected from Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)

Push Notifications go undelivered whenever a device gets disconnected from the internet for a long time (be it due to connectivity issues or device-specific issues). But since the customer here is marked as inactive, FCM will continue to attempt a delivery but marks each instance as successful (distorting your Push Notification campaign data). 

While there are several reasons why devices disconnect from FCM, one reason is when there’s a significant gap between app activity and recency, especially in the initial days of app install.

Tip: You can navigate this by providing a great onboarding experience that encourages increased app interactions.

3. Delay by FCM in marking an app as uninstalled

Another critical aspect that can misrepresent your Push Notification campaign data is that even after your app has been uninstalled, it takes some time for the push token to be completely removed from FCM. What this means is that there’s a time gap between when your app was uninstalled and FCM marking the device as inactive. This skews your campaign data by showing you that your Push Notification has been successfully sent. But, the notification has only been sent to FCM while it doesn’t reach the intended device (since FCM hasn’t yet marked it inactive). 

4. Custom Push Notification settings in Chinese OEMs

Chinese OEMs, such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, have custom device settings for Push Notifications. Specifically present in the latest Android devices, these settings have aggressive battery optimizations that kill background app activity to preserve battery life, rendering your app inactive. This disconnects the device from FCM, and your Push Notifications fail to deliver.

Tip: Push Amplification Plus, by MoEngage, directly delivers your Push Notifications by routing them to the OEM brands’ “system channel” (thanks to exclusive tech partnerships with them). These system channels cannot be killed/disabled by the device owner. 

    5. Low device activity

    If the frequency of device activity is low, Push Notification delivery rates slump. An analysis done by MoEngage found that Samsung, Motorola, and Xiaomi devices have a sustained Push Notification delivery of 2-3 weeks, while Oppo and Vivo devices have a fast deterioration in Push Notification delivery rates of over two weeks.

    6. Device running on an old Android version

    The Android OS version plays a crucial role in Push Notification deliverability. Older Android OS versions, such as Lollipop, Kitkat, or Jellybean, have a lower Push Notification delivery rate than the more recent versions, such as Android Nougat.

    7. Device network

    2G and 3G networks have more significant latency and lesser Push Notification delivery rates than smartphones connected to Wi-Fi or 4G networks.

    8. Message Time to Live (TTL) is insufficient

    Campaign Time to Live (TTL) gives you the option to establish a time window to deliver a Push Notification. If that time frame is wide, FCM can re-attempt your Push Notification delivery to devices that were previously out of the network coverage area.

    Note: We suggest you avoid TTL for time-sensitive Push Notification campaigns like flash sales. 

    9. App usage frequency and recency

    Frequently used apps in relevant app categories and the recency in app interaction directly impact the delivery rate.

    Tip: While basic personalization increases Open Rates by 9.06%, advanced personalization further amplifies Open Rates. 

    10. Campaign send time

    Push Notifications strategically scheduled and delivered when customers are likely to be active on their mobile devices have a higher Push Notification delivery rate. This ties back to the above point and nudges your customers to interact with your Push Notifications frequently and promptly.

    Tip: The best time of the day and week differ as per your app category and use case. For instance, a music app will be most active in the morning and evening when your customer is commuting to and fro their office. But for shopping apps, late evenings are ideal when customers are likely to be browsing your app. 

    A study by MoEngage identified 14 factors that impact Push Notification delivery rates and how you can predict Push Notification deliverability with maximum accuracy. You can read more about these factors in the Push Notification Delivery Framework. 

    What’s the impact of low Push Notification delivery rates on Northstar metrics?

    Fewer opportunities

    Every undelivered Push Notification reduces opportunities to engage, convert, and retain customers. This also increases the likelihood of churn and app uninstalls. 

    Reduced engagement

    Low Push Notification delivery rates mean lesser app interaction and engagement, which could reduce interest in your app (and also vice versa). Disengaged customers are also likely to disable your Push Notifications or uninstall the app. 

    Increased chances of churn

    When your customers’ interest in your app wanes (maybe because they’re not receiving those personalized product recommendation notifications or those compelling discount codes), they are likely to uninstall your app and even migrate to your competitors’ app.  

    Decreased app activity

    When customers miss out on your Push Notifications, the gap between the last app activity widens, further reducing your Push Notification deliverability since your app notifications can be flagged as unimportant by the device.

    Decreased product stickiness

    Push Notifications increase app retention rates by 3X to 10X. But low Push Notification reachability reduces the value your app offers, reducing your DAUs (and MAUs). That’s a lost opportunity to maintain (and boost) app engagement and retention! 

    How Does Push Amplification™ Boost Push Notification Delivery Rates?

    To help marketers overcome the low Push Notification deliverability problem, MoEngage pioneered Push Amplification™. With Push Amplification™, you can get a Push Notification delivery uplift between 10% to 25%!

    Read how Bigbasket saw an uplift of 10% in their Push Notification delivery rates with Push Amplification™.

    How does Push Amplification™ work?

    Push Amplification™ works by acting as a fallback mechanism to FCM and directly delivers the undelivered Push Notification to your customers’ device.

    As the next leap forward in the Push Amplification™ technology, Push Amplification™ Plus gives an additional boost in Push Notification delivery rates and helps marketers reach more customers.

    Exclusive partnerships with OEM brands such as Xiaomi enable Push Amplification™ Plus to deliver your undelivered Push Notification directly to the OEM devices’ system channel.

    Check out how Push Amplification™ Plus helped OYO boost its Push Notification delivery rates by 44%! 

    Push Amplification™ is valuable to all app categories for increasing their Push Notification deliverability and reachability.

    Read this post on how Push Amplification™ has helped leading brands achieve key growth goals.

    Key Takeaways


    Namraata Badheka

    Namraata Badheka

    Namraata is a content marketer, with a focus on product content, at MoEngage. Through insightful and data-driven content, she helps audiences understand and maximize the value of B2B SaaS products such as MoEngage. Connect with her on LinkedIn