'Push' is big business for these Egyptians

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2015 was the year of the push notification.

App makers discovered that a prompt on a smartphone could remind their users they existed and encourage engagement. However, that enthusiasm was followed by survey after survey registering how annoying users found push notifications.

2016, then, was the year of figuring out how to do it properly.

Amr Sobhy, the cofounder of Egyptian startup Pushbots, thinks they may have cracked that nut.

They have 20,000 corporate customers using the notifications service which at the time of writing, were reaching nearly 50 million end users.

Furthermore, Sobhy says the startup is profitable with both user numbers, message volume and - importantly - revenue jumping in the last six months.

When Pushbots started in 2013 it was offering a tweet-to-notify service before developing a more well rounded offer for mobile. Today, most of their customers come from outside MENA (India is their biggest market by a considerable margin), which Sobhy says was reflective of the market for apps - there are simply more being developed in countries such as the US or Indonesia, which are also big markets for the company.

Pushbots founders Amr Sobhy and Abdullah Diaa. (Image via Nick St. Oegger)

Mobile is the acknowledged device killer. In October mobile and tablet internet use exceeded that of desktops for the first time ever. But as companies have moved to mobile-first strategies, app discovery - that is making sure people actually know about your app - has become more of a problem.

After that, those apps need to somehow become one of the five that people spend 85 percent of their time using.

“Getting the attention of users is becoming increasingly difficult. The attention of users is the actual commodity in this industry. The need for more advanced tools for personalizing and tailoring messages is extremely high to avoid spamming users with irrelevant, dull and non-engaging content,” Sobhy said.

The field is a crowded one as well. In 2014 Sobhy said their rivals were companies like Urban Airship, Parse, Element Wave, and Push IO.

Today it’s even tougher, as businesses like Pushwoosh, Kumulus and a raft of others tap into app makers’ increasingly determined attempts to win their users back.

Feature image via Mobify.

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