Why Notifications? It’s how we connect and engage…

At EzyStream our vision is to help organisations connect, engage and inspire their communities. This vision is what motivates us each day, to help people stay connected with, and informed by, the clubs, churches, community groups, organisations or businesses that they care about.

Many organisations have a variety of digital communication channels in play: emailing newsletters, facebook groups, website, sending SMS messages and shared calendars. The EzyStream platform, through the EzyConnect and EzyChurch Apps, allow an organisation to connect the dots, weaving the threads of their digital communications strategy together, creating a single digital entry point for their brand.

But having an App is only half the story. Where things get really interesting is the power that notifications bring to an organisation to keep engagement alive.

So what are the benefits of notifications?

Well, for a start they are free.
Many organisations rely on mobile SMS messages to send urgent and important updates to their members and community. But in a survey of several bulk Australian SMS providers’ pricing averaged around $0.15 cents per SMS and some providers had minimum monthly spends for organisations who were doing low volumes.

While an SMS, provided the contact number is correct, provides a level of delivery guarantee it is a very static communication. There is no relationship or link to events, documents or media on the device unless a url is included which is a little clunky. By all accounts, a broken customer experience.

Further the message delivery is limited to the one device using the registered sim card associated with the number. So your reach relies on the right person’s number being registered with one’s organisation and that specific phone being readily available.

So what is a comparable communication approach? Email.

In a digital sense, email does provide a communication platform which is more generic and broadly available. You can have your email account on multiple devices and an organisation can have more than one email contact registered for their community members.

However emails do tend to sit languishing unread in inboxes. Or even worse, marked as read and lost in the noise of daily comms. On a Personal level, I have over 17,000 emails in my personal inbox with over 30 unread some a couple of months old.

so much email!

Emails tend to be sent with a lot of information, like a newsletter, so require greater attention and focus from the reader. And again like SMS, an email will link out to other Apps, websites and calendars. It is a broken user experience.

An organisation, sending email via an email campaign platform, may also have associated send costs depending on the platform, complexity of the message and number of subscribers / emails sent per month.

So what are the stats on email?

Constant Contact recently released a report on their open and pick through rates by industry as at December 2018. The Data was gathered from 200 million emails.

  • The average open rate was 16% with click through of 7%.
  • Church and Not for Profits have a higher rate of engagement at 26% and 20% respectively.
  • Fitness clubs were lower than the average at 14%.

Mailchimp also scanned hundreds of millions of emails sent from their platform and saw:

  • Average email open rates of around 20% (up 4% on Constant Contact)
  • but much lower click through rates with an average of only 2.5%!

Mailchimp also reported similar open rates as Constant Contact by industry segment with:

  • Religious groups at 25% and Not for Profits slightly higher at 24%
  • And better results for sporting groups at 23.7%.

We all already know that email doesn’t really work. But seeing these statistics it really sinks in…

So what makes notifications better?

For a start, a notification sent by Ezystream via EzyConnect or EzyChurch are free.

A notification is also related to an App and often to functions within that App. So in the case of EzyStream Apps, this means the notification can relate to an event’s details, piece of media or pdf as well as being generic to the App more generally.

This is a differentiator – click through to content is more likely than just a plan text message, making a push notifications a wholly richer experience.

Linking back to content in the App drives traffic and maintains engagement, critical for any organisation!

Further, notifications can be classified by topics. This allows a user to opt into the topic groups that are of interest or most relevant to them.

There are a couple of disadvantages, of course. No technology is without its limits:

  • Unlike the delivery of an SMS or email, the person you are wanting to be able to communicate with does need to have the App downloaded.

However, this can of course be overcome through a variety of ways including app promotion on your website, at events, ironically, in email newsletters and so forth.

  • When a new App is launched for the first time on Apples iOS platform, the App user will be prompted to ‘opt in’ to notifications. The App user can of course choose to opt out and there is no fool-proof way to know how many of your App users have opted in, aside from analysing delivery reports.

However, by providing the right messaging at time of App download, and having relevant and useful notifications, it is more than possible for an organisation to provide tangible benefits by having notifications engaged, for the app user.

Further, while the notification Opt-In feature on iOS may seem like a detractor, it is in fact no different to other channel. Keep in mind, that a marketing email or SMS are both legally required to provide opt-out options to the recipients. So no matter the channel, a user always has a choice about engagement.

How do notifications compare?

Accengage build a push notification platform. Last year they released a benchmark report “…based on over 50 billion Push Notifications sent to 900 million mobile users worldwide…”The report had a couple of key findings which are of interest –

  • Globally, 43.9% of the iOS users of a Mobile App opt-in to Push Notifications, versus 91.1% on Android. This is mainly due to the fact that on iOS, users must manually accept to opt in to Push Notifications (active consent), while on Android, it is the other way around.
  • In Oceania the average opt-in rate was 66%.
  • The average click rate of Push Notifications is of 7.8% (4.9% on iOS, 10.7% on Android). As seen every year since 2016, iOS click rates are going up (+0.4 percentage point increase compared to 2017) while Android click rates are going down (-1.5 percentage point decrease compared to 2017).
  • Click rates are the highest on Tuesdays with an average of 8.4%.
  • 21.9% average click rate for In-App Messages (messages displayed within the application while in use). THE PLUG – We do this!

