How far should you push your web notifications?

25 August 2017

How far should you push your web notifications?

Email marketing is a useful tool, but the harsh reality is that it’s getting harder and harder to get people to open emails at all, let alone take action on them. Most people have now gone past the point where email is exciting and pleasurable and for some it has even become a source of stress.

This means that digital marketers need to look for new ways to alert their audience when they have something important to share. Social media is one obvious way to do this, but if you want your readers to be notified that you have something new to say, you will only achieve this on mobile phones, and only on certain networks.

Browser-based notifications, however, are another matter. Here are the basics of what you need to know about this way of informing your readers that you have new content to offer, in the safety and privacy of their own browser, as a pop-up or audio notification. Here is what you need to know:

Chrome, Safari and Firefox will send notifications for you

Between the three of them, they cover just about three quarters of internet users (which at this point gives you far greater reach than Twitter). Microsoft has started to include them in Edge so in the unlikely event that this browser does start to give the big three a run for their money, you should be covered there, too.

It’s highly likely other browsers will add the feature in due course.

Alerts will appear regardless of whether or not a user is on the website

As long as a user is online, their browser will be able to send them your push notification as soon as it is instructed to do so.

At this point, push notifications get at least twice as much engagement as email

By now, email users can pretty much be divided into two broad types, the organised and the overwhelmed. The organised will probably be using all kinds of rules and filters to keep on top of their inbox(es) and make sure that only the emails they consider to be top priority actually get delivered directly to their inbox(es) for priority action.

Unless you can convince a user to put you into this category, chances are your emails are going to be filtered for later action, if the user has time.

The overwhelmed get so many emails that notifications such as yours easily get lost in the confusion. Push notifications avoid both of these scenarios, hence the fact that it’s relatively easy to achieve high engagement rates.

Technically it’s easy to set up push notifications

If you know your way around CSS, Javascript and HTML (or employ someone who does), you can easily create your own solution to send them, otherwise, there are plenty of ready-made solutions out there – such as Wordpress plugins – at very affordable prices.