What is a push notification?

Glossary What is a push notification?

The definition of push notification

Push notifications are messages that can be sent directly to a user’s mobile device. Unlike in-app messages, push notifications can appear on a lock screen or in the top section of a mobile device. An app publisher can only send a push notification if the user has their app installed.

If you have installed the app and have enabled push notifications, they can be sent by the app publisher at any time. Push notifications can be sent without the app requiring the user’s contact information (note that the app must first ask the user for permission in order to send push notifications).

Push notifications are a lot smarter than when Apple first rolled them out in iOS 3.0. In their most recent version, a push notification can play a personalized notification tone, send users a short message, put a numbered badge over the app’s icon or enable you to complete an action without ever having to open the app. Each OS has its own type of push notification service, including Apple’s iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, and Fire OS.

Why are push notifications important?

Push notifications are very effective at helping users stay engaged with an app or re-engaging with an app they haven’t opened in a while. This is particularly useful because re-engaged users have significantly higher in-app conversion rates and lower acquisition costs than new users. Because you can receive pushes while you’re browsing in-app or even when your device is locked, this makes them a great way to convey messages of urgency, such as breaking news, current traffic conditions, or limited-time offers.

Different types of push notifications

  1. Banner notifications: these are short messages that pop up and disappear. They can contain the beginning of a message (in the case of a chat app), or contain alerts for events like sales, sports scores, or flight check-ins.

  2. Badge notifications: this type of notification looks like a red badge applied to the app’s icon, usually with a number (to alert you, for example, of unread messages or new podcasts on your device).

  3. Alerts: unlike push notifications, alerts stay on-screen until you manually delete them.

When personalized, push messages receive a high open and click-through rate (CTR), and can be one of the most effective ways for mobile apps to reach out to their user base. However, their interruptive nature means that there’s a fine line between keeping users engaged and annoying them outright. For example, a push message that informs you of a traffic jam near your house just before you’re about to head out to work in the morning is a helpful message, whereas a message about traffic in a foreign city, or a message sent at 4:00 AM isn’t nearly as welcome. If the messages are perceived as an unwanted distraction, this may motivate the user to head into their settings and turn off notifications for that app.

What are some good practices for writing push notifications?

  1. Keep it snappy, short and sweet.

  2. Personalize the content for the user (including language, time and content).

  3. Use the language of a call to action (CTA) to encourage the user’s next step.

  4. Be judicious when you decide what’s push-worthy. Do they need this info right now?

  5. Include push notifications in your attribution solution and optimize for best results.

Push notifications and Adjust

Tracking push notifications is effortless with Adjust. Once you integrate our SDK and create your unique tracker URLs, you can track the metrics of your push notification campaigns in one unified dashboard. To learn about how you can work with hundreds of partners to optimize your retargeting and re-engagement campaigns.

Be the first to know. Subscribe for monthly app insights.