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Everything You Should Know About Push Notifications

August 24, 2020

push notifications

Every time you open your devices, there’s a queue of announcements and updates that take you through the journey of a particular product. 

These announcements are an integral part of the customer engagement strategy of a business. There are various touchpoints where customers get familiar with any brand, be it through the blogs, social media, push notifications, emails – the list goes on. But it requires considerable experimentation to know what channel works best for a particular brand. Let’s go over how to optimize your push notification campaigns to boost your conversion rates.

What are push notifications? 

Push notifications are a brief message update that a website or an app sends to their users or subscribers on their devices. A user may be browsing somewhere else, yet still receives the notification, regardless of what devices they are on. The goal of push notifications is increasing user re-engagement.

Push notifications have evolved a lot in recent years with brands looking forward to quick interaction with their users. The anatomy of push notifications is very simple: your logo, a description, title, and a CTA.  

push notification

How have push notifications reformed customer engagement? 

One important parameter that businesses shouldn’t ignore is their website traffic. Common mediums like social media, newsletters, and SMS marketing have been used to redirect users to a website. But what could be more promising than these channels with less time consumption and efforts? Push notifications. 

Ease of opt-in and opt-out for notifications 

Eighty-eight percent of users avoid re-visiting a site due to bad user experience. Push notifications are an easy way to engage users so that they give your site a second chance if something turned them sour the first time.

There is no complex interaction or steps required for a user to receive a push notification. When a user visits a site, an opt-in appears, which makes it easy for a user to decide if they want to get updated through a push or not. A user has the freedom to unsubscribe using the push service by simply blocking the notifications or turning it off. 

One-step interaction between a user and a brand 

Unlike other engagement channels, such as email marketing, where a user has to open the mail and then the inbox, notifications require just a single click from a user to redirect to the website again. This simplified approach pushes more users to the conversion funnel. A user doesn’t need to visit a dedicated platform to see the notifications as it directly appears on a user’s screen. 

Retargeting and retention 

You’ve heard time and again how acquiring new customers costs more than retaining old ones, and that remains true today – which is why you shouldn’t undersell the value of push notifications. 

Push notifications focus on targeting the existing customer base. Retaining users becomes possible when a user receives a quality update from the website instead of some irrelevant content that will add another churn in your stats. When quality push updates are sent to users, it gives them a reason to re-visit the website, and a brand continues succeeding in retaining the existing customers. Send a customized push that a user would want to see on their screen and click it on the go. 

A brief, to-the-point message that creates urgency 

When users receive a notification which tells them, for example, a specific offer is going to end soon, it creates an urgency in their mind, which ultimately garners a higher CTR. The notification doesn’t need paragraphs and long-form content like email does. A catchy title with few words in the description and an exciting call-to-action is all you'll need. 

What type of push notifications campaigns do businesses send? 

The use cases of push notification vary based on the industry implementing it, e.g. an e-commerce portal, an edtech platform, a media publisher, or a generalized website. Let’s take a look at a few industry use cases more specifically. 

Cart abandonment 

E-commerce portals engage their customers by sending them reminders if something is left in their cart. A cart abandonment notification prompts a customer to make further purchases. The response rate of notification is higher than the emails or SMS. For companies who have a limited budget to build mobile applications, website push notifications help in sending time-sensitive reminders. 

cart abandonment notification

Holiday discounts and sales

During peak holiday times, companies engage their customers more actively. A part of engagement includes offers, exclusive deals, sales, gift vouchers, etc. Where other channels like emails or social media might take time to yield promising results, push notifications become a need of the hour to send notification triggers to the users. Attractive deals and offers excite users and result in more conversion during festive occasions. 

holiday discounts

Geo-targeted push notifications 

Ever noticed when you come close to the physical location of a retail store and instantly receive a notification? These are geo-based push notifications that enable brands to engage users when they are closer to the location of the store. These types of push notifications study user journey and get triggered at the right time and location. The end result is probably you ending up in the store for shopping! Push notifications not only benefit brands but users as well who are notified of the trending information on their devices. 

News alerts

A news or an update which is not sent at the right time can drop at the relevancy level for readers. A push notification plays a crucial role in media websites who have hundreds of updates at the same time. Push notifications can be sent through Rss-to-push feature which allows automating the push as and when a news piece goes live on the website. This saves time and resources for media publishers where time is a critical factor. 

Job updates

Job platforms have seen incremental growth in recent years other than offline hiring. Job portals send alerts to jobseekers based on their preferred role titles, which is a prime opportunity to take advantage of push notifications. Newly-listed roles from particular companies can be pushed out to the targeted user base through these notifications. 

Push notifications vs. other channels 

While the value of push notifications has been well emphasized above, let’s discuss why other venues for notifications aren’t always as effective.

Email marketing notifications

Email marketing is a part of most business’ outreach strategies, whether it includes sending trending content from your website or weekly promotional engagement emails. However, the response rates of email as compared to push notifications are low. Some of the factors that contribute to the low success rates are emails ending up in spam, too many emails from various subscriptions in a user’s inbox, or offers/discounts being rerouted to a “promotions” tab.

