How To Create a Push Notification Strategy for Your Mobile App

David Morneau

By David Morneau
13 min READ | Jan 31 2023

Table of contents

Push notifications are a great tool to increase user engagement in mobile apps and keep customers up to date with new content.

A small pop-up message can have a surprisingly large impact on users.

Notifications show up on a device and act as “calls to action,” inviting users to participate in various activities, allowing them to gain access to all of the features your app has to offer.

These nudges can help boost user engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and bring about an improvement in the overall customer experience with your app.

To get the most out of your push notifications, you need in-depth knowledge and a solid strategy.

In this article, we’ll discuss what push notifications are and why you need them.

We'll also share the 10 best practices to help you create a powerful push notification strategy.

Let’s get started.


  • Push Notifications: They boost user engagement, satisfaction, and overall app experience.
  • Types of Push Notifications: Standard, prompted pop-ups, and interruptive prompts serve various purposes.
  • Importance of Push Notifications: They keep your brand relevant, are cost-effective, and foster customer loyalty.
  • Optimizing Push Notifications: Personalize content, maximize in-app value, align messaging, and use power words.
  • Best Practices: Ask for permission, use actionable alerts, customize content, and create limited-time offers.
  • A/B Testing: Experiment with different notification versions to find what works best.
  • Segmentation: Send personalized messages to the right users at the right time.
  • Measure Results: Track open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and engagement to refine your strategy.
  • Bonus Tip: Collaborate with a mobile app marketing agency to boost your user acquisition efforts.

What Are Mobile Push Notifications?

Push notifications are targeted messages sent to a mobile device. The messages are used for:

Push notifications can be sent through a mobile app or through marketing automation tools. The average U.S. smartphone receives around 46 push notifications per day.

Custom push notifications allow businesses to tailor their messaging. They’re an efficient way for businesses to advertise via mobile devices. This increases the user's engagement with your brand’s products or services. And while mass email (and SMS) has its place, app notifications have proven to be more effective. The open rate for notifications is 50% higher than email marketing.

Mobile Push Notifications vs. Web Notifications

One quick note. Mobile push notifications are not the same as web notifications. While a mobile push notification is for apps on mobile devices, web notifications are messages sent through web browsers (Chrome, Safari, etc.) on computers or mobile devices.

Web notifications are a powerful and cost-effective way to engage with your users and customers if you don’t have an app. Just like mobile pushes, web notifications can be used to deliver timely, personalized messages that drive user engagement and conversions.

Unlike mobile push notifications, web notifications don’t require any additional setup or coding. All you need is a web hosting plan and domain, which you already have with your website. When it comes to hosting, enterprise WordPress hosting has your back.With the right strategy, web notifications can help you reach more people, increase customer loyalty and engagement, and boost your bottom line.

3 Types of Push Notifications and When to Use Them

By understanding the different types of push notifications and how to use them, you’ll know you’re sending out the best possible messages to build relationships with your customers.

In general, there are three kinds of push notifications.

Standard Push Notifications

Standard push notifications are a simple but powerful way to engage with customers. These pushes keep users informed about your product or service and ready to interact. In general, they give users the chance to receive timely information without needing to log in to the app, like this example from Uber:

Brands use these alerts to stay in touch with their target audience and build brand loyalty. Regular notifications can increase your app retention by 3 to 10 times.

Prompted Pop-up or Banner Ads

Prompted pop-ups (also known as banner ads) are displayed only when the user has the app open. They’re also used to increase brand awareness, drive sales, and encourage users to take action. Pop-up notifications can be also tailored to the user's preferences to maximize their effectiveness.

The first time the app is opened, it prompts users to sign up for a free trial of an ad-free subscription. The user can sign up for a trial of an ad-free subscription. Afterward, they're presented with options to upgrade or cancel their subscription.

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Interruptive Prompts

With interruptive prompts, the notification pops up without warning. It may disappear after a few seconds or minutes. This example is an interruptive prompt that stayed on a lock screen for items left in a cart that weren’t purchased.

Wondershop push notification
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When used correctly, interruptive prompts grab a user’s attention and increase engagement with the app. Keep in mind that some users may find them inconvenient or even annoying. But if sent at the right frequency and with the right offer, they'll be a welcome interruption.

