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app push notifications

Does My App Really Need Push Messages?

Angela Stringfellow

Last updated on

Push messaging (also known as push notifications) is a strategic way to engage users via pop-up notifications on mobile devices, desktops, or web browsers. These messages allow you to respond to your customer’s recent inquiries, provide new feature updates, and promote services or products even when customers aren’t using your app. You may be asking yourself, “do I really need push messages?” If you’re looking to increase user engagement, conversion, and boost retention, you should consider using push messages—and here’s why.

Why Are Push Messages Important?

Push messages are essential for several reasons; mainly (with the right strategy), they can be a non-invasive way to engage with your customers. These notifications arrive directly to the user without requiring personal information. It’s also easy for customers to opt-in to receive push messages—all they have to do is download your app and give permission to receive notifications or opt-in via your website.

As of 2021, over 6 billion people are using smart devices worldwide, making it one of the top ways people receive and view information. With push messaging, you’re essentially placing your business right into the hands of your users. You can accomplish this with SMS text messaging, but short-length push notifications have higher click-through rates, which will lead directly back to your app instead of the text messaging app.

Ultimately, push messaging is a direct way to add value and enhance the customer experience. Businesses see success through higher engagement, conversion, and retention rates using one or more different types of push messages.

Primary Forms of Push Messages

There are mainly two categories of push messages (mobile and web). However, a couple of other forms (desktop and wearables) split from the pack to differentiate where the notification is specifically viewed. We outline the differences below.

Mobile (In-App Notifications)

Mobile push messages (also known as in-app or app push notifications) are generated via an app that has been downloaded onto a smart device by the user. The messages can only be displayed in three locations on a smart device: lock screen, banner, and notification center. Push messages are supported by iOS and Android mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and wearables).

Web (Browser Notifications)

Web push notifications (also known as browser push notifications) are generated through service worker scripts. These scripts enable you to send push messages to users who have opted-in. The best part? Your customers will receive push messages as long as their browser is open, even if your web app isn’t. The alerts will be displayed on the right-hand side (top or bottom) of a user’s screen via a desktop or mobile browser.

Web push notifications are compatible with Chrome, Edge, and most other browsers, making it ideal for companies that have yet to create a mobile app. There is one quirk; permission must be granted per browser. For instance, if the user opts in within Chrome, they will not receive notifications in another browser unless the user grants permission there as well. Thankfully, most people are faithful and use only one primary browser.


Desktop push messages act similarly to web push messages, but instead of appearing in a browser, they only appear on a user’s desktop. They are generated when the user installs your app onto their computer and opts in to receive notifications. Desktop push messages will be displayed next to the user’s taskbar and the notifications center. Desktop push messages are compatible across all operating systems. However, the user’s experience may vary per operating system.

Wearable Devices

Wearable push messages are essentially an extension of the user’s mobile device (smartphone or tablet). Notifications are generated when a wearable device such as a smartwatch is synced with the notification settings on a user’s mobile device. Users can edit their notification settings; however, if they already receive notifications from your business on their smartphone, they will likely receive them on a synched wearable device.

Types of Push Messages

Within these categories, there are different types of push messages that you can send. We won’t explain them all in this article, but here are a few to note:

  • Rich push notifications
  • Abandoned cart
  • Alerts or FYI
  • Triggered
  • Reminders
  • Geo-location
  • Time-bound or silent
  • Transactional
  • Lifecycle
  • Feedback request

The Benefits of Push Notifications

Since their introduction into the marketing and technology world, push messages have been one of the most effective tools for engaging with users. Data shows that push messages have increased customer engagement up to 88%. The following are a few of the most notable benefits for businesses.

Amplify User Engagement

With an easy opt-in process, users are more inclined to grant permission for push messages, leading them to engage within your app more frequently. Well designed, targeted alerts help to remind your customer’s of the things they have shown interest in, such as:

  • Personalized offers on products or services they like
  • Events
  • New products or services
  • New app features

When clicked, the notification will drive users directly back to your app or website, which allows them to engage with your business on multiple levels. Alerting them with personalized content they like will enhance their overall experience and leave them with a favorable impression of your brand.

