Study: Device users more responsive to Android app notifications than iOS

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Mobile development services firm Urban Airship on Thursday released a study that found Android users are on average more than two times more responsive to push notifications than iOS device users.

Drawing from a data set of almost 3,000 apps and 100 billion push notifications sent out to 500 million users in 2014, Urban Airship sampled notification response rates for apps in the 90th, 50th and 10th percentiles, ranked respectively as high, medium and low performers.

Medium-performing apps generated engagement rates of 20 percent for Android and only eight percent for iOS. Year-over-year data showed Apple device user engagement up one percent, however, while Android dropped eight percent over the same period.

Apps classified as high performers saw engagements grow 24 percent and 13 percent for iOS and Android, respectively, suggesting notifications from certain categories are becoming more effective.

Urban Airship said response rates are likely higher on Android due to the way Google's operating system handles incoming push notifications. On Android, notifications remain on the lock screen until dismissed, and are subsequently moved to the Notification Status bar once the device is unlocked.

Apple's solution is similar, but when a device is unlocked notifications are automatically routed to the Notification Center where they are grouped by app in chronological order. In addition, iOS device users can manage notification badges, banners and sound alerts on a per-app basis.

In an industry-level analysis, finance apps drew some of the highest response rates for both iOS and Android, an unsurprising result considering users in this category are likely receiving alerts from banks or credit card providers.

For Android, business apps sat at the top of Urban Airship's rankings with an engagement rate nearing 60 percent. Apps of the same ilk notched performances in the top-five for iOS, but fell far short of Android with rates below 20 percent. Social networking titles also saw decent notification response rates on both platforms, coming in an overall second for iOS and third for Android.

Finally, engagement rates of high-performing apps grew across the board, with top iOS apps jumping 24 percent and Android apps boosted 13 percent year-over-year.

"A core advantage of apps is the ability to reach out beyond their confines to engage people on device home screens and smartwatch faces— the only always-on screens that are never more than a glance away," said Urban Airship president and CEO Brett Caine.