push notification best practices

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As time passes by and modern technologies come into play, smarter businesses shift to the new ways to communicate with their audience. There was a time when telecall was one of the trending methods, then came SMS, and then the Email marketing, which is still one of the top marketing channels for the modern-day businesses.

Bottom line: Survivors always find something trending to promote them and extract the maximum from their marketing efforts. Push marketing is one such trending tech that has been in the market for quite a few years only, and yet it has secured a positive influence in the business industry over a squatter span of time.

Push Marketing- An underrated tool

A study by kahuna reveals that the application of push marketing tactics is diverse across the modern-day industries. E-commerce and travel industries, despite being the highest consumers of push marketing strategies, show only 10-15% of the engagement levels. While more than 40% of the notifications from utility and financial businesses display positive engagement with the prospects.

The reason behind this massive difference resides in the alterations in their utility and value for the subscribers. For instance, the financial industry mainly entails businesses like Banking, Credit card, Loan, Stock Market & Insurance companies. The subscribers would not mind the notifications that communicate bank balance information, credit card statement, transaction reports, Stock alerts & Insurance EMI reminders etc. Users willingly opt-into these alerts.

 push notification best practices

Simply, these are triggered according to the preferences and are highly targeted to land at the accurate destination at the correct time.

Talking about eCommerce industry, except for a few transactional alerts, most of the push notifications are either promotional or irrelevant to the particular user. As a result, these messages fail to acquire the expected ROI. Some other aspects, which are also responsible for this difference, are timing, frequency, and the location of the users.

To acquire a handsome return of on the investments made in push marketing, you can follow the following best push notifications practices, prepared considering the above-mentioned aspects:

Choose a perfect push notification tool

The strategy to select an appropriate push notification tool mainly relies on two aspects:

  • The types of notifications to be sent and
  • The choice of payment for the push marketing campaign

Depending on the type of notifications, pick from two categories of tools:

  • Web push notifications: A web push notification tools send notifications to the subscribers on their web browsers (both mobile and desktop web browsers).
  • Mobile push notifications: A mobile push notification tool will send and track the notifications sent to the users who have installed your mobile app.

Depending on the budget and type of payment schemes, you can choose from two options:

  • Pay-per-notification services: These services will ask you for a subscription fee, and you will be paying on a per-notification basis. For example, they might charge you around $105 per 10000 notifications.
  • Self-hosted push notifications: These tools ask you for a one-time purchasing cost and do not charge further. Except for some tools that charge for new updates and upgrades in the features. That too is optional.


Push Notification Best Practices


Mobile push notification best practices

Mobile offers a completely different environment for pushing notifications. As compared to the web push notifications, they offer additional ways to entice click through by taking care of the best time to send push notifications, notification content and the level of personalization. Hence, you should always have separate strategies for mobile push notifications best practices in 2018 & their general rules of thumb:

  1. Engagement notifications

Send notifications that encourage users to use your mobile app or service more and more. Engagement push notifications should be meant for attracting user’s attention and inspiring them to take an action after interacting with the message. So, always try to keep them more informational instead of sounding promotional.

The following push notification is informing a user and encouraging him to tap on it. It is an example of good push notifications in this category.

 mobile push notification best practices
Image Source: UXplanet
  1. Preference-based notifications

Rather than pushing out random messages, let your users choose what they want to receive. For example, if you own a flight-booking app, you can ask the users to subscribe for low fare alerts or some other preferences like route change alert, boarding gate alert or Tickets flash sale alert etc.

  1. Behavior-based notifications

You can easily track your users’ in-app behaviors from app analytics and trigger notifications based on different in-app events. For example, you can trigger an abandoned cart notification if a user exists from the checkout page without completing the payment. You can trigger a notification when a new episode is uploaded on your video streaming app.

 mobile push notification best practices
Image source: Netflix Mobile App
  1. Location-based notifications

Mobile offers the best way to trigger location-based notifications by tracking the real-time geolocation of users. The GPS capabilities in the modern day smartphones make them highly useful for this tactic. For instance, this flight-booking app utilizes a location-based personalization to make their notifications more valuable to its users. Indeed no user would love to block such notifications.

Location based push notifications

Web Push Notification Best Practices

Web push notifications offer a little-suppressed ability as compared to the mobile phones. However, they offer some unique ways to get real-time conversions. By including these web notification best practices in your strategy, you can effectively collect competitive ROI from web notifications too.

  1. Transactional notifications

Utilize web push notifications to offer informative content like transactional push alerts. As web offers a little lesser degree of personalization, you can make the best use to communicate utility information like product delivery alert, new flash, update in shipping policies, flight schedule alert.

