What are Push Notifications and How to Use them in 2021?

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The volume of notifications that users receive daily is enormous.Therefore, it presents a ready opportunity for businesses to interact withtheir target segments on an elementary level.

However, there is a method in the madness, and one must know how touse push notifications wisely.

Milton H Erickson, theAmerican Psychiatrist as once aptly said, “The effectiveness of communication is not defined by the communication,but by the response.

 “Average US smartphone user receives 46 app push notifications per day,”says the pushnotifications statistics 2019 by businessofapps.

Anotherstudy of mobile phone alerts indicates that on average mobile phone users get a totalof 63.5 notifications per day.

Why People Need These Notifications?

A typical user maintains a considerable number of apps on his or hersmart devices.

Users usually forget how many apps they have on their devices and thusoften miss out on updates and offers.

Notifications thus help the users to get organized.

These services help users prioritize things that should remain at thetop of their agenda.

Fun Fact:

Let's take alittle peep into history. Many of us don't know that a company called RIM (Research in Motion) who brought Blackberry mobile phones and tablets had initiallyintroduced the notification of the receipt of an email as the first example of pushservices.

What are Push Notifications?

The clickable or actionable pop-up messages and the promotionalmaterial that you encounter daily on your browser or mobile phone screen areknown as push messages and notifications.

Unlike the in-app notifications that are delivered by mobile apps,these notifications are automated communication messages delivered by thewebsites/apps directly to their users as home screen notifications.

Usually, these notifications contain a URL, a message, and an imagewith a title. Nowadays, push services are tailored and customized as perindividual users and the devices they use.

Push notifications provide updates, information, reminders, and muchmore. The aim of these services is the engagement of their users with therespective apps.

These services extending beyond mobile phones and tablets are alsoavailable as web push notifications on laptop and desktop computers.

Users engage in a host of apps in diverse areas such as news, socialnetworking, banking, gaming, healthcare, fitness, and a lot more. Keeping theirusers up-to-date with the changes occurring in their areas of interest is aprime requirement of many of these apps.

Therefore, push services have become critical in providing timelyupdates and new information to app and desktop users.

Difference between SMS and Push Notifications

SMS’s are sent over a mobile network.They are used to communicate with a customer that does not have the applicationinstalled.

On the other hand, push notifications aresent from a server, which is the backend of the application. The installedapplication prompts the user.

Push notifications are a powerful toolthat can potentially engage over 75% of your applications’ users. However,before you begin utilizing push notifications, you must ask yourself threeimportant questions:

  • Why does my app need notifications?
  • What problems will notifications help solve?
  • What are my expectations from these notifications?

Can users opt-in and opt-out of push notifications?

Users can easilyopt-out of push notifications regardless of if they’re using iOS or Android. Injust a few taps, you loseup to 88% of app’s engagement capability.

Strategizing andtiming the push notifications to perfection is key to the application'ssuccess. 65% ofusers reportedly use an app with push notifications enabled at least once amonth.

Striking theright balance when it comes to notifications is hence crucial to theapplication’s performance. If notifications are pushed a little too less, theuser is not engaged optimally. If there are too many notifications, you risklosing your users’ attention entirely.

Different Types of Push Notifications

Push notifications can be used in multiple ways and it's very easy to integrate them in your business flow.

Here are a few of the best examples to use them in a very productive way.

#1. Cart Abandonment Campaigns

All e-commerceapps utilize push notifications to re-engage customers who have abandoned theircarts in the midst of a shopping spree. On average, carts are abandoned almost70% of the time!

Using cartabandonment campaigns the right way can increase an app’s revenue by up to15%.

An e-commerce applooking to attract a customer with an abandoned cart would delivernotifications along the lines of:

“You found agreat deal on XYZ! Order it now before prices go up.”

#2. Promotional

Promotional pushnotifications apprise the users about giveaways, sales, and exclusive offers.These notifications encourage users to make purchases.

These can be usedin apps of all kinds – from shopping apps to fitness apps.

For example,Kohl’s app offers discounts by pushing the followingnotification:

“Will you get40%, 30% or 20% off? Check the App to reveal your mystery savings.”

#3. Re-engagement

Re-engagementnotifications are an enticing way of grabbing a user’s attention. Thesenotifications are designed to make the user open the app.

For instance,Yelp engages its customers using the followingnotification:

“Hi Justina, hereis a brunch spot for your Thinking Cup. Click here to take a look.”

The notificationhas a picture. Push notifications that include a picture are opened56% more than notifications with only text.

It also has anemoji. Using emojis in push notifications improves notification open rate by 85%!

#4. Announcements

Pushnotifications with announcements are a super-effective way of engaging theuser. A marketingstudy concludes that push notifications are most effective in theafternoons, Tuesday through Friday.

You can send theusers notifications announcing new app features, new products from yourcompany, or announcing the winners of a contest.

The StyleRyde appinforms the user about a new feature usingthis notification:

“Sara – Now youcan schedule StyleRyde pickups right from your smartwatch.”

How Do Push Notifications Work?

Without going into too much technicality, let's try and understand thefunctioning of push services as a layman.

With solutionsand services such as Google’sFCM, Microsoft’s Push Notification Service, Blackberry’sPush Service (BPS) as their base,they allow sending notifications across the web and mobile applications to thesubscribers.

The application server routes the notification and subscriber's datato the solution provider, say FCM.

FCM verifies the information received and further routes it to theuser's device.

The remarkability of the system is that it is real-time and hascross-platform applicability provided the solution provider offers it.

