How Effective are Push Notifications for Web Applications?

  • By Amardeep Singh Sandhu

  • 28th May 2019

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Website push notifications are messages sent by a website to the user’s browser, which is clickable. They work like mobile app notifications but here for the websites instead of mobile apps.

Push notifications play a significant role when it comes to advertising eCommerce applications. The difference here lies that the push notifications are not ignorable messages. The purpose of push notification campaigns is to deliver exceptional results for online stores. Let’s get started to explore the hidden layers of push notifications.
Terminology Used for Push Notifications

• Notification – a message appearing at the user’s browser

• Push Message – A detailed note from the server to the client

• Push Notification – A notification created to give the response to a push message

• Notifications API – An interface created to configure notifications to the end user

• Push API – An interface designed to subscribe app to a push service and receive push messages

• Web Push – A simple word which refers to the processor components taking part in the complete process of pushing messages from a server to a client on the web.

• Push Service – A system that routes push messages from a server to a client. Each browser implements its push service.

• Web Push Protocol – describes how an application server or user agent interacts with a push service.

Significance of Push Notifications

The eCommerce apps have discovered numerous ways to promote their business and to increase web traffic. The various channels get engaged in introducing online campaigns to reach and engage users. Let us take a dig on the multiple channels before going more in-depth to explore push notifications:

– Email

Email is most frequently used channel to deliver curated complete information, elaborating upcoming sales and discount offers, details of product reviews, recover abandoned carts, providing transactional information such as order confirmation, tracking features, etc. The broad scope of email is its advantage to reach the masses. Another significant advantage is its enormous capacity to accommodate data in the inbox.

– Social Media

Social media networks work faster than email marketing when it comes to delivering instant offers and discounts as people spend more time on social media websites than on any other online activity. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are the main social media channels which cover almost the entire world’s internet users.


SMS is a quick way to introduce a new concept. However, due to the limitation of the 60 characters, the details can’t be delivered. If we send the repetitive message, it doesn’t have an impact on the user. Another disadvantage of SMS is its short lifespan.

– Push Notifications

Push notifications provide a default way to communicate. It ranks no. 1 over the email for promotional content delivery in real-time. The higher response rates compared to email are tempting to think of push notifications. The opt-in/opt-out options in-app push notifications provide greater control over messages which he/she wants to receive.  However, SMS often comes unsolicited, and it is harder for the user to disable.
Where does Website Push Notifications fit into the picture?

Desktop usage still has 42% exclusive audiences. Web push notifications are engaging these 42% users in advertising eCommerce deals and offers. The cost factor is another advantage to use these Push Notifications for eCommerce applications.

Building a quality app is a costly affair, and sometimes, the ROI is difficult to justify. In fact, for small and medium-sized companies, mobile websites may reach more people than mobile apps do. It makes website push notifications more crucial as they provide businesses the ability to send push notifications without introducing a mobile app.
All in all, the website push notifications are a versatile channel for eCommerce. It provides websites the power to communicate, to the end users instantly.

Working of Website Push Notifications

By default, whenever a mobile app gets installed, you permit the app to send you to push notifications. However, websites have to explicitly take permission from users before sending them to push messages. It is how website push notifications work:

The first step involves with opt-in from visitors. As soon as someone arrives on a website, an opt-in box is triggered. If the visitor clicks on “Allow,” he/she is added to your subscriber list.

As soon as a ‘visitor’ becomes a ‘subscriber,’ The title message and the text message are customizable within some character limits, with a specified URL. These notifications will arrive whenever the browser is open. Once you click the link, you will reach to a specified URL.The look of Push Notifications

Optimizing Push Notifications

Now that you are aware of the importance of push notifications and how they work let’s take a step ahead to maximize your push notifications to drive better sales from your existing users. Here we are mentioning a few ways to do it effectively:

– writing excellent push notification copy
– Time to send a push notification
– Frequency to send push notifications
– Segmentation to send personalized notifications
– Metrics to track notifications

Copywriting for Push Notifications

Since push notifications have character limits on the title as well as the message, the copywriting becomes that much more critical since you have to squeeze your message into a small sentence while still retaining its effectiveness. Whenever you write the title and message text for push notification, an essential tip is a purpose to get subscribers to click. People will click on the push notification if they find it valuable.

