Yes. You read that right.

If you send a push notification to a mobile user based on events particular to that user, rather than a notification to every user at the same time, you’ll get a 2,770 percent increase in engagement.

That’s according to a new study released today by Blueshift, who analyzed 2 billion emails and push notifications to find out how effective triggered messages are in comparison to those sent to every user, or every member of an email list.

What do we mean by a triggered event?

When a consumer interacts with your website, app, email, or any other message sent through any channel, you can send a corresponding message or notification because of that. Maybe the trigger you’re looking for is an interaction with an onboarding email or a retargeting ad. Maybe it is because the consumer has been using your app for a specific amount of time, or because the price of an item your customer was interested in — but didn’t buy — just changed. There are lots of trigger types, but the result of sending emails and push notifications at the right time is staggering, according to this study.

Triggered emails drive 624 percent higher conversion responses for the same number of sends as compared to “batch and blast” emails. This is driven by a 381 percent higher click rate, and an 180 percent higher post-click conversion rate.

Even more staggering, triggered mobile push notifications drive 2,770 percent higher conversion rates for the same number of sends as compared to batch and blast mobile push notifications. This is driven by a 726 percent higher click rate and a 420 percent higher post-click conversion rate.

The report shows that different types of triggers perform with varying success. For example, retargeting triggers do particularly well via push notifications — much better than sending an email after a retargeting ad has been clicked. Email is better for recommendation triggers, such as the use of “get the look” or “wishlist” features on a retail website.

“In general, push notifications work well for targeting near-term intent and quick decisions on the part of customers, whereas email is better for encouraging additional browsing and targeting persistent interests,” Vijay Chittoor, cofounder and CEO at Blueshift, told me. “That’s part of the reason re-marketing triggers work especially well on push, and recommendation triggers work especially well on email.”

While triggered push notifications are apparently performing well against their batch counterparts, VB Insight research shows that email still has the highest ROI of any marketing channel. Why is that?

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“Email has the highest ROI for three reasons,” Chittoor said. “It’s a channel that can be used with all ‘platforms’ — website customers can receive an email, but so can app users and store customers. Customers can consume emails at the time of their choice, sometimes hours after it’s sent. And email offers marketers a lot of real estate to deliver a message leading to higher efficacy.”

So will we see a day when mobile notifications usurp the ROI attainable from email?

“Mobile push notifications will always be limited with regards to reach since they can only be sent to users who have the app installed,” Chittoor said. “For some businesses like Uber, that number is 100 percent, but for many other businesses mobile app install rate will be a smaller fraction of customers. However, if iOS and Android continue the recent trend in improving the interactivity of push notifications and improvements to the notification centers, their efficacy could potentially overtake email in the future.”

Chittoor thinks that, by some definition, mobile push notifications have already surpassed email.

“In my previous experience as a marketer, I have also found it useful to look at mobile as a marketing channel (e.g. mobile push channel, compared to email channel), as well as to look at it as a platform (mobile app and mobile website as platforms, versus desktop web platform),” Chittoor said. “While mobile as a marketing channel might take longer to overtake email, mobile as a platform has already overtaken desktop as a platform for many companies.”

So what’s next for personalized marketing? Apparently it’s driving significant improvements in engagement over batch and blast tactics.

“We talk about three frontiers of personalization, and what’s next along each of them,” Chittoor said. “Moving from batch and blast personalization, to segmented, and finally to triggered 1:1 personalization. Moving from manual personalization, to rule-based but automated, and finally to predictive personalization. And moving from single channel to multi-channel personalization, and finally to unifying the personalization experience across channels.”

The report, which breaks down engagement rates by trigger type and includes details of both triggered emails and mobile push notifications, is available today from the Blueshift website.

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