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What are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are a communication channel built into every mobile device sold today.

Push notifications allow apps to reach out to users with short messages that users may respond to.

Three things to know about push notifications:

  1. Push notifications are the first and often most important communications channel used by apps
  2. Nearly every major app uses push notifications for transactions and re-engagement.
  3. Push notification technology is rapidly evolving from a simple message delivery system to a rich and interactive medium.


Push Notifications

About Push Notifications

 Users today have a hard time remembering what apps they even have on their device. Notifications help these services deliver timely and relevant information to users, and in doing so, staying top of mind.

A recent study showed that mobile users receive an average of 63.5 notifications per day, with most notifications coming from messaging and email applications.

Push notifications at their core are simply a way of alerting users to information that they have opted-in to from apps and services. Notifications encompass nearly every possible use case and type of service, including other communications mediums like email, SMS, and VoIP.

Three basic types of notifications: Transactional, System, and User notifications.

Transactional Notifications

Transactional notifications are used to notify users of events. For example, notifying a user that a package has shipped or that their flight is delayed.

System Notifications

System notifications are used to tell users about new product features or opportunities. For example, notifying a user of a new product feature, or of a holiday discount.

User Notifications

User notifications are used to notify users of new messages from their friends, such as in an e-mail or social networking application.

The Right Message at the Right Time

According to a recent study, notifications can frequently be considered an interruption:

“Participants reported that mobile messaging and email apps interrupted them in almost 50% of cases”

Despite their interruptive effects, a high volume of relevant or personal notifications actually has positive effects —

“Receiving more messages is significantly correlated with increased feelings of being connected with others … Overall this implies that while these services are at times interrupting and overwhelming, the fact that they help users to keep in touch with friends, family and others appears to also have positive effects.”

Scheduling notifications intelligently plays a major role in increasing the likelihood of a user interacting with a notification, and improving the overall user experience. Notifications from messaging and social networking applications should generally be sent immediately, while other notifications are frequently best delayed until the user is less likely to be interrupted.