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50 Tips for More Effective Web Browser Push Notifications

Angela Stringfellow

Push notifications were popularized by the explosion of smartphone use. It has become one of the most accessible and easiest tools available to developers and marketers for engaging customers. The granular control available to select specific audience segments for each message increases the appeal and usefulness for marketers.

For a long time, the technology was not available for web browsers. Web browsers are available across devices, but app developers were not able to use the technology for their web applications. That changed with the Chrome 42 update, bringing push notification capabilities to web browsers. Today, push notifications are available on all browsers across devices.

In this post, we’ve rounded up 50 expert tips to help you use web browser push notifications effectively to increase your app engagement and conversion rate.

Expert Tips & Best Practices for More Effective Web Browser Push Notifications

1. Incorporate brand identity. Physical businesses aren’t the only businesses that need a brand identity and brand voice; applications rely on effective branding as well. Effective branding enables businesses to acquire permanent space in the minds of consumers. Web notifications should reflect brand elements like color, logo, and other style elements. Web push notifications should be designed to reflect the application’s brand identity.

2. Use dark mode customization. Most devices have an option for dark mode. A notification that’s designed for the regular browser color scheme may look odd in dark mode. It’s better to have a separate notification design for dark mode that’s used when the user’s device is in dark mode. This increases the accessibility of your web push notifications across different device modes.

3. Ensure visibility. The main purpose of push notifications is to convey some information as quickly and concisely as possible. To achieve that goal, push notifications have to be legible. Use easily readable fonts and contrasting colors that enhance readability. Developers should also avoid using dizzying animations and vivacious color schemes.

4. Customize notifications for browsers. There are many browsers available to users. Each browser has its own APIs that developers can use to send push notifications. The documentation for each browser and their nuances are available on their respective websites. Follow the guidelines there to add the necessary code for each type of browser. This ensures that your notifications don’t hit a snag in any of the browsers.

5. Use images for every notification. Push notifications have the option to add images along with the text description for the notification. Images add an extra bit of flair to push notifications and easily catch users’ attention. The brand logo can be used as the default image for push notifications that don’t have associated images.

6. Use an enticing call-to-action. Push notifications have very little real estate to work with. The message has to convey necessary information and nudge the user to click on the notification. Use the services of excellent copywriters who can write persuasive content to make the user curious about the message presented.

7. Offer personalized content. Push notifications with personalized content are four times more likely to be opened than non-personalized notifications. Adding the user’s name and using content with a friendly tone is appealing.

8. Optimize landing pages. Every web push notification has a landing page attached to it. A landing page is the webpage to which the user is directed when they click the push notification. If the customer clicks the notification and the landing page is not optimized for viewing from different browsers, you might lose the customer. It’s essential to design landing pages optimal for every type of browser, especially mobile browsers.

9. Use progressive web apps. Progressive web apps are web applications that work much like a smartphone app but within the browser. They have shortcut buttons that resemble an app icon. Using a progressive web app streamlines the customer journey, and using PWA in conjunction with web push notifications is highly desirable.

10. Know when not to ask permission. Web push notifications can be sent only with the explicit permission of the user. It’s not advisable to ask for notification permission the moment the user loads the web app. It’s a turn-off for customers, and you may lose the user even before they get to know your app.

11. Know when to ask notification permission. Eventually, you have to ask for permission to send push notifications. The user should feel like they’re adequately compensated for giving the app permission to send notifications. Offer something of value to the user and package it along with the permission request to send push notifications.

12. Send relevant push notifications. Users get irritated when they’re bombarded with push notifications that they don’t find useful. As a result, they may eventually block notification access for your application. Don’t give users a reason to block notifications. The best course of action is to send only push notifications that the user wants.

13. Segment users for effective notifications. All the users of your web application are not the same. They come from different demographics, and they have different interests. Sending the same message to all users is not an effective strategy. Segment the users into groups according to their characteristics and send different messages tailored to each segment.

14. Leverage analytics. Data is the most valuable commodity of the 21st century. Users interacting with push notifications and web applications are generating data every moment. This data can be used to extract meaningful insights into user behavior. It can also be used to design push notifications that users are more likely to click.

15. Choose the right time. Users are not always active. Sending push notifications at ideal times of the day increases open rates. This data can be gained by analyzing data on when your users are most active. The ideal time to send push notifications could be different for different sets of users. User buckets can be formed based on this data to send push notifications to unique user segments at the right time.