Why Are Notifications Vital for Your App Marketing Strategy?

Push notifications are an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. Let’s look at a few of the benefits they provide.

First, using push notifications means you’re relevant. Smartphone users in the U.S. have some kind of alert in just about every app category you can imagine. If you aren’t using notifications, your brand will get left behind.

push alerts on mobile
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Second, push notifications are an affordable and efficient way to communicate with your customers. Businesses across industries are feeling the effects of rising inflation and it’s likely to impact your marketing budget, too. You’ve paid for the app. Notifications are free icing on the cake.

Third, notifications also help build brand loyalty to boost sales. By sending timely and relevant messages using right business text messaging software to your customers, you stay connected to them and increase engagement. This means increased retention, improved customer experience, and more revenue.

But does your brand need mobile alerts? Some brands grow more quickly than others and will enjoy notifications. For example, a business with a large following that has to maintain customer interest may want to use them.

A business with a smaller following may want to wait until they gain customer trust before implementing push notification strategies.

How to Optimize Your Push Notifications For Higher Engagement

You may have the best ideas for push notifications in the entire digital world. But for your strategy to be successful, your alerts must be optimized for higher engagement.

Optimizing your notifications involves personalizing them for each user based on their preferences and interests. This allows you to create a targeted message that will resonate with each individual. You should focus on creating content that is relevant and timely so that users don't feel overwhelmed by too many messages.

For increased app engagement and customer satisfaction, personalizing your marketing campaigns is essential. To ensure success, two areas must be optimized: content types and notification templates.

First, create a list of content types that are relevant to your app. This includes things like product announcements, exclusive content, and exciting updates. Once you have a list of content types, create a schedule with target dates for each type of notification to be sent.

Second, create the template for your push notification. Keep it short and sweet. The message should be no more than 5 sentences or 100 words. Remember to use language that’s consistent with the rest of your app.

Hiring a React.js developer with expertise in app development and user interface (UI) design can be instrumental in creating customized and visually appealing push notification templates that align with your app's branding and user experience.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Cart abandonment template: Hey <first name>, your cart’s feeling abandoned. Get an additional 10% off if you complete your purchase of <product name> today! <CTA button>
  • Re-engaging with users template: Hi <first name>! You visited us <a time period> ago, but we haven’t seen you in a while. Keep exploring our <name of the product they browsed> and get yours for <discount percentage> off. This is only good for <time period>. <CTA button>
  • Order update template: We’ve got great news! Your order <order number> has been received. We’ll share an update once it ships. You can track it here <CTA button>

Does App Engagement Affect SEO?

It’s an important question. If you’re wondering whether or not optimizing your push notifications (or app in general) helps your Google rankings, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, it does not.

However, by informing loyal visitors about updates or new content on your page, you can encourage your customers to make visiting your website a part of their regular browsing routine. Half of all searches originate on a mobile device, so you can expect your customers to move from your app to their mobile browser frequently. When considering mobile browsers, it's important to compare options, including Brave vs Firefox to ensure the best user experience.

One final consideration. Social media content can definitely improve your SEO. So remember to integrate your social channels into your app.

10 Best Practices for Your Push Notification Strategy

Now, let’s look at 10 best practices for creating a push notification strategy.

1. Ask for Permission First

Asking for permission to send any notifications is your first priority. This will help you build trust with the user and make sure that they are comfortable receiving messages from you. Users should be able to easily opt in or out as they wish. (This should also be easy to find later on!).

This will also help you avoid any legal issues that may arise due to unsolicited messages. Don’t neglect this step.

2. Use Actionable Alerts

Actionable alerts are notifications that entice the user to take some kind of action to access something of value. Usually, this means clicking a button or link.

By sending actionable alerts, you can increase engagement and encourage users to take advantage of offers or features they may not have known about otherwise.

Here’s a pro tip. If you’re having trouble getting your app found, burst campaigns can help. A good burst campaign will include an enticing offer so that more people will download the app. Once they do, you can start sending users those actionable alerts.

3. Customize Content

By customizing your content, you can tailor your notifications to meet the needs and interests of each user. Customizing content is an important part of creating a successful user experience. Tailoring content to the interests and needs of each user means better engagement and happier customers.

