Push notifications – what are they and should we be using them?


Head of Marketing

customer reviewsA push notification is a short message which pops up on a mobile phone or other mobile device which is sent directly from a software application. They’ve been around since Apple first introduced them back in 2009 and are used by numerous apps to update consumers with real-time information.

Push notifications can be a valuable tool for boosting customer engagement, they are a fast and efficient way to communicate short messages and important information.

Here are some of the key marketing benefits that push notifications can offer businesses.


Communicating information, updates and reminders in real-time to your audience on their mobile device means you can reach them where ever they are. No delays, no waiting for them to get around to reading an email, push notifications are one of the most straightforward and instant approaches to communicating quick, useful messages.


Push notifications can be personalised based on user behaviour so users who have been quiet or have changed their pattern of behaviour can be targeted with a relevant message. Active users on the other hand could be targeted with a loyalty reward or thank you message.


We’ve all downloaded apps we think will be useful and then never used them. Push notifications can be an effective way of reaching inactive users and demonstrating the value of an app. From reminders to special offers or information updates push notifications are a proven method of retaining and re-engaging individuals.

Increased conversion rates

Conversion rates can be improved through reminders sent by push notification. Some online retailers take this approach to abandoned shopping carts and have seen impressive results.

Location specific push notifications

This can work particularly well for businesses looking to reach their customers/users when they are nearby. For example, a coffee shop might share a special offer on coffee and cake to their app users when they are within a certain radius of the coffee shop. Or an app which monitors traffic problems can provide real-time traffic alerts to those in the area offering practical, timely information exactly when it is needed.

Push notifications are undoubtedly a valuable method of communicating but they aren’t always the right method for all types of messages and there are some things to consider when using them. Push notifications should be short and concise, notifications with fewer words generally have better click through rates. They are perfect for breaking news but not for lengthy, detailed information.

It is also important not to overuse push notifications, as with any communication if people feel bombarded with messages this can be detrimental.  They should always be relevant, timely, and well thought through as well as only being sent to those who have agreed to receive them.