Imagine a time when users would visit your website to explore your products and services. Very few of them would actually convert and a large chunk of them dropped off over time. Businesses like yours had limited options, such as email or SMS to reach out and nudge users, and even this was only an option for those users who had shared their contact details. But this was way back in the 1990s and 2000s. Fast forward to 2012 when Google launched Chrome 42. This supported native web push notifications and revolutionized how brands and online publishers could communicate and engage with their users.

Businesses quickly jumped on the bandwagon of this new marketing channel and started realizing its true potential in achieving their key business goals. Over the next few weeks, we will be taking you through multiple aspects of web push notifications, dive deep into the critical aspects of using them and the value you can get out of using these notifications.

What is a web push notification?

Web push notifications are actionable messages that are sent to visitors’ devices via a website. These messages are highly contextual, timely and personalized and are best used to engage, re-engage and retain website visitors. 

Web push notifications can be sent to your visitor’s desktop and mobile phone on their browsers – even when the user is not active on your website. You don’t even need email addresses or contact details to send a push notification. This makes it easy for businesses to reach out to their users to grab their attention and bring them back to their website.  

Types of web push notification

  • Desktop Web Push Notification: Send messages or alerts on a user’s desktop even when the users are not on your website.
  • Mobile Web Push Notification: Send messages or alerts on a user’s mobile even when the users are not on your website.

Browsers that support web push notifications

While most devices and OS’s allow web push notifications, it is critical to know which devices, OS’s and browser versions do support this function. Here’s a list of devices that support and do not support web push notifications.

The anatomy of a Web Push Notification

A web push notification is made up of 6 integral elements that collectively determine its effectiveness. 

Web Push Notification Layout for Chrome on Windows

  • Title: The title is the first thing that a user sees and sets the context of the push notification. While the title is important, it is imperative that you keep an eye on the title length. To write web push notification titles, you need to harness the art of copywriting so that you can be precise, on point, attractive and short. Here are the character limits of web push notification as supported on various browsers:
  • Description: The description is the actual message that will be sent to the user. It should be short and sweet, while clearly conveying the idea to the user that they should take immediate action. The recommended character limit is also 120 characters, however, browsers have not specified a maximum limit.
  • Icon: Add brand icons to instill brand recall and authenticity to your notifications. If you do not add an icon, the user will see a default bell icon. Users get numerous push notifications, hence it is a good idea to add an icon to help differentiate you from the noise. The recommended dimensions for icons is 192×192 px.
  • Website URL: This is the URL of the website that sent the push notification. The URL visible on the notification is always the domain from which the user allowed the opt-in
  • Image: This is the graphical and visual aspect of the push notification. Using an image in your push notification has been proven to increase user actions and conversion rates. However, the decision of whether to use an image or just the text is entirely up to you.  
  • CTA: CTAs play a vital role in your push notification. They help you to derive the intent of the user whether they like or dislike the message based on the CTA they choose. It provides additional actions besides clicking the notification. However, CTAs can be only added on the Chrome platform and there is a maximum limit of 2. 

Advantages of using web push notifications in your marketing arsenal

Web push notifications have been proven to be an effective marketing channel in all aspects as opposed to both email and SMS. Since it is a purely permission-based channel, you have the user’s consent to reach out to them with marketing messages. Here are a few advantages of using web push notifications:

  • Send messages even when the user is not active
    • Your users’ don’t have to be online or on their desktop to receive push notifications. Then, when they launch the website, they’ll be able to see all the notifications that they’ve received.
  • Don’t depend on having a mobile app 
    • Web push notifications help you to stay connected with your mobile users without investing in developing and offering mobile apps. On most Android mobile phones users receive notifications in a similar fashion to in-app notifications. However, this is limited to Android device users only.
  • Easy opt-in experience
    • Unlike opt-ins for various other marketing channels, web push notifications offer users a seamless opt-in experience with a single click — “allow”. They need not worry about sharing their personal data such as their name, email, phone number and can have peace of mind that this channel is GDPR compliant. 
  • Swift delivery
    • Web push notifications are instantly sent to the users without any delay in transmission. All messages are sent and received in real-time. 
  • Increased engagement
    • Since push notifications are sent in real-time, they incur higher engagement rates as compared to any other marketing channel. Targeted web push notifications help you to increase return visitors by sending them exciting offers and discounts. Based on the real-time engagement rate, you can also estimate and analyze the active time of your users.
  • Higher conversion rates
    • Personalizing your messages and targeting a segmented audience not only offers your users a great user experience but also helps boost conversion rates. You can even improve your conversion rates by sending notifications when your users are most active and based on the actions they take on specific product pages. 

The way forward

In this blog post, we talked about the basics of web push notifications, anatomy, importance and the advantages of using them. In our next blog series, we’ll tap into the aspects of user opt-ins and why they are important. So stay tuned!