Customizing content allows you to personalize the message or offer that you are sending out, which can help increase click-through rates and engagement with your notifications.

This will (almost) guarantee your notifications aren’t received with an angry shout or, worse, a deleted app.

push notification comic
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4. Maximize In-App value

If you want to make the most of your push notifications, it is important to make sure that they are providing real value to your customers. Is it giving them exclusive access to a sale? A fun bit of trivia or knowledge? Are you offering additional rewards in your loyalty program? Or maybe something else entirely?

Whatever it is, make sure that the benefit of receiving this notification is clear and also provides them with something that non-users won't have access to. This incentivizes users to open and interact with alerts more often.

5. Align Your Messaging

To ensure that your strategy is successful, all your messaging must align with the goals of your brand. This means creating content that resonates with your target audience. How do you do this? Use language that’s consistent across all channels. Craft messages that are tailored to each customer segment. And use data-driven insights to inform decisions about what type of content you should send.

Taking the time to build a cohesive message for each alert will drive engagement. Here’s a great example from Headspace, an app to help with meditation and sleep. Compare their email newsletter with screenshots of their app. Notice the beautiful consistency in messaging and branding.

headspace messaging
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headspace app
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6. Make Limited-Time Offers

Limited-time offers are a great way to get your customers to act quickly. Offering exclusive opportunities for a limited time creates a sense of urgency. It encourages customers to take advantage of the offer before it’s too late.

You can use limited-time offers as an incentive to get customers to download your app or sign up for your newsletter. Make sure to set a clear end date so that customers know how long they have.

Does your business have a brand ambassador program? Influencers can promote your product or service and make those limited-time offers on your behalf. Check out these brand ambassador program examples to get your gears turning.

7. Use Power Words

Power words are words that have an emotional impact on your customers. They grab your readers’ attention. They evoke a sense of urgency, excitement, or curiosity in your push notifications. Using power words in your alerts increases conversions and drives up revenue.

Power words will vary by industry, but you can use these to get your gears turning:

  • Important
  • Instantly
  • Today
  • Booked
  • Only
  • Quickly
  • Imagine
  • Reminder
  • Become the first
  • Fast
  • Immediately
  • Unlock

Power words also create a better user experience by providing more relevant content to users. When used well, power words are a powerful (see what we did there?) tool for your mobile app notifications.

8. Use A/B Testing

A/B testing optimizes your notifications to make sure it’s delivering the best results. It tests different versions of your push notifications on different users. And it allows you to track alert performance so you can identify which one works best for your audience.

A/B test will show you what alerts are engaging, effective, and tailored to the preferences of your users. This will help you drive more engagement and conversions from your users.

9. Segment Your Audiences

Segmenting your audiences helps you refine your target. You'll send the right message to the right users at the right time. Segmentation focuses on behavior, demographics, or any other criteria relevant to your goals.

By segmenting your audience, you guarantee that each user receives a personalized message. The last thing you want is for a customer to receive an alert that doesn’t apply to them. Segmenting is a tool that encourages users to take action. Analytics show that click-through rates across industries trend higher with segmentation.

Segment your audiences
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10. Measure Results

Last but not least. You need to learn what alerts are working and which ones need to be improved. You should track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and engagement. These will give you an accurate picture of how your notifications are performing.

As you consider your A/B testing (see above), you should experiment. Try different versions of your notifications with different users. Measuring the results of your push notification strategy makes sure it's effective as possible.

Wrapping It Up

Push notifications are a fabulous tool for engaging with users and driving conversions. When used strategically, notifications help users stay informed and engaged. In the end, this creates brand loyalty and increases your bottom line.

Now that you know all about push notifications, learn the power of micro-influencers for your app. At inBeat, we specialize in helping you find the perfect influencers to take your brand to the next level.

Author: Freya Laskowski

Freya is an SEO consultant that helps brands scale their organic traffic with content creation and distribution. She is a quoted contributor in several online publications, including Business Insider, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, and the Huffington Post. She also owns CollectingCents- a personal finance blog that she grew from the ground up.
You can reach out to her at [email protected]

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