Everything You Need to Know About Web Push Notifications

Much to the chagrin of digital marketers everywhere, the average web user’s automatic ad-blocking blinkers are more sophisticated than ever. Never mind ad-blocking browser plugins – we’re becoming ever more able to turn a blind eye to online ads wherever they may appear.

Even email marketing can be a hit and miss affair, with emails largely filtered out of our “Primary” or “Focus” inbox tabs somewhat automatically.

These challenges are an understandable thorn in the side of many a digital marketer. But there is another avenue to try: web push notifications.

What are Web Push Notifications?

Web push notifications are short, actionable notifications that website operators can send to those who have opted in to receive them. They generally show in the top right corner of your browser on a desktop, or as a general notification on a mobile device.

Many of us will have visited a website which displays a prompt like the one shown below left.This is an invitation to receive push notifications from that website. If you agree to receive notifications, they will generally look like the images below centre (on a computer) or below right (on a mobile):

Example of a notification inviting the user to enable notifications for a website, then with examples of push notifications on mobiles and computer devices.

Image credit: VWO Engage

What Can You Do With Push Notifications?

  • Promote Time Bound Offers – Running a time-restricted offer? Make sure your audience gets the memo with a clear and concise web notification.
  • Send Content Updates – If you’ve just hit publish on an excellent blog post or video that you want returning visitors to see, why not promote it through a web notification?
  • Announce New Products or Services – Adding another string to your professional bow is always an exciting time. A well-placed notification can get your audience excited too.
  • Inspire Fresh Conversions – Send a quick reminder to dormant customers/clients to remind them that you’re here to help.
  • Discourage Cart Abandonment – If your ecommerce platform integrates with your notification tools, you can even send notifications to users with abandoned carts as a reminder to check out.
  • Provide Order or Progress Updates – If you can integrate push notifications into your fulfilment systems, they may be a quick, painless way to provide updates on progress.
  • “Back In Stock” Notifications – Emails of this nature often get buried, but a notification as soon as the stock hits your shelves may be advantageous for both you and your customers!

This is in no way an exhaustive list. The only limit is your creativity! If you are able to integrate your notification delivery tools with other automated systems, then that leaves even more options at your disposal.

What Are the Benefits of Web Push Notifications?

Let’s investigate some of the reasons why web notifications are advantageous.

Firstly, they stimulate brand engagement and awareness in a not-overly-intrusive way. Notifications serve as a quick reminder of your brand, enabling users to click through once their interest is piqued. However if it’s not the right time for any user, they can easily dismiss the message and go about their day.

The click-through rate of web notifications is quite positive when compared to email marketing. MailChimp reports that the average CTR of emails sent through their platform is 2.62%, and Campaign Monitor reports a very similar 2.6%. However, PushCrew (Now VWO) reports that the average CTR of push notifications generally hovers around 4-6%.

Web notifications are also quite useful when it comes to buyer retention. If your previous customers receive a notification once or twice a week letting them know about new deals and offers that are relevant to their interests, they’re less likely to look around elsewhere. Don’t overdo sending web notifications though, or it’ll have the opposite effect.

Depending on the platform you use to serve your notifications, user targeting and segmentation can be a breeze. There’s usually also a wealth of post-campaign measurement and analytics tools available at your disposal too.

Disadvantages of Push Notifications

Unfortunately nothing’s perfect and there are a few downsides to using push notifications. The first one that springs to mind is that there will be users who automatically click “Deny”, or indeed those who have push notification prompts switched off. There’s nothing you can do about this, but it’s unlikely that your entire visitor base will fall into this camp.

But why do they do this? Well, some people feel that push notifications are irritating and invasive. They may have been put off by a previous organisation who overused web notifications, or it may simply give them flashbacks of the early web’s omnipresent invasive popups!

Also worth mentioning is the fact that plain text notifications do have character limits – quite stringent ones too. It can be a real struggle to shoehorn in everything you want to say whilst also giving the words room for marketing polish. However there is one saving grace – rich push notifications enable you to send images, GIFs, and videos which gives you a little more creative opportunity.

Why Push Notifications Are an Excellent Marketing Channel

We believe that many businesses can discover a wealth of untapped marketing potential by using web push notifications. Let’s explore why.

  • Excellent Visibility – Unlike the blinkers we put on to filter out pay-per-click ads or the automatic filtering of bulk emails, push notifications remain present for all subscribed users until they are denied or acted on.
  • Targeting & Localisation – You can achieve a surprising amount of targeting and personalisation with push notifications, including addressing the user by name, referring to recent purchases, focusing on products each user has shown an interest in, location targeting, and much more.
  • Metrics & Testing – Some web push notification tools allow you to carry out A/B testing and provide enlightening analytics, so you can continually improve your push campaigns in line with the messaging and timing that resonates best with your audience.
  • Short, Timely Messaging – Push notifications present quick, unintrusive messages to users who are already using their devices. This could be an opportune time to grab them, while they’re already getting things done! Alternatively, if they’re just idly noodling around on their device, a notification may snap them into action with a tempting offer.
  • Customer Journey Logic Flows – Many modern notification platforms allow you to create an automated flow of notifications which trigger when the user fulfils certain criteria or carries out certain actions. Automated campaigns like these are a convenient, hands-off way to keep your audience engaged long-term.

Want to explore what push notifications could do for you? The digital marketing specialists at OLCO Design can help you find the best notification platform for your needs, install it on your website, and give you full training on how to manage push notification campaigns. Interested? Let’s chat – simply book a free discovery call with us today.

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