Let us first look at how the BookMyShow app uses notifications toattract customers:

what are push notifications

They used anannouncement push notification that enabled them to sell 76 Avengers: Endgametickets per second!

what is push notification how it works

BookMyShow alsocaters super elegant promotional notifications that hook customers in. Usersare forced to use their services at least twice a month.

Theirnotifications have simple CTA buttons that pull them right into a relevantsection of the app.

Netflix isanother example of great use of push notifications:

how push notification works

Netflix uses userdata to anticipate what shows and movies the user might like to know about.This data is used to deliver simple, personalized notifications.

Both theseapplications use personalized push notifications that include the user’s firstname (and sometimes even their location) to increase app engagement.

Personalizingnotifications can increase app engagement by up to800%!

Also, asmentioned, using pictures and emojis is another tactic that helps tosignificantly increase click-through rates. BookMyShow makes great use ofpictures in their notifications.

How to Ideally Use Push Notifications for Business?

Although push notifications seem an easy method to push your content easily, here are a few of the guidelines that you must follow to get most out of your push notification campaigns.

#1. Create Genuine Content

Nicely crafted content targeted towards the right audience is the key.Open-ended and persuasive content is preferable to the close-ended one. Theuser must find some benefit in the material.

The content message needs to be crisp and clear that it can engage andhook the user with a call to action.

Also, as Amazon and other e-commerce websites do, create some urgencywith a hidden message that hits the psyche of the user's “fear of losing and missing the opportunity”bias.

#2. Combine with E-mail Marketing Strategy

Clubbing the push messages with your e-mail marketing strategy can expand your reach to a broader audience.

As soon as someone subscribes to your email database, you can send them some push notifications to teach them about your product or services.

By using this technique, you can have them subscribed at both the platform and you can get in touch with them easily.

#3. Social Media

Engaging the audience on social media platforms such as Twitter,Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others further increases your reach.

You can create a page with your embedded link of notification or addit to your profile to do so.

Also, adding testimonials of your services or products by earlierusers is a great way to enhance word of mouth.

#4. Right Notifications

You can use theA/B testing method to figure out the best promotional strategiesfor your business that can engage your targeted users more.

Such testing methods provide data to create plans for maximumconversions.

#5. Segmented Campaigns

Segmented campaigns are more effective when compared to broadcastcampaigns. The pushnotification statistics reveal that they increased from 65% in2015 to 85% in 2017 and still growing. They are more effective as they narrowdown essential filters for your target audience.

You can segment your notification campaign based on geographiclocation, demographics, market or industry, past web and e-mail activities,buyer's personality, workflow activity, and many other ways.

#6. Easy Opt-in Process

Users always welcome and prefer permission-based notifications.Therefore, while the opt-in option is critical, so is the opt-out option too.The user wants the freedom of choice.

Again,  A/Btesting can be utilized to find the best suitable way for your method.

#7. Avoid the following:

Sending Excess Notifications

A robust notification campaign can increase traffic and repeat visits.However, one must not inundate and irritate the users and subscribers with toomany notifications.

It may appeal as beneficial in the shorter time frame but may come upas devastating in the long run, with users opting out quite often.


Scheduling and automating your notifications are a great time-saving mechanism and will let your users receive them at the right time. You can check for the automation tools and create an awesome strategy easily

Poor timings of notifications is a sure shot way to lowerclick-through rate and higher opt-out rate.

Timing your notifications in alignment with the different time zonesis a healthy practice to follow.

For example, post-lunch is an ideal time to send such notifications,so is early morning. However, times, when users are busy like work-hours orweekends, are not that converting.

Skipping On-board Notifications

Take your users on board by providing them with notifications atdifferent intervals. The fact that it leads them to explore different pages andposts of your website is an excellent benefit. You add layers to your leadnurturing funnels.


Your users are heterogeneous. You can't generalize your notificationsto address all of them. Customization and personalization of the notificationsas per the segmented target audience and their preferences is thereforecritical.

Lose Track of Metrics

You must keep track of the right metrics, such as click rate,conversion rate, bounce rate, and others.

Following vanity metrics that don't help in decision making is a badidea. Tools such as GoogleAnalytics and Leadfeeder will provide youwith enough information to make informed business decisions.


Segmenting and categorizing your target audience on lines of complexvariables such as demography, past e-mail, and web activity enhances youroutreach, and it a tested method of getting repeat visitors and higherconversion rates.

Skipping a Few Channels

Don’t ignore mobile for desktop or Vice-Versa. You must use thecapability of the cross-platform application. Nowadays, it is not restricted tomobile phone platforms only.

You can significantly increase your audience and, subsequently, themuch-desired conversions using all notification channels across the devices andsoftware platforms.

The Crux

Push Notifications are robust, reliable, time-saving, and efficientwith higher scalability across multiple platforms.

They find applications across diverse businesses and industries suchas Health, Fitness, Travel, Education, Job Portals, Fashion, Beauty,Home-decor, Gaming, E-commerce, and much more.

Overall, a well-crafted push notification campaign that is segmented,nicely scheduled, and aided with beautiful visuals and content can increaseyour reach and, subsequently, the conversions.

The push notifications provide the user with real-time updates ofconsistent information using the synchronization process via the cloud.

Kulwant Nagi

Hi! I am Kulwant Nagi. I created this blog in 2011 with the vision to help new bloggers. I am running more than 10 blogs on various categories and running a digital marketing company in India now.

One thought on “What are Push Notifications and How to Use them in 2021?

  1. Push notification works as a complete package service for any of the digital marketers, bloggers or business owners.

    Push notifications are ideal for sending data-driven transactional notifications including targeted e-commerce and personalized one-to-one messages.

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