Back when smartphones were not nearly as popular as they are now, SMS used to be the preferred channel of communication for promotional and transactional purposes, as it was the only reliable option in terms of being able to connect with mobile devices. However, now that the vast majority of mobile device owners are smartphone users, mobile push notifications have quickly become the top channel along with SMS.
Push notifications on mobile are useful in catching the attention of customers, which makes it a decent way to disseminate promotional information and material. There are, however, two kinds of such notifications—push notifications and push messages. The former acts like an alert that serves to notify the user that there is an in-app message, whilst the purpose of the latter is to direct you to a specific in-app page.
How Mobile Push Notifications Work
If you own a smartphone—regardless of its built-in operating system—you already have a vague idea of what a push notification is and how it works. But let us delve a bit deeper into it and explain how it works in a bit more detail. Push notifications are sent to inform the app user that they have received an in-app message (could be from the app itself or another user). When you first install an app on your mobile phone, upon the initial use of the said app, you get a prompt asking whether or not you want to turn on push notifications.
So there is a clear opt-in/opt-out system in place, leaving it totally up to the user’s choice if they want to receive a push notification. However, there are apps that have this feature turned on by default, so the user has to turn it off manually from the settings. Some apps also give you the opportunity to use the push notification option to respond to an in-app message or complete action of some sort. Last but not least, push notifications have a character limit which they cannot extend, so they are by design short and concise, and rarely—if ever—feature photos.
Mobile Web Push Notification
These are pretty similar to push notifications both in appearance and function with the clear distinction being in where these notifications come from. Push notifications on mobile almost exclusively come from installed apps or the main OS. On the other hand, web push notifications come solely from mobile web browsers and even that depends on whether the website you are visiting has a web push code built into its script.
Mobile web push notifications are mostly used by websites that do not have their own mobile app. Thus, in a way, they try to replicate the system using a web browser and reap the same benefits of push notification without having to create an app for it. And unless you close your web browser, regardless of what website you are on, you can still receive a web push notification from a website (if the tab is still open that is).
WordPress Push Notifications to Mobile
Around 43% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress, half of which are hosted by WordPress servers. This means that if you have created or use a website through WordPress, you can install readily available plug-ins to take advantage of push notifications. WordPress push notifications are essentially web push notifications and carry the same functions. With the help of the plug-ins, WordPress websites can send push notifications to both Android and iOS devices for real-time communication. Here is a list of some plug-ins for consideration:
You can additionally refer to WordPress’ own plug-in, called “Push Notifications for WordPress (Lite)“, which is completely free of charge contrary to third-party services. The benefits of WordPress’ native plug-in are the following:
- No charge for delivery
- Instant notifications
- Powerful APIs
- Allowing users to configure notification preferences
- Native support for Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) and Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)
Mobile Push Notifications Advertising
Advertisers were quick to realize the amount of potential that there was in push notifications to use it for promotional purposes. Therefore, the system naturally evolved to be best utilized as an advertising channel. Now a lot of apps send ads in the form of a push notification.
Although it is not nearly as effective as can be assumed (push notifications have a click rate of 7.8% on average), it is an additional channel advertiser can use to get their message through.
With that said, there are strict guides (more like unspoken rules) on how to use push notifications for maximum efficiency—such as including few of a words as possible (push notifications with fewer words have higher click rates) and not sending too many push notifications at a time (ideally not more than 2-5 notifications per week).
If the latter is pushed to its limits, people will simply turn off push notifications and you will not be able to get to them anymore. When a lot of push notifications are sent in a short span of time, people associate it with spam and are more likely to be looking to get rid of them—around 46% of mobile users turn off notifications when the number of push notifications they receive exceeds five per week.
But that should not necessarily stop advertisers from using push notifications as a channel. A lot of people report that they find push notifications to enhance user experience and keep them informed.