Publishers Using Push Notifications to Break COVID-19 News See Dramatic Increase in Engagement, Audience Growth


In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, new data released by Pushly today shows significant increases in consumer engagement with web and mobile push notifications as publishers used the browser-based communication channel to send breaking news and other coronavirus-related content during the first quarter of 2020. 

As COVID-19 grew from an isolated incident to a full-blown pandemic, news publishers worldwide experienced massive surges in traffic as audiences searched for the latest coronavirus updates. However, while traffic is up for most publishers, revenue is not.

Publishers who have embraced web push notifications view it as a way to capture new subscribers today for post-pandemic audience monetization after the crisis subsides. The relationship is mutually beneficial as consumers are leaning into coronavirus news at a rapid rate and requesting to receive push updates after they leave a publisher’s site. 

A new infographic just released by Pushly shows just how much coronavirus news has been consumed through its push notification platform over the past three months. Key findings from its analysis concluded: 

  • 56 percent of push notification content was dedicated to coronavirus in March, up from just two percent in January
  • 51 percent of all clicks from push notifications in March were on coronavirus-related content, up from five percent in January
  • There was a seven percent average click-through rate on push notifications containing coronavirus content during the first quarter of 2020
  • There were 11 times more clicks on coronavirus-related content than other push notification content February to March
  • 19 percent of push notification subscribers in March were opted-in to receive push notifications from pages containing coronavirus content

“Push notifications give publishers a new way to turn web traffic into loyal readers at a time when they are looking for a connection with trusted sources of news,” said Marco Ilardi, CEO of Pushly. “Establishing those connections now creates a direct source of incremental traffic that is owned entirely by the publisher, creating an opportunity for them to effectively monetize on that traffic when the current crisis is over.” 

While Pushly saw similar behavior from news organizations and consumers during Hurricane Dorian, even outside of times of crisis, some publishers receive more than 10 percent of their traffic from push notifications. Push notifications also resonate with publishers because they consistently exceed email performance by 2x and social media posts by 8x.



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