16. Give users a choice of notifications. Users must be able to choose whether to receive notifications. Some app developers hide the options to change the settings deep inside the application. This just makes the user more frustrated and may leave them with a negative view of the app.

17. Group notifications by type. An app can send different types of push notifications. Some can be merely informational. Some can be offers to boost sales in the short-term. Group the different kinds of notifications into different buckets and give users the option to choose between the different notification groups. This ensures that users receive only the most relevant push notifications.

18. Cross-sell. Push notifications can be used as part of sales strategies. Cross-selling is when stores entice customers to add another item to their purchase. Online store backend services like Shopify have web push notification capabilities. These notifications can be used to successfully cross-sell to a customer.

19. Implement a notification inbox. Users cannot give attention to all the push notifications they receive throughout the day. Push notifications expire after a certain time, as well. Implementing an inbox feature in your web app will allow users to view the messages at a later time. A notification inbox also helps to reduce the notification fatigue users often experience.

20. Offer granular notification control. Users can get annoyed by excessive notifications. Giving the users granular control to adjust the notification settings helps to avoid that. Adjusting the volume for different groups of notifications, turning off some notifications, etc. should be easy for users to do within the app.

21. Schedule push notifications. Push notifications need not be sent immediately when they’re created. Developers have the option to choose and send the messages at programmed times. This allows developers and marketers to schedule multiple push notifications in advance.

22. Create a push notification calendar. Create a calendar to schedule future notifications. By doing so, you can plan push notifications weeks or months ahead and prepare them in advance to be sent on future dates and times. This ensures that there is no dearth of content to keep users engaged.

23. Use offers to engage. Discount offers and other promotional offers are effective strategies to boost sales. Push notifications can be used to convey these offers to users instead of emails or SMS. Users can directly engage with the push notification to land on the page of the product on offer.

24. Share the latest news with push notifications. Push notifications open a direct channel of communication between the business and the user. These notifications can be used to send new information and news about the app or brand. Regular news updates keep users engaged and informed of the business’s activities.

25. Create custom offers. The ability to segment and target different user groups offers immense potential for marketers. With strong analytics, the business can figure out what will nudge each user. This information can be used to inform customized offers sent to targeted users to increase conversion rates.

26. Upsell. Upselling is selling the customer on a higher-priced product or service. Higher-priced products generally offer higher margins for the business. Push notifications can be used as tools to upsell customers on products based on what other products or services are in their cart.

27. Introduce new products. An e-commerce site can use push notifications to introduce new products to its users. The push message doesn’t need to be sent to all the users simultaneously. A suitable target segment can be selected and the message can be sent to just that group.

28. Provide stock updates. Items in high demand often go out of stock quickly in stores. Push notifications can be used to send users updates on items on their wishlist when stock is replenished. Users get the notification as soon as the product is back in stock, prompting them to make a prompt purchase before it’s sold out again.

29. Use limited-time offers. Scarcity is a powerful motivator to encourage purchases by consumers, and limited-time offers take advantage of that motivation. Limited-time offer notifications can be pushed directly to the user’s browser. The notification can even have a rundown timer to indicate the time remaining for which the offer can be availed or the number of products remaining for the deal.

30. Use location-based messages. Location-based messages can be sent to the browser to make users aware of special offers in a particular area. This strategy is especially useful when mobile browsers are used. Location-based push notifications are sent based on the location of the user.

31. Increase opt-in rates. Users must give explicit consent to receive web browser push notifications. Not all users give consent as easily, however. Marketers should give something in return to increase the opt-in rate, such as special discounts or bundling of services in exchange for the user’s push notification consent.

32. Use push notifications for SEO. Effective push notifications can have an impact on your website’s search ranking. By sending the right message at the right time to the right user, you can increase user engagement with your push notifications and drive traffic to your website. In turn, higher traffic signals to Google that your content appeals to visitors, which can result in higher rankings in the SERPs.

33. Use festive messaging for holidays and seasonal events. Holiday seasons lead to a higher number of shoppers in physical stores and increased sales for e-commerce stores. A separate strategy for sending push notifications during holiday seasons can increase sales. Thematic elements can be incorporated into the messages and offers to entice customers.

34. Send personalized messages. Birthdays, anniversaries, and similar occasions are quite personal in nature. Businesses can invest in strategies to increase user conversion by recognizing these days of personal significance with personalized messaging. This could be custom offers for the user or product bundling for the occasion. The most effective way to communicate these personalized offers is with push notifications.

