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If you click on WSJ push notifications, you're one in a million

Here’s a Nieman Lab article about the WSJ’s push notifications, which is hobbled somewhat by the Journal being rather coy about what it’s revealing. Specifically, while the WSJ was happy to say that its average open rate had gone up by 21% after certain tweaks, they wouldn’t tell Nieman what it was, or is.

Journal mobile product manager Greg Emerson did, however, share this:

The Journal’s five best-performing notifications were all sent in the second half of 2016, he said. Those alerts would all still be the the top performing notifications using traditional open rates as well, he said. (The top notification? An alert sent the night before Election Day that offered latest predictions on various races. It was “six orders of magnitude above the average open rate.”)


The open rate on any notification has an upper bound of 100%. So, let’s assume the open rate on the Election Day notification was 100%. If that’s the case, then the average open rate is six orders of magnitude lower than that – which would be 0.0001%.

To put it another way, the highest possible average open rate for WSJ push notifications would seem to be 0.0001%, or one open for every 1 million notifications.


Either that, or Greg Emerson has no idea what an order of magnitude is.

Update: Greg emails! Apparently he meant to say “six times the average open rate”. Glad that’s cleared up.

Host and editor, Cause & Effect

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