We like to think of opt-in as comparable to email open rates. You have to open an email to read it, and you need to be opted-in to see a notification. So in this case opt-in performs better than email open by a factor of 2-3x depending on the mobile platform (iOS or Android).

While click through rates were comparable to Constant Contact’s average email result of 7%, they are significantly better than Mailchimp’s result of only 2.5% (and as demonstrated MUCH better when delivered in-app)

There are a couple of things to consider when thinking about click through for push notifications.

Firstly, while click through is 7%, it is 7% of a greater user base as more people are seeing the message compared to email (40-60% opt-in vs 15-25% email open). For example, and working with averages, from a population of 100 people:

  • For Email – 20 will open the email and of those only 1.4 will click through
  • For notifications – 66 will read the notification and of those 4.6 will click through. 3 times as many clicks than email.

Secondly, and this is a critical point, a notification often says everything it needs to say, much like an SMS would and as such click through is not necessary.

So what’s it all mean?

Notifications are free, flexible and scalable. They allow an organisation to target audiences through topic groups and provide relevant contextual information when it is needed to your member and community base.

Better yet, push notifications have higher engagement rates and are relevant, thus driving your ability to connect with and inspire your community and members.

#winning!

We would love to hear from YOU, about your success stories using notifications. Let us know where notifications have helped you connect, engage and inspire your members, community or congregation! email tellus@ezystream.com with your stories.

Website, App, both?

A question we hear from time to time is “What is the benefit of an app when we have a website?” This is actually a great question.

It is true that a website can provide much of the same functionality as an app to a community of users. So it is fair to wonder what duplication is happening and whether your administration overhead will increase.

Whether providing access to general information, details on upcoming events, ways to engage with your organisation & contact information or access to media, a website is a central hub that in many ways acts as an organisation’s online brochure to the world.

It provides a, usually, up-to-date view of what is happening within the organisation.

There is an administrative overhead to maintaining a website and this often results in a very static site or out of date experience for the site visitor. This is not helpful for anyone.

Of course by doing simple things like embedding a google calendar for sharing events or plugging in a Vimeo or YouTube feed admin can be reduced and updating the site becomes more manageable.

So where does an app differ?

An app allows the normal sharing that a website does; media (event video, presentations, sermons), event details and newsletters, however it is available in a more direct way. Rather than having to open a browser and search out the site, an installed app is always easily available to your community member – right in their pocket!

So it provides ease to your community members and truely allows you to engage and connect with your community.

The Plug: With our platfrom (EzyStream, EzyConnect & EzyChurch) we aim to save time on that administration by allowing our customers to leverage the same existing Google Calendar to populate their events. Further our media platform takes away all the hassle of hosting and sharing your audio or video. We become the centralised host and allow you to plug our media player into your website for free. We can also publish audio to the app and out to your iTunes podcast.

Save time and save money by reducing duplication, costly additional redundant services and multiple administration portal requirements.

It’s all about Immediacy

One of the biggest challenges often faced by clubs, community groups and churches is how can they communicate quickly and easily. A website is passive in that sense, it is relying on people coming to it. With an app you can engage and this is where it gets really powerful!

  • Send a notification about an event change and link the mobile app user through to that changed event detail.
  • Send a notification about a new piece of audio or video media or newsletter driving users to engage with the media.
  • Giving notifications can prompt a user with a call to action to give to the visiting minister or missionary pledge drive.

The Plug: With our EzyStream Giving feature our customers even have the ability to overlay a ‘donate’ call to actions over video media in the app – notification to drive viewership of the clip, call to action to push the user to the donation page. Providing charities and churches a way to share a story and elicit support without costly and time consuming mail or phone based process.

As we see it, a website is a great way to advertise your organisation. It gives people looking to find out more, a place to go, but it isn’t a platform that can easily engage with your community.

While it is true that recent browsers do provide notification functionality, that doesn’t translate to a platform allowing active engagement in someone’s pocket.

An app provides an organisation the ability to, in real time, actively communicate important updates and changes and share new resources. It reduces cost (when compared to SMS messaging solutions for important updates) and comes with higher activity rates (over email click through rates).

Isn’t it time you started to Connect, Engage and Inspire your community too?

Want to learn more about EzyChurch or EzyConnect for your, club, community group, church or business? Get in touch with us now, we would love to hear from you!

We love charities!

Here at EzyStream we recognise the huge contribution not- for-profit clubs and charities make to our communities. That is why we offer discounted pricing to all our registered Not-For-Profit customers!

Get the solution you have been looking for, with no compromises, at a price you can afford!

All about US!

Have you wondered what we are all about, here at EzyStream? Unsure what we mean by Connect, Engage & Inspire? Want a better understanding of our products, how we help community groups and the problems we are passionate to solve?