35. Replace emails to reach more users. Push notifications can be used to reach users that don’t use email frequently. A significant number of users have adopted smartphones without an email account. The most effective means to message these users is with the help of push notifications.

36. Send messages that require immediate attention. Push notifications can be used to send messages that need immediate attention. The delivery of push notifications happens in an instant, making them ideal for notifications that demand a prompt response or action. Clicking the notification can direct the user to the relevant page.

37. Use push notifications for transactional messages. Transactional messages are critical for record-keeping purposes. Email is the traditional method for sending transactional messages, but push notifications can serve this purpose as well. For smartphone users without email accounts, web push notifications are a better avenue for transactional messages. Integrating inbox functionality with the web application enables users to view all transactional messages in one location.

38. Send reminders. Reminders are used to increase user engagement with the application. Smartphone users, on average, have more than 30 applications installed on their phones. With so many apps clamoring for their attention, they might forget to launch the browser to use your application. Web browser push notifications can be sent to nudge the user to log in, boosting engagement with your web app.

39. Drive traffic to your content with push notifications. Content marketing is done extensively to engage users with a brand. Posts in social media channels get lost among the thousands of other brands competing for their attention in the feed. Emails are not always effective. Push notifications are the better solution to drive traffic to your content, which can help to boost your SEO as well.  

40. Use urgency to increase CTR. Clickthrough rate is the percentage of clicks versus the number of users the message was sent to. When a message conveys some sort of urgency, a higher number of users will click the message. Offers or messaging inducing ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) can also increase the CTR for web push notifications.

41. Use A/B testing to fine-tune your notifications. Testing various strategies is essential to improve customer acquisition and customer service. Different messaging and multimedia can affect the CTR for web push notifications. Conduct A/B testing with a select group of users to study the efficacy of various strategies and then send the better-performing message to the full user group.

42. Measure performance. Push notification is among the most effective messaging avenues for marketers, but there are many factors that can impact the performance of your push notifications. Marketers must keep track of how each web push notification performs in terms of conversions. You should constantly monitor relevant metrics, test various strategies, and iterate on the better strategies.

43. Boost engagement to retain users. Retaining users requires regular engagement with your web application. Web push notifications are fast and can be used to send targeted messages to different sets of users. Push notifications can be used as part of a broader strategy to increase user retention.

44. Use push notifications to increase customer lifetime value. Acquiring each customer comes at a cost for marketing and infrastructure. When a customer uses the services for a longer period, the higher the profitability from that customer. Web push notifications can be used to regularly engage users and deliver value to them regularly. When users feel like they’re receiving value, they’re less likely to churn, increasing the customer’s lifetime value.

45. Send event updates. Use web push notifications to send regular updates with small snippets of information. In sports events, scores are updated regularly. Push notifications can keep users updated on the scores without requiring them to enter the app or even unlock their phones.

46. Create viral messages. Viral messages are impactful marketing tactics, but they’re not very easy to execute. The most important part of a viral marketing campaign is the beginning. The number of people watching and sharing at the start of the campaign determines its success. With web push notifications, the message can be pushed to millions of existing users, and snowballing can happen from a large base.

47. Leverage cross-platform engagement. Browser-based user engagement can be part of a multi-platform engagement strategy. An application may have smartphone applications, tablet applications, and web applications. Web push notifications can be used to engage users when they are absent on other devices.

48. Send notifications to the most relevant device. Users often use the same applications on multiple devices, but it’s not necessary to send messages simultaneously to all their devices. In fact, it can be irritating for users to receive the same notifications on several devices. Instead, send notifications only to the most relevant devices. For instance, send web push notifications to the browser when the user is already actively engaging with the browser.

49. Maintain compliance and data security. Marketers must take steps to ensure data security while using web push notifications. There are various regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, etc. that businesses must comply with. Web push notifications can be used safely and securely with browser developers putting significant effort into protecting users’ data.

50. Develop a cohesive push notification strategy. Web push notifications should be part of a larger push notification strategy. Users often use the same applications across different platforms such as desktop apps, mobile apps, and browsers. Even in browsers, users can choose between mobile and desktop versions. A comprehensive and seamless strategy across various digital channels is the best way to ensure success.

Web browser push notifications have a variety of uses, but failing to implement best practices can result in wasted effort and, even worse, annoyed users who are easily enticed by your competition. By following these expert tips and best practices, you can develop more effective web browser push notifications that drive results.

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