Transactional Push Notifications primarily aim at delivering crucial and time-sensitive information rather than getting a conversion action form the users. Users willingly opt-in to such notifications. You can use transactional alerts to engage with your users for an elongated period by offering them useful information in general.

For example, the following push alerts from a healthcare website does not offer a direct ROI to the publisher. Instead, it is building a healthy relationship with the user to grow customer loyalty and customer retention.

 push notification best practices push notification best practices

  1. Browser-based notifications

Browser notifications are a more personalized practice of web push alerts and offer a higher degree of personalization in some supported browsers. Utilize the features and level of personalization offered by the individual web browsers and send alerts deliberated especially for them.

For example, Google Chrome push notifications allow the publishers to add CTA button in the alerts, while Firefox does not. Hence, you will need to adopt a different strategy to target the users on these two different web browsers.

 push notification best practices 2020

  1. Offers and abandoned cart notifications

Still, a majority of shoppers run to their laptops and desktops for making a final purchase after researching about the products on their mobile phones. Web push alerts can utilize this behavior and encourage users to complete their purchase on their desktop browsers alone. You can target the computer users and trigger real-time offers and abandoned cart alerts to get instant conversions.

For example, you can trigger this alert to a user who is researching about cheap flight tickets to a holiday destination while sitting in his office cubical.

 push notification best practices 2020

  1. Utility notifications

The most effective way to come up with relevant notifications is to link the utility to their daily life routine. Offer the notifications that aid them in their day-to-day work, instead of sounding like a promotion. Nobody would afford to block or ignore an alert that offers some life hack.

For instance, as an online medicine retailer, you can support your customers by reminding them of the correct time to take their medicines. Like this example –

Utility Notifications

Notifications UX best practices

All the notifications UX best practices aid the marketers for creating notifications, which do not only look good but also encourage users to interact with it. Be it a transactional notification or an engagement push alert, the primary conversion goal is to get a click-through. This happens only when your notification is designed carefully and delivers the message in the most proficient way –

  1. Notifications should stand out in the list

A good push notification positions out itself from the rest in a huge list of alerts on the notification bar. It draws attention by offering a unique proposition that no one else can deliver. It is not just about the size of the offer, but also the aim to build healthy relationships is considered here.

Just look at this push notification-

 best practices of push notifications
Source: Twitter & Leanplum

This notification can win an attention just by a single glance. It is not merely informing the user, but also promoting itself by hooking the attention with a simple piece of humor in it.


  1. Use brand icons and banner images

The graphic has always been a distinct means to tempt attention. You can use images in your notifications to grab an instant charisma that entices users. Use two images in your notification content to drive maximum attention: one for brand icon and other for in-body content like a banner image. Something like in this notification:

 best practices of push notifications


How to write push notifications?

You can use the following best practices while writing the content for your push notifications:

  1. Use selective capitalization to highlight important information.Highlight information
  2. Keep it to the human side and do not annoy users with a robotic sound. Carefully assign your words after dedicating a few moments to inspect the message tone. If you think it is redundant or seem like an auto-generated text, rewrite again until it sounds like a handwritten piece.Personalized push notifications
  3. Address them with their names. Even the stats prove that personalized messages convey six-time better traction than general tones. The generic one-size-fits-all has become past and it is no more applied to the marketing tactics today. You can get some useful data like consumers’ names, age and gender information from the Google Analytics, and use it to address the users with their names, making the notifications look more personal.
  4. Keep it clear and brief. According to our research, push notifications with 25 or fewer characters deliver better results than the elongated messages. People do not spend more than a few seconds in reading push alerts. Hence, do not beat around the bush and write your notification copy in the fewest possible characters.

What is the best time to send push notifications?

Timing matter while sending notifications to users. You must identify the right time and correct frequency of notifications that would do the job without annoying the users. One of the most efficient ways is to timing them with sufficient gap so that users get enough time for reading and interacting with your previous communications before you trigger the next message in the queue.

PS: The correct threshold or the frequency of the notifications can vary from information to information and publisher to publisher. For example, a news app can send multiple news flashes in a relatively lesser time gap as compared to an e-commerce app, which sends promotional alerts.


Push notifications have become one of the best operative tools for marketing, customer-re-engagement and brand education. Keep in mind that segmentation is the key to success here. Always segment your audience in as many groups you can identify, and send alerts that are relevant and useful to the segment. Only a highly targeted campaign can lead to a highly successful campaign.  So get to know their audience first before stepping onto the word of push marketing. Ultimately, you would be doing the whole thing for retaining your old customers and getting the new ones at the same time.

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