What Are Push Notifications?


A push notification is a message that pops up on a user’s portable device — typically a smartphone. These messages are similar to a standard text, in that they appear directly on the device’s screen in real-time. However, they offer a range of additional features to increase their impact. They may, for example, open a website when tapped. Or they may activate a smartphone’s map software with directions to a location.

Push notifications are highly effective at delivering targeted information to your audience in a way that’s likely to be seen. It’s important to note that push notifications are an opt-in service. Only users who explicitly grant permission will receive messages.


How Push Notifications Work


In a business context, push notifications have two distinct ways of working:

  • Geofenced notifications: These occur when your messaging target enters a specific location. For example, let’s say your business is offering a sale at one of its stores. When someone on your customer list enters a defined radius around the store they’d receive an alert on their phone telling them about the sale.
  • Time-critical notifications: These are sent out in real-time, arriving on your audience’s phone within seconds. You might use a time-critical push notification to alert your staff to rapidly changing events: an emergency situation or an urgent work priority, for example.


Benefits of Push Notifications


  • Instant messaging: Push notifications can alert your staff of issues requiring immediate attention.
  • Context-sensitive information: Mass emailing and text messages run the risk of eliciting a negative or disinterested reaction. Push notifications can notify people of information when it matters the most.


When You Should Use Push Notifications


If your business needs to share time-sensitive information with your audience, or if that information is best shared within a defined geographical area, push notifications are a powerful way to deliver a compelling message exactly when it’ll have the most impact.

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