What are web push notifications?
Push notifications, also called server push notifications, are the delivery of information from a software application to a computing device without a specific request from the client.
Web push notifications can be sent to a user via desktop web and mobile web. These are alert style messages that slide in at the top or bottom right hand corner of a desktop screen, depending on the operating system, or appear on a mobile device in a manner nearly identical to push notifications delivered from apps. Web push notifications are delivered on a user's desktop or mobile screen anytime they have their browser open - regardless of whether or not the user is on the website.
How do they work?
Unlike pull notifications, in which the client must request information from a server, push notifications originate from a server. Typically, the end user must opt in to receive alerts; opt-in usually takes place during the install process and end users are provided with a way to manage alerts if they change their minds later on.
Any company with a website can send web push notifications after installing code (a web-based SDK) from a web push service on their website to enable them. No app is required.
For users, clicking or tapping on a web push notification takes a visitor to whatever web page (URL) the brand has determined.
The web notification opt-in process
Web notifications are a permission-based marketing channel. Before receiving a web push, users have to opt in to receive them.
The opt-in prompt comes from the user's web browser. This prompt is called a browser-level opt-in prompt, or browser-based prompt.
Brands can handle the opt-in process in different ways with both the opt-in process and the timing of the opt-in ask.
Types of messages brands are sending with web push notifications
For notification-style messages, brands most often send notes that fall into one of the following categories:
- Transactional: Confirmation of important transactions (e.g. purchase, shipping, delivery, requesting service reviews, etc.)
- Educational: Educating the audience about key events, products or offerings
- Promotional: Promoting special offers or limited time opportunities to drive conversions
- Lifecycle: Welcoming new or returning visitors, incentivizing first purchase, encouraging deeper exploration of the website, thanking social advocates and retargeting campaigns
Examples of web push notification messages
Here's a few use case examples brands might send to communicate with opted in web visitors:
- Welcome new users with an offer ("Our welcome gift to you - enjoy 10% off your first order!")
- Deliver curated picks to retarget users based on behavior ("Winter is coming. 5 coats to keep you covered.")
- Abandoned cart notifications ("Your items are waiting - don't miss them!")
- Recommendations based on a user's behavior or preferences ("3 Little black dresses, hand-picked for you.")
- Upsell opportunities to encourage additional conversion ("Spend $5 more, get free shipping.")
- Price drop on a favorited or wishlisted product ("Don't miss out - a fave top of yours is now on sale.")