Prodtyping

The process on turning ideas into reality

January 7th 2019

What is a push notification?

A push notification is the delivery of information to a device from an application without a specific request from the device itself. Push notifications can be sent from both mobile and web applications. Introduced in 2009, the Apple Push Notification Service (APNs) was first available on iOS devices. The following year Google introduced its own service for Android called Google Cloud to Device Messenger (C2DM). In 2013 Google rolled out richer notification and action buttons which enabled developers to integrate enhanced features for Android devices. The following year Apple followed suit with its own introduction to enhanced notification features for iOS.

Key Points for Push Notifications

  • The user must opt-in to receive notifications on initial install.
  • A user must always have the power to grant/revoke consent for notifications.
  • Push notifications don't require the application to be opened on a device for the message to be seen.
  • They can be seen when the device is locked or when the app is not running.

Push notifications can be great a great marketing tool to help companies stay in contact with their users. However…

When users are inundated with multiple push notifications they may opt out of them entirely or delete the application altogether.

What are good ways to use push notifications?

Reminders Breaking news Personalized offers Abandoned cart alerts Specials/deals/sales Location-specific notifications

What kind of metrics can push notifications provide?

  • Delivery receipts
  • Open rates
  • Open times
  • Engagement
  • Interaction times
  • Click through rate

By tracking actionable metrics the data can be used to launch more well-informed campaigns to connect with consumers better! 🥳

Tips for creating effective push notifications

Length Matters 10 or fewer words will on average have a higher click-through rate. Once a notification hits around 11–21 words that rate drops down by about half.

Personalization is key Understand the users, who they are, and what they want in order to send them meaningful notifications.

Add personal touches by:

  • Using names in notifications
  • Reference their location
  • Note purchase/content history

Emojis increase engagement

Images are easier for the human brain to process and they help to convey meaning over text. According to some smart folks at MIT, "An image can be extracted … at 13 milliseconds per image - a rate of about 75 frames a second". This means that we're more likely to remember images than text!

Use power words Power words are words that make either an emotional or psychological impact to create more effective communication.

They can be categorized into five different categories:

  • Urgency
  • Value
  • Exclusivity
  • Emotions
  • Personalization

Some example power words include: important, instantly, reminder, today, fast, immediately, offer, buy, free, deal, discount, member, limited, exclusively, reward, gift, dream, improve, imagine, indulge, happy, you, me, our, us, I.


A push notification is a message from an application that the user has opted in to receive. When used correctly can add a lot of value to businesses. Being able to connect with consumers on a more personalized level can lead to better retention rates for application use and provide creative ways to market to consumers.