While all of these factors can easily make your email be overlooked, push notifications are directly available on the front screen of users’ devices and take under 10 seconds to revisit the website via a notification.

One thing that should be considered here is that even though push notifications yield better results in quick delivery, email marketing gives you the freedom to show the creative side of a brand. Long-form content can be used in email marketing along with videos and graphics, whereas push notifications limit the use of creative content.

While designing a push notification strategy, it’s crucial to curate the content which is highly optimized within a strict character limit, as a push notification is designed similarly to reflect an email subject line. Short, sweet, and succinct. 

SMS notifications 

SMS is another channel often used to re-engage subscribers. However, with cost-effective tools in the market, this channel has seen a substantial decrease in usage. The average cost of sending SMS messages to a user base of 1000 runs between $500-$4000, whereas email marketing averages around $150-$1100. 

Still, of those two, push notifications are the cheapest and most effective tool provided for free from most push services and the paid version starts from a fixed threshold of subscribers. SMS offers no capacity to send images along with the copy, which means SMS notifications as a tool sees relatively low engagement rates compared to push notifications and email marketing. 

Tracking your push campaigns

Tracking push notifications campaigns is relatively easier than other channels, for example, as shown in the image below.

push notification tracking Source

Subscriber rate 

The numbers of subscribers joining your website and application on a daily basis can be easily tracked from the dashboard of a push service. Tracking your daily subscriptions also acts as a mirror to the quality and relevance of push notifications. The higher the subscriber rate, the more likely it is to indicate that your push notifications are highly customized. 

View rates 

View rates tell how many users have received a push message successfully on their screen. The view rate for push notifications is as high as 90% because of the direct visibility on the screens. 

Click-through rates 

CTR tells how many users have clicked on the notification. The CTR for a push campaign can go high as 21% based on the industry using it. In order to reach that mark, your team should follow the industry best practices while building your push notification marketing strategy to yield higher conversions. 

How to optimize your push notification campaigns 

After we realize that push notifications are a promising source of conversion, it’s now important to understand that optimizing your push campaigns should be the next step to have more clicks and conversions. The more the clicks, the more repeat traffic it generates. 

Using rich visual content 

Rich push notifications refer to the quality and attractiveness of the notifications that play an essential role in engaging visitors. A rich push template can include an image, website icon, CTA buttons, and emojis along with relevant copy.

  • Images: Using large images help to build a context along with the text. As there would be a word count limit for notification title and description, thus, having an image helps to convey the message and maintain the aesthetics of push communication. A good quality image with relevancy fetches a higher CTR than the notification comprising of text without an image 
  • CTA buttons: Every notification has a CTA button to drive the users back to the landing page. The CTA button is one of the most vital elements of a push notification. Different types of CTAs may be used given the relevant context of the message. For example, an e-commerce website might use a “buy now”; a publisher might use “read more”; and a movie site might use “watch again”.


Importance of landing pages for push notifications 

After a notification is created and sent, the next step a brand should consider is to optimize their landing page. Consider this: a user clicks on the notification because they found it useful and relevant to their interests. When redirected to the landing page, if the content on that page is not relevant to what was promised in the push notification, it could damage the reputation of a brand, forcing the user to feel disengaged and want to unsubscribe. 

To keep your landing pages relevant in context to your push notifications, make sure to: 

  • Keep the information aligned with what you promised in the push notification 
  • Have relevant links, images, and sign-ups for user engagement 
  • Avoid having ads or spam-like content clog up the page 

Page load speed 

If pages on mobile sites take more than three seconds to load, it results in 53% greater abandoned visits. The page loading speed is as important as designing a perfect notification campaign. If the page speed is not optimized, the worth of a push notification narrows down to nil. The ultimate aim of a push notification is to drive the users back to your website and mobiles. The slow page speed leads to bad user experience and can increase the churn rates exponentially. 

Usage of notifications across devices 

A push notifications campaign should be optimized across all devices, whether it's a cell phone or a laptop. Sending notifications campaigns first to the test users would help to analyze how a campaign appears across different devices. 

Fifty-five percent of time spent on websites comes from desktop browsing while 40 percent is from mobile devices, which shows that users prefer to be engaged via desktop over mobile. However, the difference is not much significant, and therefore, the push campaign should be tested both on mobile and desktop before sending to your users. 


Push notifications have garnered a lot of attention recently with the promising results, the channel yields. The quick, crisp and to the point notification updates takes user re-engagement to the next level. A well-built push notification is designed by keeping the user experience as the priority. 

Push notifications work best when updates are sent at the right time to the right users.  For better conversion, the audience should be well understood and highly targeted to avoid obtrusive push updates to the wrong people. 

Make your notifications stand out by using the right push notification software for your business' needs. Find your solution on G2. 

Everything You Should Know About Push Notifications Push notifications are essential for any omnichannel marketing strategy. Find out how your business can use app and web push notifications to boost customer engagement.
Tina Verma Tina Verma is a marketing manager and the host of Game of Growth, an original podcast hosted by Truepush. She helps brands grow with new initiatives and strategies. Additionally, she has been a contributor to the prestigious IIM-A incubator blog, People of Bharat.

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