A/B Testing for Push Notifications: A Comprehensive Guide
min read
June 7, 2024

A/B Testing for Push Notifications: A Comprehensive Guide

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A/B Testing for Push Notifications: A Comprehensive Guide

Push notifications have become a crucial tool for mobile app developers to engage with their users and keep them coming back. With the rise of mobile devices, push notifications have become a key channel for apps to communicate with their audience, increase user retention, and drive revenue. However, crafting effective push notification campaigns can be a daunting task, especially with the ever-changing preferences and behaviors of users. This is where A/B testing comes in, offering a powerful solution to optimize push notification campaigns and increase user engagement.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing, also referred to as split testing, is a method of comparing two or more versions of a push notification campaign to determine which one performs better. The goal of A/B testing is to identify the most effective version of a push notification campaign, based on metrics such as engagement, conversion rates, and user retention.

Why is A/B Testing Important for Push Notifications?

A/B testing is crucial for push notifications because it allows developers to:

  1. Optimize Push Notification Campaigns: A/B testing helps developers optimize their push notification campaigns by identifying the most effective versions and eliminating the least effective ones.
  2. Increase User Engagement: A/B testing helps developers increase user engagement by creating push notifications that resonate with individual users.
  3. Improve Conversion Rates: A/B testing helps developers improve conversion rates by creating push notifications that encourage users to take action.
  4. Reduce Churn: A/B testing helps developers reduce churn by creating push notifications that keep users engaged and coming back.

Best Practices for A/B Testing

Here are some best practices for A/B testing:

  1. Test the Right Items: Before creating a split test, be sure of what you want to optimize. Don’t try to optimize 5 different metrics at the same time or you’ll just end up ruining the experiment with too many variables.
  2. Pay Attention to Sample Size: The sample size you use for your split test can change a lot. You don’t want to run tests on 5% of your total audience because the results will be statistically insignificant. And you don’t want the test audience to be so large that your overall performance tanks either.
  3. Make Sure Your Data Is Reliable: Sometimes, you’ll see great results on your A/B tests. But we recommend using a statistical significance calculator to know if your data is actually reliable.
  4. Schedule Your Tests Correctly: If you schedule an A/B test during Black Friday, and expect the results to be comparable with any odd Wednesday, you’re going to get very misleading information.
  5. Test One Element at a Time: If you test too many elements of a push notification at the same time, you won’t know what’s creating the difference. Use these simple practices to create a process around your A/B testing.

How to Conduct A/B Testing for Push Notifications

Here are the steps to conduct A/B testing for push notifications:

  1. Set Up Goals: Before starting A/B testing, set up goals you want to reach for metrics like user engagement, retention, or conversion. Also, determine the hypothetical results for the campaigns.
  2. Run A/B Testing: Write two different push notification samples with variations in text, images, CTA, emojis, etc, and send them to the audiences. In popular free push tools like Truepush, you can split subscribers and send push notifications respectively.
  3. Note Down Results: Document every detail of the push notification examples like notification content, timings, frequency, and their results. Make sure you note slight changes in the variables of push notifications and their impact on the push notification campaign’s success.
  4. Apply Results: Observe the push notification A/B testing results carefully by considering all stats like open rates, conversion rates, traffic increase, engagement rate, and more. Choose the best sample and send it to your subscribers for better benefits of push notifications.

What Variables Should You Test Push Notification?

Here are some variables you should test push notifications:

  1. Location-Based Notifications: The push messages may not work the same globally especially when there are different occasions, seasons, and holiday sales. For this push notification A/B testing, you can group subscribers as per their countries, states, or cities.
  2. Timing: Timing is crucial for push notifications. You can test different timings for your push notifications to see which one works best.
  3. Frequency: Frequency is another important variable to test. You can test different frequencies for your push notifications to see which one works best.
  4. Content: Content is a crucial variable to test. You can test different types of content, such as images, videos, and text, to see which one works best.
  5. CTA: CTA is a crucial variable to test. You can test different CTAs, such as buttons, links, and text, to see which one works best.

Tips for Push Notifications A/B Testing

Here are some tips for push notifications A/B testing:

  1. Test One Variable at a Time: Test one variable at a time to know which variable has contributed more to the success of the push campaign.
  2. Always Divide Subscribers into Larger-Sized Segments: Always divide subscribers into larger-sized segments so that you can take an accurate reading of the campaign outputs.
  3. Try to Put Similar Audiences in One Segment: Try to put similar audiences in one segment according to parameters like location, browser, platform, last visit, and others. It will help you to send similar push notification samples and observe users’ behavior.
  4. Check for Overall Analytics: Check for overall analytics of the push notification campaigns like signups, traffic, increase, sales, customer engagement, and more.
  5. Follow Push Notification Best Practices: Follow push notification best practices while writing samples for your A/B testing.


A/B testing is a powerful tool for optimizing push notification campaigns and increasing user engagement. By following the best practices and methodologies outlined in this article, developers can create effective push notification campaigns that resonate with individual users and drive revenue. Remember to test the right items, pay attention to sample size, make sure your data is reliable, schedule your tests correctly, test one element at a time, and apply the results to optimize your push notification campaigns.