What is a Push Notification?

A Push Notification is an alert or short message that an advertiser can text to anyone who has downloaded a specific app. Push notifications are compatible with all mobile devices including Android or IOS operating systems. Depending on the audience, the push notification can go out to all app users simultaneously or the message can be targeted specifically for certain groups on certain days. There is a lot of variety with how push notifications can be segmented for delivery. They can send product updates, event reminders, bank account status updates or even fraud alerts. Some push alerts are more specific to a certain location. These notifications may involve breaking news about local traffic accidents or weather warnings and updates. Airlines regularly use push notifications to advise travelers if there are delays or cancellations affecting their trips.

How a Push Notification Works

  1. It has four parts

    A Push Notification set up consists of four parts to the process. The advertiser has to select an operating system also known as an Operating System Rush Notification Service (OSPNS). Using the OSPNS, the app publisher adds the app to the App Store for IOS or Google Play for Android users. The client has to install the app on their mobile devices in order to receive push notifications as text messages. In many cases, the customer has to opt-in for the service. As an optional measure, the Software Development Kit (SDK) includes special coding in the app so that advertisers can target their messages and alerts. The SDK also provides useful metrics designed to track the kinds of messages that go out and follow who responds.

  2. It has several uses

    There is no one-size-fits- all strategy for a push notification. Different alerts fulfill different functions. Push notifications are a way for advertisers to reward loyal customers with discounts, coupons or sales on special items. A simple push notification is probably the most common one that advertisers use. This message goes out simultaneously to everyone who has downloaded the app. There are scheduled and recurring push notifications that require a specific timing before they are issued. For instance, a retail store may schedule a push notification on Tuesday to go out on Friday, the start of the weekend. A grocery store may want to use a recurring push notification for regular customers advising them about special weekly sales.

  3. It uses best practices

    A push notification text message should be no more than 60-90 characters for Androids and 120 characters maximum for iPhones. If the alert goes out as a sound, it should sound for no more than 30 seconds. There should always be a way to turn off the alerts. Unfortunately, too many push notifications can be irritating, especially if the user didn't choose the opt-in option. A smart advertiser sends no more than five push notifications per week. But, if the user gets fed up with the alerts and disables the function on their mobile device; it can be next to impossible to get users to receive any more push notifications.

Why a Push Notification Matters

  1. It helps users stay organized

    App users do all kinds of daily functions within their apps. They may track their hotel or airline loyalty points, follow the status of a recent purchase or calculate the number of calories they consumed during a day. A push notification provides a form of customer service by helping customers stay on top of special events or activities that affect their lives. The advertiser stays in contact with their users and the users get a bounce out of engaging with the advertiser. It's a win-win all around.

  2. It's a way to earn a customer's trust

    App users have to opt-in to receive a push notification. This can be a daunting ask in this time of compromised accounts. In order to send out a push notification to a customer, the advertiser has to request a phone number, email account or other personal information. Many customers aren't comfortable providing that kind of data when they first start using an app. The worst thing an app can do is ask customers to opt-in right after the install. A better option is to allow a user to first engage with the app five or six times. In this way, the user feels more familiar using the app and knows that, by the fifth visit, their information has not been compromised. This helps to build trust so that customers feel comfortable in the knowledge that the advertiser will not misuse their information.

  3. It requires action

    Once a user gets a push notification, there may be an action to take. The content message should be clear and allow the user to perform the action in the easiest, most convenient way. This helps to give the user a better online experience.