Today in a new blog post, Brad Abrams, Google Assistant Product Manager, highlighted new features of the latest Google Assistant app update. The new update was designed to make it easier to “help users find, interact and re-engage with your app on the Google Assistant.” One of these new tools is the ability to provide users with daily updates and push notifications for Assistant apps. While the feature is not live, developers can build apps with updates and notifications, however, they will not be able to publish them just yet. It also only applies to the Google Assistant smart phone app, not other Google Assistant enabled devices, including the Google Home. Although it appears that functionality is coming soon according to Abrams’ blog.
Two New Ways to Engage Google Assistant Users
Google is introducing two kinds of notifications for its Assistant apps: daily updates and push notifications as Abram describes:
Daily updates: At the end of a great interaction with your app, a user might want to be notified of similar content from your app every day. To enable that we will add a suggestion chip prompting the user to sign up for a daily update.
Push notifications: We’re launching a new push notification API, enabling your app to push asynchronous updates to users. For the day trader who’s looking for the best time to sell stock options, or the frugal shopper waiting for the big sale to buy a new pair of shoes, these alerts will show up as system notifications on the phone (and later to the Assistant on voice-activated speakers like Google Home).
Better Tools for User Engagement
While Google’s new features will require an opt-in from the user, the Google Assistant can actually help apps acquire daily update and push notification permissions by suggesting ones it thinks the user will like. For instance, if you listen to a voice app’s daily tip three days in a row, the Google Assistant will ask you if you’d like to sign up for the app’s daily update. In addition to suggesting personalized content, the notifications can also be further personalized so the user is getting the exact content they want from the app. If it’s a weather app, the user can say their zip code to get a daily accurate forecast or for a joke app, the user can specify what type of jokes they would like to receive daily.
Notifications are crucial to increasing user engagement. Just look at what they did for smart phones apps. According to a 2016 Localytics study, push notifications increase app engagement by 88% and 65% of users return to an app in 30 days after they are enabled. That could significantly improve VoiceLab’s dire 2016 stat from that only 3% of users return to a voice app in the second week after using it for the first time. Now that both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have notifications, the retention rate can only improve for 2017.