Dynamic Content: The Secret to Crafting the Best Push Notifications

4 minute read

Team Localytics

Although we proved the case for personalization in “Personalization: It’s Worth the Effort”, we realize it can be overwhelming and difficult to start personalizing mobile messages. This is the first post in a multi-part series that breaks down the most effective types of personalization into practical, digestible, non-buzzword based concepts.

But first, a quick recap as to why you should care about personalizing your messages. If you’re anything like me, you get a ton of push notifications per day. There’s nothing more annoying than checking your phone after a meeting and seeing a phone screen full of irrelevant push notifications, like this:

Annoying Push Notifications

As a marketer, you should be striving to stand apart from this noise by sending only highly relevant and engaging messages to your users. This is accomplished through personalizing your messages.

Personalization starts by ensuring that you send your message only to those users who will find it applicable. For example, you wouldn’t send a welcome message to users who have had your app for the last two years. In the interest of keeping this post short, I’m going to assume that you’re segmenting your messages so that they’re going only to relevant users. If not, stop here and read “The State of Push Notifications in 2018…”. Okay, now that’s under control, we can move on to the secret of dynamic content.

Dynamic content is content for a message that’s adjusted based on known information about the target user. The most popular example of dynamic content is inserting a user’s name into a message, but there’s a lot more possibilities when it comes to dynamically personalizing your messages. With Localytics, anything that you capture as a Profile attribute can be used as dynamic content. For example, if you know a user searched for a pink shirt the last time they were in the app, you can mention that shirt in a message.

We’ve found that brands have seen a 5.7% increase in open rates by simply including dynamic content to their messages (reference). Yep, dynamic messages get an average open rate of 8.8%, while messages without dynamic content get an average open rate of 3.1%. 

So how do you get started? We’ve compiled a few best practices to consider, as well as a framework to help you crawl, walk and run your way to effective dynamic messages.

Best Practices

  • Use restraint – only include dynamic content when it makes the message more relevant and contributes to building a deeper connection with the recipient. Going overboard could creep out your users and be detrimental to the relationship.
  • Test extensively. Come up with ideas as to which pieces of dynamic content will improve your messages and test to confirm. Always have one version that uses no dynamic content so you have a baseline to compare against.
  • Set backup values – Always include a generic default that shows when a user hasn’t given you the information needed to populate a piece of dynamic content. Otherwise, you run the risk of displaying a blank space in your messages, which is weird. Also make sure the message makes sense with the backup content!




Dynamic Content - Crawl

Start with something basic like including the user’s first name in your message or mentioning their favorite category.



Dynamic Content - Walk

As you get more comfortable with dynamic content, think about personalizing more than just your message. For example, in Localytics you can use dynamic content to personalize rich content and deep links. A media app might use this capability to show an image of each user’s favorite TV show, while a financial services app could send a message telling users to update their preferences and have the deep link automatically take the user to their settings screen in the app.



Dynamic Content - Run

On the more sophisticated end of the spectrum you can start using if/else logic that allows you to change the entire message, not just populate a template, for each user. This allows you to do things like change the tone of your message, based on how long it’s been since the user last opened your app or display different combinations of emoji based on the user’s interests.


As you can see, dynamic content unlocks a lot of new ways to send messages that are relevant for each recipient. To learn more about how to use this very powerful capability, be sure to read about personalization in our user guide

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