It’s good to be ignored

Think about it. How many emails/messages/SMS’/push notifications do you get from “non-people” each day? If you’re anything like me, well over the 15-20+ range. It’s just become too easy ignore and delete rather than go through the process of deciding what notifications you want to receive and what is just clogging up space.


I mean, we don’t even really read these notifications – so the costs of expending the effort far outweigh the benefits received. Generally it’s just easier to see the sender and click “delete”.

This is what companies are counting on.

In a world of increasing use of add-blocking and preference towards streaming traditional advertising methods such as banner ad are becoming less and less effective. Ads that are effective (i.e. memorable, engaging and cause a response) generally belong to previously well-known, trusted brands.

So in order to remain top-of-mind, what are the little players left to do?

Efficiency is key in continuous advertising. Efficiency = effectiveness/cost.


In order to increase efficiency, it is necessary to either increase effectiveness or decrease cost.

How best to increase effectiveness? Target those who you know you have a slight shot at getting. Unlike TV, or even banner advertising, companies that send you notifications have a pretty good shot because you have (1) purchased from them before and/or (2) previously opted into hearing from them. This means you’re aware of them as a brand, and found them interesting enough at some point that you ticked a box or put your email/phone number on a form.

Now, costs. What’s the best way to minimise costs? Easy. Use communication methods that cost little (SMS) to nothing (email/push notifications/social media alerts).

Companies know that the action rate on these is small. There are ways to make them more actionable – but generally these involve more time and money (benefits vs. costs swaying total efficiency back and forth).

But generally they’re not just looking for actionable benefits. In addition to the long, long list of metrics associated with response to SMS/email/notifications on mobile devices, each notification with their name or logo is bringing them back into your consciousness.


As quoted in pretty much every study of brand recognition and consumer behaviour customers are more likely to purchase from brands they recognise and are familiar with. So by remaining top of your mind, even if you’re going to delete the email anyway, companies are giving themselves a bit more of an edge next time you need to make a purchasing decision.

Moral of the story: it’s better to be ignored upon arrival than to not be invited to the party at all.


So how about you? How do you deal with notifications?


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