Thursday, August 17, 2017

Have You Sold Your Freedom For Push Notifications?

While technology seemingly empowers us to do more, be connected and take control of our lives, it’s doing exactly the opposite. Demanding apps thrust notifications into our face and take control of us, says Rajasekar KS.
Like aliens invading my private space in the dark of the night, push notifications are violating my right to a peaceful moment. Damn it! Can’t even have a peaceful nap on a Sunday afternoon without these sneaky invaders.
While Facebook notifications range from the silly, “It’s been 7 days since you posted something” to the scary “Rahul and Tina” marked themselves safe during the downpour in Mumbai, ecommerce notifications from Flipkart, Amazon, Swiggy can range from, “it’s India-Pak match, have you ordered your snacks for the show” to “Your favourite Red Tape shoes on sale. 10% off only for the next 2 minutes.” Imagine the roller-coaster emotions one goes when one gets these notifications in the midst of work or while driving.
While marketers are on the overdrive pushing notifications left, right and centre, the average user is beginning to feel annoyed at the attention-grabbing technique. Distracting users at work with endless notifications that occupy the screen of their private space can be very disturbing. Research has proven that notifications cause ‘ADHD-type-like-symptoms” and take a toll on our productivity and our ability to take decisions.
The distraction is so deadly that many users report that they hear a beep but don’t see any notification on checking the phone. Studies point that these distractions hamper performance of the task on hand, even when users ignored the notification. In 2016, Localytics, the leading mobile engagement platform, found in a study that 52% feel notifications annoy them. Even Apple acknowledged that people find it tiring and distracting to pull out phones from their pocket every time there’s an alert, and so had users turn their wrist to see any notifications on the watch.
With artificial intelligence, analytics and algorithms arming the marketers with up-to-the-minute intelligence on the consumer’s location, activity and behaviour, it’s just a matter of time before it gets worse. In the search for profits, the old “permission marketing” principles have been forgotten.
What action could you take? Turn off these notifications on the individual apps.
Done that and yet getting one more missile slide by begging for attention. The culprit is the “Allow peeking” feature in each of your apps. Open app notifications on any of your apps and you’ll see: “let this app emphasize certain notifications by sliding them briefly into view on the current screen” or “Treat as priority” which says: Let this app’s notifications when Do Not Disturb is set to Priority only.
If brands don’t get the message, timing and frequency right, push notifications can result in customers deleting apps, missing out important notifications and a very bad consumer experience.
I’ve just turned off the notifications on all my apps. It took be many minutes but is worth the time spent. I now suddenly seem to have freed up a lot of time from the shackles of the annoying notifications.
This article was first published in the Economic Times

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