Simply put, a push notification is a message or alert you receive from an app that’s installed on your mobile device - regardless of whether the app is open or not.  As the name implies, these messages are pushed out to all users of the app who’ve chosen to receive notifications.   

But unlike an email (which comes from another email account) or a text message (which comes from another phone), push notifications come from the apps you’ve chosen to download.  And while you may not want marketing emails or text messages from companies who have somehow managed to get your email address or phone number, push notifications come from the apps whose parent brands are those you’ve specifically chosen to interact with.  These are the brands you’re most engaged with - after all, you’ve made space for them on the device you carry and check most during your day.  And for this reason, push notifications are some of the most-read, most engaged messages out there. 

According to Responsys, 70% of consumers say that push notifications are valuable to them.

And data from Urban Airship shows that push messages increase both engagement and retention by as much as 40% and 116% respectively.

Examples of common push notification topics include:

  • Automated bank alerts
  • Event reminders
  • Gaming updates
  • Marketing offers
  • Breaking news
  • Weather alerts

Like most message technology today, push notifications have the ability to be automated, manually sent, or scheduled in advance, which is especially helpful to marketers planning out broad campaigns. In addition, some providers have the ability to segment messages based on user preferences and demographics, providing more relevant content and happier users.

But remember: don’t overdo it. Consumers count on push notifications to contain the most relevant, engaging information. By unnecessarily increasing your frequency or diluting your messages with too much unhelpful or promotional content, you may detract users from reading or even using your app.