Push notifications appeared a relatively short time ago, and have since become extremely popular in digital marketing. What’s the secret of this technology? How do the most successful companies increase their income with the push channel?

You’ll find answers to these, and other questions in this article. But, first, let’s define a few terms.

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Push notifications from mobile apps are different than those of web push. The latter are website notifications associated with browsers.

Although push notifications meaning has two vectors, we will talk in more detail about web push technology, its functions, and benefits for business today.

Read more about types of push notifications.

What is Push Notification?

Push Notifications (browser push, or web push) are short messages sent from a website via browser to desktop and mobile devices.

These notifications make it easy for a user to return to a website he/she has already visited. They do it much more efficiently than contextual advertising or bulk mailing. The technology of push campaigns helps to develop a more productive and user-responsive marketing strategy.

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Push notifications from mobile apps encourage a customer to open an app that is already installed on their smartphone. Web push enables a user to easily return to a website, allowing a company to establish a long-term communication with them.

Most, if not all, smartphones or laptop users have seen these notifications.

Web push is a cross platform technology. A notification on a desktop device appears on top of all open windows and remains there for some amount of time. For Windows 10 and Mac OS, after a web push is displayed, it goes to the Notification Center, and users can view it later. On mobile devices (for example, on Android OS), it pops up even if the browser is inactive.

History

  • In 2001, RIM created the first email alert system for Blackberry phones (Push Service). This eliminated the need to go into your mailbox to check for new emails. 
  • In 2009, Apple introduced push technology for the iPhone. Since then, push notifications have become an integral part of mobile apps. The technology also migrated to Android devices.
  • After push technology became successful for mobile devices, Apple developed an alert system for the desktop Safari browser. However, it wasn’t until Google supported the technology that it gained mass popularity. 
  • In April 2015, Google introduced web push for the Chrome browser. Then it was implemented in Firefox. Today, the Opera browser also supports the technology.

Today, you can integrate web push with your website through specialized services. You can start using Gravitec.net as a free push notification service, however, there are advanced features that require payment.

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Using this platform, you can send notifications via five desktop browsers – Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Yandex, and four on Android –  Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Yandex. This equates to over 85% of all Internet users.

Types of Push Notifications

There are multiple types of web push notifications defined by campaign goals.

  • Service
  • Promotional
  • News
  • Personal
  • Trigger
  • Targeted

A particular company might list others, depending on its own customer communication style. But these are the main types.

A company sends service messages to alert subscribers about changes, technical problems, etc., about their website.

Promotional notifications are perhaps the most common interactions with customers for e-commerce sites. These messages notify subscribers about sales, discounts, and special offers, etc.

News alerts are typical for the media. These notifications lead many users to return to the website due to the wide subscriber base of mass media sites, and their catchy headers. E-commerce websites also use news alerts to notify customers about products or company updates.

Trigger campaigns respond to the subscriber’s action on a website. For example, a push notification can be sent to inform a user about an abandoned cart.

Targeted campaigns affect specific subscriber groups segmented by interests, region, device, etc.

 

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The Gravitec.net platform provides customers a robust set of tools for segmenting their subscriber base. Read more about push notification segmentation

How Do Push Notifications Work

  1.   A person visits a website.
  2. The website requests permission to send notifications.
  3. The visitor chooses to allow or decline the request.
  4.   If the visitor accepts, he/she will start receiving web push notifications from the website.

You can install push technology on your website in just a few easy steps. The Gravitec.net software provides you with the ability to send notifications, track user activity, view statistics, segment your subscriber base, and perform analytics.

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You can see a preview of the Gravitec.net platform on Youtube.

What does the technology look like from the inside?

Three devices are involved in the process: a user device/browser (the Client), a website host server (the Website) and a message server (the Message Server).

A website shows a webpage to the Client and connects to the Message Server. The Client registers and receives a personal identifier (ID). Then the ID is sent to the Website, where the data is processed. After assigning an ID to a specific device, the Website sends a message through the Message Server to the Client. The process of subscribing, sending and delivering push messages is JavaScript based.

Push Notification Structure – Basic and Rich Push

The basic structure of a push notification consists of:

  1. Header
  2. Text description
  3. Image (192×192 pixel)
  4. URL

The Text can be up to 240 characters, which is a little less than a post on Twitter.

The URL is your website address (which can be a link to a Facebook page).  

You can also include big images (360х240 pixel), and extra buttons. These are considered to be advanced features, referred to as “rich push”.

UTM tags for the buttons allow click tracking.

Push notifications on desktop and mobile devices

Web notifications pop up on both desktop (laptops, PCs) and mobile devices (tablets, smartphones). Here is an example of what a push notification from a website looks like on a PC:

And let’s look at the notification on a smartphone:

Browser push notifications look different depending on the operating system. For example, a web push sent to a device running Windows 10 will look different when sent to a device running Windows 8.

Browsers: Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari

The notification appearance varies depending on a browser of a subscriber’s device. 

Here are some examples of notifications in popular browsers:

Chrome (Windows 10)

Chrome Mobile (Android)

Opera (Windows 10)

Opera Mobile (Android)

Firefox (Windows 10)

Safari (Mac OS)

iOS doesn’t support web push technology today.

How are Push Notifications Different From Text Messages?

Push notifications, unlike SMS text messages, come not only on mobile but also on desktop devices. Besides, they have completely different data transmission technology.

Let’s compare the main features of different marketing channels to clear up their benefits.

PushSMSEmail
CTR2-35%5-7%2-15%
AdvantagesSpeedy database acquisition Delivery guaranteeNo text length limits
What do you need to start?Connect to the serviceA contact baseEmail address database

The main advantage of SMS is guaranteed delivery if the mobile network is stable. However, you need a contact base to send mass text messages to your customers, but in general, people are reluctant to share personal information.

Read more about the differences between SMS and Web Push.

Push notifications are ready to be sent as soon as you get your first subscriber. The push service collects a subscriber base for marketing campaigns automatically. Due to the simplicity of the subscription, the base grows very quickly. In the first month, push technology customers typically get a significant number of subscribers.

In order to receive push notifications, all that a subscriber needs is an  Internet connection for a mobile device.  For desktop devices, subscribers also need an open web browser.  Since Wi-Fi is available in most places, even on airplanes, access to the Internet is never an issue for most subscribers.

Why Use Push Notifications?

Push notifications help business:

  • to build a loyal subscriber base
  • to set up a simple communication channel with their customers
  • to segment a customer base
  • to stimulate subscriber engagement
  • to analyze consumer behavior
  • to guide subscribers through the different stages of the sales funnel
  • to increase their purchase conversion rate

Learn more about Push Notifications Benefits

Get a free consultation to start your push campaign.