In a nutshell, we build a platform that allows a community to connect and be inspired.

We do this in a number of ways. Be it by providing a Church with a place to share what’s going on and their message via EzyChurch; Giving a voice to Charities, Community Groups and Sports Clubs, with EzyConnect; Or through providing organisations a Video on Demand app and website to share and distribute their media content on EzyStream.

Our mission is to help organisations, like yours, connect to and engage with their communities. Putting your organisation ‘in their pocket’, our platform ultimately provides the opportunity for you to truely inspire your members to join together and engage in what you are doing.

While we have a couple of different brands that address specific markets, as mentioned above, our mission is one and the same.

We love that people join together connecting over shared passions. We understand and have experienced the struggles organisations, big and small, have keeping everyone engaged in what is happening. We know the challenges of managing multiple channels of communication.

Our aim is to help foster community. Our solutions simplify the work involved in keeping everyone abreast of what’s happening while reduce communication cost and providing unique ways to engage with members.

We provide the ability to trial our platform, free, for 30 days. We have competitive corporate pricing and discounted pricing for not-for-profits (because we love what you do and want to support your ongoing contribution to the community.) And we have free regular training webinars so we can help ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Want to find out more? Want to see for yourself and have a go? Connect with us now, let’s inspire your people to be more engaged.

Our EzyChurch, EzyConnect and EzyStream products offer the following shared benefits:

  • Upcoming events (Links to Google Calendar)
  • Donations / Payments Platform
  • Social media feed
  • Media player (audio and/or video)
  • Customised graphics
  • PDF viewer (great for notices/newsletter)
  • Web connect (link to important web pages)
  • Web Content Embed (embed webpages seamlessly)
  • Blog Embed (embed your blog seamlessly)
  • Form Embed (embed web forms seamlessly)
  • Push notifications (no more paying for SMS updates or frustrations over unread email)
  • Live Streaming from YouTube
  • Plus, insert all your media into your own website with a small piece of code (uses an iframe)
  • Container App feature supporting a parent/child organisation structure in your app (great for Associations with child clubs)

Our EzyChurch product includes some additional benefits to Church ministries including:

  • Bible Reader
  • Access to our extensive Resonate Resource Library
  • Service Location and Times
  • Infoodle integration

Our EzyStream VOD Product includes:

  • Hidden Media (use a voucher code to redeem access)
  • Custom Carousels
  • Media Sales

Resonate. Our gift to your congregation or community

Did you know, we have our very own Christian media resources library and it is available to your community within your EzyChurch App?

Resonate provides access to great family friendly entertainment with market leading parental controls. You will have access to our full Christian Resource Library and over 10,000 sermons from New Zealand and Australian Churches!

As a church using the EzyChurch platform you can also contribute to this amazing resource by publishing your sermons to the world thus giving access to other users who may not as yet be involved in a church community.

Along with teaching sourced from contributors using our platform we also have content from other ministries such as Focus on the Family & Chuck Missler.

Movies and other premium content range in price from $9.99 – 19.99 to buy with rental, between $4.99 and $7.99 often also available.

We have movies from the likes of Rialto, Umbrella & Heritage HM including titles like, Noble, Freedom, Machine Gun Preacher, and locally made content like Jumping in Puddles & Waiting For Baby Noel.

For our customers the inclusion of Resonate, free, to your community provides is just another way we are reducing your admin headaches and operating costs. No longer do you need to pay for additional resources for your congregation.

Adding Resonate to your app is easy. You can add the resonate resource content to your EzyChurch app, simply by activating it within your admin portal under functions!

Want to access the resonate content on any device? You can download the resonate app by following the links below or check our Resonate TV video on demand website here – https://resonatetv.co.nz

The Boss Man!

Meet Nick Hitchins. Nick is our fearless leader and EzyStream Managing Director.

He’s an interesting guy…

Many moons ago in days of yore, Nick studied marketing and Japanese at The University of Canterbury. This was followed by a sojourn to Japan where he spent a year living with a family in one of the smallest towns at the bottom of the country and refining that language study, in country.

The better part of the past 15-20 years have seen Nick working in TV & Video production. Whether writing, directing, voice acting or producing, Nick has been involved in every stage of the media production process culminating in the building of GoodTV, a VOD platform to serve family friendly content and provide a mechanism for his company Creation Films Ltd to distribute their content.

GoodTV has ultimately morphed, as is so often the case in startup land, into the EzyStream platform providing a powerful platform to support organisations to Connect, Engage and Inspire their communities.

As Managing Director Nick is steering the ship, ensuring the strategies the company pursues are in line with the Board’s plans, developing product direction and supporting our team to help us get the most out of each day. Critically Nick is driving our strategic partnerships with organisations like Infoodle and CSC Buying Group.

Just to finish I thought I would share Nick eating a baby octopus with quail egg inside, because frankly I wouldn’t do it. Filmed while touring Japan with his family late 2018… Enjoy, I think Nick did…  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

#wethinkhesnuts #beargryles #nothanks