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Push notifications: an overview for effective communication

hand holding mobile phone and finger clicking

What are push notifications

Push notifications are short messages used by various apps to alert users about events on electronic devices, such as new emails, appointments, or orders. Besides being useful, they constitute an interesting addition to one's marketing mix and, as we shall see later, to work management inside teams as well.

These messages have a particular appeal: they capture attention as they aren't actively demanded from users but are "pushed" either on display, notification bar, or lock screen.

Push notifications are divided in several categories:

  • Push apps: sending messages to mobile operating systems (Android and iOS).
  • In-app push: sending messages within an app.
  • Web push: sending messages to web browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox). They can be integrated into a website.

 

A bit of history...

During the first years of 2000, Blackberry was overflowing among businessmen. One of the main reasons was due to its unique feature - at that time - to notify users of incoming emails in real time. This was an uncommon advantage on all the devices before smartphones.

While other users were obliged to regularly control their emails, proud Blackberry owners could relax, relying on the push notification function, an innovation that was just starting to evolve.

In 2009, Apple introduced in its iOS 3 push notifications through the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS), significantly contributing to the popularity of this principle. In 2012, Google already made it possible to send push notifications through common web browsers with the Google Cloud Messaging service.

After 2012, push notifications expanded, reaching smartwatch and IoT devices, while customisation enabled targeted mailings based on behavioural data. Emphasis was placed on balance in sending notifications to avoid saturation, interactive formats were introduced and security and privacy measures were strengthened to comply with regulations.

 

Why you should use push notifications

Push notifications aim to enhance the user experience by offering relevant information or reminding of important data. Usually they are sent according to specific occasions or the user's position. From the developer's point of view, push notifications represent a direct communication channel with users. Informative notifications, sent at the right moment, encourage interest or return to the app, aiming to increase usage, which is often the main goal of these campaigns.

Push notifications are particularly effective when they are used with attention and precision. For example, in the working context, they can act as a management tool improving communication, productivity and team involvement. Providing timely information on critical updates or upcoming deadlines, as well as sending reminders for specific tasks, can foster a more efficient and collaborative environment.

 

How push notifications work

To send and receive a push notification, essentially three parts are required:

  1. The sender, usually a server that generates the messages.
  2. The push notification service that acts as an intermediary. It is the central component and distributes the messages.
  3. The user's mobile device. It receives the messages and displays them to the user.

How does the push notification process work? First of all, the server and the application must be configured correctly in order to communicate with the notification service. To do so, the app must be registered with the respective service. Once the app is started by the user, registration with the notification service is initiated. All relevant information on the device and app is transferred for this purpose. The service then generates a unique registration ID and sends it to the device. The registration ID received can be transmitted to the app server, which can link it to customised information such as the app user's registration data. If this extra information is available, more targeted and customised notifications can be sent. Thus, the more information is known about the user, the more customised push notifications can be created and sent.

If a notification has to be sent, the server transfers the message and all registration IDs (to which the message is to be sent) to the notification service. The service then sends the messages to all end devices. The server of the app that handles the generation and sending of notifications can be managed by the company itself or an existing system of a third-party provider can be used. One advantage of these existing systems is that they require little configuration effort and can be used immediately. Moreover, they usually support different mobile platforms and often offer additional functions such as analysis, user segmentation and message scheduling.

Users see notifications as a short overlay on the mobile device. These are always displayed. Regardless of which application the user is in when the notification is sent or whether the device is locked. Depending on the respective operating system, users can customise push notifications. For example, they can enable or disable notifications for individual apps and also determine the type of notification. Users can then withdraw this information and this marketing tool from the app developer at any time.

 

EveryLog: smart push notifications

Notifications at work are important because they allow users to keep track of important information and events, for example, new emails, colleagues' messages, meetings, or task reminders.

With the help of notifications, users can keep updated about what is happening in their working space and react more timely to evolving situations. It's an excellent solution for correct information distribution within the organisation. A single notification immediately transmits specific information. When it comes to project work, correctly configured notifications can make a difference.

Reaching out to a colleague isn't necessary anymore to transmit this kind of information, and this is a huge relief in the middle of a heavy workload. Still, it's important to find the right balance in all these aspects and ensure that notification apps do not become useless spam, hindering daily tasks. For this reason we have developed EveryLog

Thanks to its precision and timeliness, EveryLog's notification system provides a real-time, detailed record of challenges and opportunities. Besides offering an immediate vision of crucial metrics, EveryLog allows users to promptly interact on the basis of collected data. The service finds application in numerous sectors, like IoT, development, SaaS, the industrial sector, or the marketing and e-commerce world, enabling you to make informed and strategic decisions.

With a focus on precision and efficiency in facing the complexities of continuous monitoring, EveryLog's push notifications present themselves as a powerful tool to optimise operations and maximise efficiency. Discover how PDE is already using EveryLog in the editorial distribution sector and learn about its potential for your reference sector.

 

Conclusion

We've seen that push notifications are a powerful tool in the digital communication world, as they offer an immediate and effective means to engage users. From their creation to modern smart solutions like EveryLog, we have explored how push notifications have transformed the way we interact with our apps and devices.

Integrating these solutions into business dynamics can guarantee major efficiency, improve collaboration among teams, and keep all members promptly informed about crucial updates. The strategic use of push notifications can therefore become an essential step for a dynamic business organisation oriented towards productivity.