Push Alerts Might Be Pushing People Away

HellerWeather Blog Push Alerts

Most TV newsrooms today are using push alerts to try and pull people into the next newscast or drive them toward the website. Some outlets send several notifications per day. 

Recent research shows these push alerts are becoming as annoying as pop-up ads on websites. Rather than attract viewers, they are pushing them away.

Marfeel, an online marketing company, studied 650,000 different push alerts. They discovered the click-thru-rate “decreases as more frequent messages are sent.” Furthermore, “the unsubscribe rate also increases.”

Another marketing company, Leanplum, just published a study that shows people aren’t just unsubscribing. Their data shows that 75% of Millennials, the very people TV stations are trying so hard to attract, are “deleting apps that annoy them with unnecessary notifications.”

When More is Less

I asked my followers on Facebook if they subscribe to push alerts.

Carolynn Waites said she only subscribes to alerts from two local news stations and most of it is clickbait. “I get so many every day. 95% of them are meaningless to me,” she wrote. “I should unsubscribe.”

Marfeel’s research showed the “sweet spot for push notifications” is between 3-4 messages per day. It’s better to send out fewer notifications. More than four push alerts per day dramatically increase the unsubscribe rate.

Newsrooms need to work on keeping their viewers and followers informed without becoming annoying.

What’s the strategy?

Perhaps the best strategy is to have a strategy. The morning editorial meeting could include time to discuss potential push alerts that might be published throughout the day. 


If severe weather is expected, one of the notifications could be reserved for a weather update later in the day. Likewise, if an afternoon press conference has been scheduled or a favorite sports team is playing a big game.

One of my Facebook followers reminds us that local news media aren’t the only businesses sending out push alerts. Like many of us, Joe Gelardi gets weather alerts, flight updates, and delivery service notifications on his phone. As far as the news goes, “I don’t want to be flooded with alerts for things I can read about elsewhere. Alerts for critical information only.”

Tim Heller is an AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and Talent Coach. He helps local TV stations connect with their community through essential weather information.

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