What You Need to Know About Browser-Based Push Notifications

Web push notifications—clickable messages sent out directly from a website—have exploded in recent years due to their high visibility and ease of implementation. Unlike other types of push notifications, there’s no app required to receive them. Most major mobile and desktop browsers natively support web push. Businesses looking to implement web push campaigns need to adhere to the best practices of the platform in order to make the most of this emerging marketing channel. These are some of the most critical aspects to keep in mind when carrying out a browser-based push notification campaign.

Opting in at the Right Time

Unlike email or SMS subscriptions, it only takes a single click for a site visitor to become a push notification subscriber. The majority of brands find success by asking the opt-in question right off the bat. But, this may not be appropriate for every type of industry. Alternative approaches include:

  • waiting to ask customers to opt-in after they’ve checked out 
  • asking customers to opt-in once they’ve spent a certain amount of dwell time on your site

In either case, set expectations by telling customers about the content of your pushes and how often you plan on sending them out.

It’s essential to give prospective subscribers a good reason to opt-in. Are you offering subscriber-only deals, the latest breaking news, or simply a way to stay in touch? Think about how you can create value around your browser push notifications and craft a pitch that’s irresistible. Push subscribers are high-value to your brand due to the immediacy and high visibility of the channel. So, your notifications should also provide a valuable service to consumers.

Time Your Pushes for the Best Interaction

Your web push notifications show up front-and-center in a user’s experience, so it’s essential to deliver them at the appropriate time. No one likes receiving an untimely buzz in the dead of night, and not everybody is willing to follow a call-to-action first thing in the morning. In its most basic form, proper push timing involves an awareness of a subscriber’s time zone. Constant A/B testing must be carried out to determine the ideal push time for each subscriber. This is one place where push platforms with more advanced features make a big difference.

Putting an expiration date, or Time-to-Live (TTL), on your notifications protects users against a bombardment of expired notifications once they log onto their devices. Unlike emails, which can pile up in a user’s inbox, a push notification should be fresh and relevant every time. TTLs can also be used to create a sense of urgency around your pushes. For example, they can call attention to your time-sensitive offers and encourage subscribers to act now.

Your subscribers should come to know that whenever they receive a web push from you, the information is going to be relevant and immediately actionable. eCommerce businesses flock to web push as a way to promote flash sales. There’s also no chance of disappointing users with expired information. When the stock depletes, push notifications can be withdrawn.

Provide Relevant Content

One-size-fits-all content may work for niche breaking news sites, but many brands will benefit from personalizing push message content. eCommerce businesses can make product suggestions based on purchase history, and even offer unique discount codes via web push notifications. Browser-based push notifications are a favorite for abandoned cart reminders, which help steer consumers back toward conversion.

It would be impossible to manually put out personalized push notifications for a large subscriber base, though. Luckily, there are tools out there to handle the process. Modern push platforms can automatically segment users and run A/B testing to find the right content for each subscriber. Over time, your push campaigns will become increasingly powerful as the platform discovers what makes an irresistible call-to-action for each subscriber.

In addition to providing personalized content, make sure your message is short and to the point. Emails and blogs are suited for long bouts of informational text, but web push notification should have short, actionable statements. Remember that every push notification is a call-to-action. Even if you’re letting subscribers know about breaking news, include a call-to-action that they can follow to learn more.

Segment Your Subscribers

Properly segmenting your subscribers is an important part of delivering relevant content. Your subscribers can be grouped together based upon common interests, location, or where they are in the customer journey. For example, your strategy for reaching subscribers who haven’t purchased anything yet will differ from your approach to seasoned customers. You can even create segments comprised of those who have abandoned their carts. Understanding the needs of your audience and segmenting common consumers together helps you reach them in a more powerful way.

Ensure All Your Elements Are in Place

Businesses utilizing web push for the first time may accidentally omit elements of their push notification layouts. This can include titles, message content, URLs, or logos. If you’re sending out a campaign for the first time, be sure to first try a sample run. It’ll help make sure that all your bases are covered. Test any links involved and check that any personalized variables are properly formatted. Browser-based push notifications are an easy marketing channel to implement but don’t let that distract you. You should always double-check your campaigns before launching them.

These practices for web push notifications should nudge you in the right direction and help create a successful campaign. Most of these elements fall into place automatically when you use a leading web push notification platform. 


If you’d like to dive even deeper into push notifications, check out this infographic that details the Top 10 Rules of Push Notifications from Pushnami.