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 organisationslike yoursconnect 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

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

Club communication doesn’t need to be a headache!

Is connecting with your club community a hassle?

Do you struggle to maintain engagement throughout your club’s season?

Are you frustrated having to manage multiple platforms to ensure your messages are being heard and the community informed? Is managing multiple platforms a huge headache?

Do people even read your emails?!

– your club right in your members’ pocket!


Whether it is sharing event details, changes, cancellations, newsletters, club admin updates, video footage from a recent competition or sending notifications, our mobile app (iOS and Android) solution brings your people together.

In a world of digital-overload, we provide a one-stop solution that streamlines your admin-function connecting and engaging everyone, young or old, inspiring them to make the most of their club experience.

Get in-touch with us now, to learn how EzyConnect can help your club.

Meet Orphans Aid

We are lucky to have some wonderful customers who do amazing work within the broader community. Today, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to Orphans Aid International.

Orphans Aid work hard to ensure those suffering the impacts of poverty and abuse, especially orphaned and abandoned children, are given the love and care they so desperately need. With an estimated 150 million orphans globally our work has just begun.

We think that’s a pretty great thing that they do and wanted to encourage you to check out their app and support their work. You can download the app by clicking the links below –

Are you a charity?
Do you have a challenge engaging with your community?
Want to learn how EzyStream can help you take your communication story to the next level?

Contact us or sign up your 30 day trial NOW!

Want to inspire more engagement with your presentation?

EzyStream notes are a clever way to publish pre-prepared material for an event to the people attending, and allow them to add/edit that note on their own device.

It’s very effective for talks, sermons and presentations.

A user has the ability to both create their own note, as well as view and amend a published note within your app. You can publish a note in the EzyStream dashboard and make this available to everyone who has your app.

Are you an existing EzyChurch or EzyConnect customer? Learn more about using EzyStream Notes here.
Notes requires EzyChurch or EzyConnect App Ver 4.1.0 for Android and Ver 4.2 for iOS as a minimum. Contact us if you are not sure if your app supports Notes.

Meet Bron!

We would love to introduce you to Bron (Bronwyn) Bell.

Bron joined EzyStream in our Auckland office six months ago and is already making her mark. We were pretty excited in November to make Bron our employee of the month.

We really believe in excellent customer service here at EzyStream and love hearing from our customers when our team go above and beyond. Late last year we were getting report after report from our customers about the fantastic support Bron was providing.

Just a little background on Bronwyn.

Bron came to EzyStream as our first Sales Account Executive hire in August 2018 and we love having her bubbly personality around the office.

By day you can find her talking to pastors about our app, training church administrators on how to use it and speaking to sports clubs and charities about the power of online communication and how EzyStream and EzyConnect can engage their communities.

Bron finds the most rewarding part of her job is training our new clients on how to use the app. She love nothing more than seeing their excited faces looking at an app that they’ve just created by themselves, followed closely by the encouraging talks she gets to have with church pastors on a daily.

By night she is typically busy running after her 3 year old son, playing pretend bus drivers or explaining why it’s better to eat broccoli for dinner instead of a bowl of M&M’s.

Over the course of Bron’s 13 year Sales Career, she has been affiliated with companies such as Thomson Reuters, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Symantec.

So that’s our superstar, Bron! You can connect with Bron on LinkedIn here.

Introducing Dave….our Head of Sales

Hi. Dave McDougall here.
I joined EzyStream in late May, 2018 as Head of Sales. I am excited about the opportunity presented by EzyStream and the dynamic platform that we have allowing our customers the ability to connect, engage and inspire their communities.
I have a long history working within technology and around software specifically. I actually started my career working in the music industry as a music recording engineer working out of York Street Recording studios in Auckland and touring with bands like the Parachute Band and Steriogram around New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
For the past 20 years however I have been squarely focused on technology, working in IT administration, development and project management roles as well as a long stint working for another New Zealand born software company Streamtime.
My role at EzyStream is about helping build a team around a strategy to expand our customer base. I will be working to grow the team, implement the processes and systems to allow us to manage customer growth efficiently and working on the coal face dealing with you, our customers!
I am excited to be here at EzyStream and about the future our business has with this exciting platform.
I look forward to working with our clients and meeting all the new prospective organisations out there who will reap the benefits out platform can provide.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me!