Creating a favorable impression of your brand increases your brand equity and is critical in building customer loyalty, which can lead to increased sales and growth for the company. A loyal customer with a positive brand impression is more likely to buy from you again, even if a competitor is selling the same product for less. Plus, repeat customers spend 31% more with a company they’re loyal to than a company they’ve never done business with before—meaning you can benefit from an increase in customer lifetime value (CLV) and a boost to your bottom line.

Increase Conversions

Having your business directly in the hands of your audience is vital. With saturated markets, it’s essential to keep your brand top of mind. Reaching your customer base directly with short, concise, personalized content leads to higher conversion rates.

Data shows that well-crafted, customized push messages can have up to 40% click-through rates (CTR). Timing makes a big difference, too: push messages timed for delivery based on user preferences can increase conversions by up to 384%. In a 2021 study,  48% of mobile users made an in-store purchase after receiving a personalized push message.

Boost Retention

Push messages are a fantastic way to ensure users continue to use your app and remain faithful consumers. With push messaging, you have the control and freedom to automate messages based on user data. Using data to segment audiences ensures that the content you’re sending is relevant, timely, and personalized.

Sending new customers an onboarding push message within the first week of installing your app can lead to a 71% increase in app retention. Businesses using innovative push messaging strategies see increased customer retention rates double (or more) compared to those not utilizing push messaging.

As with user engagement, boosting app retention has obvious positive benefits in terms of developing a positive brand image and building your brand equity—and not just with your customers.

The more favorably a customer views your company, the more likely they are to recommend you to their friends, family and business associates. As an added bonus, thanks to your existing customers, these new customers are coming to you with a favorable impression of your company, helping to build and grow your company even further.    

Need to send a quick overview about push notifications to a friend? Share our infographic:

How to grow your business with push notifications
How to grow your business with push notifications

What Is a Good Push Messaging Strategy?

Push messages can be an excellent tool for businesses to engage with and send alerts to their customer base. However, a well-thought-out strategy needs to be in place otherwise notifications can become intrusive. Here are a few tips for successful push campaigns.

  • Optimized Design — Optimize your messages by understanding the anatomy and design of mobile and web notifications.
  • Push Frequency — Restraint is crucial. According to Business of Apps, 10% of users will disable notifications if they receive weekly push notifications.
  • Unique Messages — Sending repetitive, mundane messages will send your users straight to the unsubscribe button. Create fresh, concise, and relevant content that will matter to them.
  • Timing is Key — There’s nothing worse than receiving a notification for something that has already passed. That’s a sure way to build distrust and lose subscribers. Also, consider the time of day your message is being pushed. It won’t help you or the consumer if they are sleeping. Utilize data to discover when users are most active.
  • Data Is Your Friend — Personalizing relevant content for users is essential. Use SaaS tools and merge tags to collect user-specific data to segment your users for more targeted messages.
  • Helpful Tips — Send new customers helpful onboarding tips. You can also alert users to new or valuable features of your products, services, or app.


With new trends constantly popping up in technology, it can be difficult for business owners to keep up and know what is a necessity and what is a waste of resources. Whether or not you need push notifications depends on how you plan to utilize them for your business.

Push messages are an excellent tool for a multi-channel communication strategy, and they show high ROI value. If you’re looking for a more robust way to engage with your customers and place your business directly into their hands, then push messages are an excellent choice.

MagicBell offers a complete notification system that supports web-push, in-app push, mobile-push, and email out of the box. Deliver notifications to all your channels at once or strategically send to segmented audiences!

Related articles:

  1. How to Use Firebase to Send Push Notifications
  2. What Are Push Notifications, and How Do They Work?
  3. 5 Benefits of iOS Push Notifications