Here are a few tips you can follow:

In the busy schedule, you have very less time to impress your subscribers. It will not be wise to expect them to keep patience. The message which you like to deliver to your customers must be clear to have the highest click rate by the very virtue of the fact that it is action-oriented.

– Be crisp in your message – Most of the browsers have the limitation of  40-120 characters for writing push notification. Thus, it is essential for you to be very concise in writing a message. It often means that you need to identify the one most important value proposition of news and how you can highlight that message.

– Use scarcity to create urgency –The Psychology of depicts that the potential of failure has more influence over the possibility of success. It is a human tendency that we get responsive when the offer is going to get over. By making use of this trick, a valid push notification becomes easy to write

– Use Social Proof –In push notifications, social proof can be used to increase the click rate. For example, you can write figures. Internet users like to listen to numbers, not to theoretical concepts.
When to send Push Notifications?

Website Push Notifications, require an instant response on the part of the receiver. The correct timings play a vital role. A typical mistake when sending push notifications is not to consider the time zone of subscribers.
You can quickly fix this; you need to have a clear understanding of your subscribers and their time zones. It’s complicated to send a notification in a single batch but to find favorable results; you need to do that.
A wrong time to send notification

Another point of consideration is the various notifications work with multiple times during the day.  In case, you are sending a promotional message; you expect your users to be in a state of mind to read your offer carefully. Choosing to post something funny and light-hearted? Go for the afternoon, when people are feeling bored in the office and want something to crack them up.

How Frequently to Send?

The essential point to consider as you scale up push notification campaigns is the frequency of messages. Since push notifications are high-engagement communication media, you need to be careful not to inundate your users with limited notifications which they can handle.
The website push notifications are an advanced technology where. At this stage, you need to carefully monitor click rates, time on page, bounce rate, and opt-outs after every push notification to find out which frequency works best for your audience.

Using Segmentation to Send Personalized Notifications

As E-commerce marketers, personalized messages are nothing new for us. We all know that they work. However, it is doubly critical not to follow the spray-and-pray approach when it comes to website push notifications, simply because opting-out is so easy and there is no way for you to get those unsubscribe back unless they change their settings. For example, this guy is opting-out after receiving this notification.
A poorly personalized push notification

eCommerce players, therefore, need to categorize subscribers into different buckets to categorize them narrowly. One way of doing this is to ask subscribers for preferences at the time of opting-in. Another very effective way is to go for behavioral segmentation, i.e., putting subscribers into different segments based on their on-page activities like the type of pages viewed, number of views of a particular page, etc. For example, if I’ve been checking out books in the spy thriller genre lately, the store should mark me as someone interested in the style and send me a notification whenever something new gets published in that category.

What Metrics to Track?

The most immediate metric that comes to mind when thinking website push notifications is click rate. Many people clicked on the push notification as a percentage of the number of people to whom that notification was delivered.
However, just focusing on this one metric can lead your analysis astray. Instead, you should strongly focus on the business goals you deem most important, which in this case would be sales and visits to the checkout page, add to cart. Tag your notification links with the proper UTM parameters and then swift through the data in Google Analytics and other analytics tools you are using to find out how many people arriving on your website via push notifications are performing the above actions? It is the only way that you will be able to determine whether website push notifications are working for you or not.

It covers almost everything you need to know as you start with website push notifications for your online store. Note down that listening to your audience and iterating based on that is the best policy for the eCommerce business to survive!


To summarize, website push notifications have proved to be a powerful tool in the hands of businesses to communicate with their audience in real-time at a personalized level. Being aware of this fact is critical if you want to maintain a healthy and engaged subscriber base and get more clicks along with business results out of web push notifications.

Written By
Amardeep Singh Sandhu
calendar 28th May 2019
Amardeep Singh Sandhu, head of the mobile applications department at Deftsoft, is known for implementing new technological trends in real-life applications. Having worked with popular mobile application platforms like iOS, android and hybrid. He brings the best and creative ideas, making sure the voice of the brand reaches the right people. He is responsible for exponential growth in the mobile application marketplace.

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