LONDON: A majority of UK consumers with mobile devices have enabled push notifications in their apps but almost one third have never done this, so putting them beyond the reach of brand marketers.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) surveyed 1,000 people on their use of mobile push notifications and found that 31% of respondents had not enabled them.

The most common reasons given were that they didn't know what push notifications were (21% of refuseniks cited this), or because they objected to the whole idea (30%). Other reasons included finding them too complicated to set up or failing to check if the apps offered them.

Even among those who had enabled push notifications, brands need to understand the provisional nature of that acceptance. Fully 78% of those polled said 'they would immediately delete the app or disable the notification' if they were unhappy with the material they received.

As the DMA remarked: "There's a fine balance between keeping consumers up to date/engaged and turning them off, along with the push notification."

A similar proportion (73%) said they would welcome greater control, personalising app notifications if they were given the option.

The three types of marketing messages for which people typically did enable push notifications included sales promotions (34%), new products and launches (26%) and location-based offers (26%).

And they were most likely to welcome alerts from supermarket apps (22%) and music/radio apps (22%), closely followed by TV/films (20%), online retailers (20%) and price comparison sites (19%).

Douglas McDonald, member of the DMA Mobile & Connected Marketing Council, argued that marketers should be factoring app push notifications into campaign planning.

"For those brands with apps, push notifications are now an important tool in the customer communications box, [but] it's still isolated from many companies' comms strategy and planning," he said. "It's time to make it part of the planned customer journeys alongside email and other methods."

Data sourced from DMA; additional content by Warc staff