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What Is Push Notification?

Written by: Mowico Team

10 min read

E-commerce allows people to shop anywhere, anytime, without the burden of transportation, checkout line, or heavy bags; this is why in 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 4.28 trillion US dollars.1

In the e-commerce industry, push notifications are the bridge between the user and the company. They keep users informed on the latest developments (such as campaigns and sales) while reminding them to use the app by sending alerts at predetermined times. 

In this article, we will explain what a push notification is, why it is used, how it is different from other notifications, and how to use it effectively.

About Push Notifications

Push notification is a short customised message that usually appears as a banner. Users can simply click on them and be directed right into the application.  

Push notifications can be triggered by an already open app or sent through the server to the device even if the app is not running or the device is locked. They are supported by almost all platforms such as iOS, Android, on the desktop front, Windows.

With push notifications, you can send opt-in alerts and make the user remember about your business! It also enables sending personalised messages to strengthen the connection between the user and the app. These “messages” are an excellent way of luring them into the app. 

Push notifications can give the user information about topics such as flight information, the latest weather or traffic reports, news, sports scores, or stock updates.

They also can be used for compelling the user into action. Such as luring customers into specific social networks, promoting marketing offers/sales or reminding the user about the abandoned shopping cart.

A typical push notification consists of the title, preview text, picture or icon and the link. To optimize the message, adding an emoji can be helpful. Each operating system and/or browser has a different character limit to display the entire notification and maximise engagement fully. Here are the character limits for iOS and Android:

Android push notification character limit:

The push notification character limit for Android is different for the title and the main text. The limit for the title is 65 characters, while the limit for the message is 240 characters. 

Android also supports in-browser push notifications. Maximum charter limits vary from browser to browser. Here are the limitations for the most used browsers.

Firefox → title length: 49; message length: 200

Chrome → title length 39, message length: 440

Opera → title length: 55; message length: 255

iOS push notification character limit:

iOS push notification character limit is 110 characters in total. In the default text size, that’s equal to 4 lines of text.

Unlike Android, iOS doesn’t support browser notifications.

Why Is It Important to Use Push Notifications In Apps?

Push notifications are essential for e-commerce: They are the first thing people see and then take their device onto their hands. Therefore, they play a crucial role in building the bridge between the customer and the business. When it comes to increasing engagement and stepping up your numbers, push notifications are the best way to do so. This is why more than 22% of push notification users are in the e-commerce industry.2

Push notification outstandingly increases user engagement: a study conducted in 2015 shows that push notifications increase user engagement by 171% compared to an app without push notifications!   Users who have authorised notifications open the application 14.7 times a month, compared to 5.4 times for an application without push notifications.3

Types of Push Notifications in Mobile Devices

We can categorise push notifications based on their tasks and shapes. Here are the most common types of push notifications:

Informative notifications 

This type of notification is used for letting users know about time-sensitive vital topics. These topics can be daily news, traffic reports or weather updates. For example, if you have a mobile weather app, it will be appreciated by the users if you send daily weather updates via push notifications. And on the e-commerce front, it’s essential to lure potential customers into the app. 

Personal notifications 

Everyone has different preferences and interests. Track your users’ activity on the app and send them notifications that resonate with their interests. You can group users based on their actions on the app, such as what they buy or don’t buy, and alert them accordingly! If you are a retail shopping app, notifying users about sales based on their previous purchases may be a good idea.

Rich Notifications  

Because of character limits, push notifications need to be as concise as possible. To enrich the content of your notification, you can add images, videos, links and gifs. This will help you deliver your message clearer and increase the visual appearance of your notifications. 

Adding emojis to your message is another option for conveying your intended emotions. This way, you can make sure that the user reads the message in the tone it was written. They also add a humane tone to your texts, which is an important quality that your push notification should have. 

Rich notifications make room for creativity and attract more attention compared to plain texts. 

Limited-time push notifications

The main goal of this type of notification is to create a sense of urgency. Limited-time push notifications can be about limited-period sales or offers. Letting the user know that the request is soon expiring will make them click on the notification and take action. 

Reminder push notifications 

Remind your customers about the things they left unfinished in your app, which can easily be an incomplete profile or an abandoned shopping cart. You can also send them a “long time no see” message using push notifications; just don’t do it too often! 

Push Notifications vs SMS vs Email : Explore the Heights of Engagement with Push Notifications

You may be confused about how sending a push notification is different from sending an SMS or e-mail to your customers. But numbers show that while the CTR of SMS is up to 7%, the CTR of push notifications is up to 35%.4

Though e-mail and SMS’s are the traditional ways of sending alerts to your customers, they are not very effective. Today, people usually use internet messaging: not many people read or even check their SMS inbox anymore.  

Also, people usually receive SMS at inconvenient times, so messages get forgotten inbox between hundreds of texts. But how could one forget a banner that appears on top of their lock screen? Push notifications are impossible to miss and can be easily customised.

While you can only send a text and a link via SMS, push notifications allow you to send several media types, including pictures, videos and gifs. Also, with push notifications, users can quickly go to the app just by clicking on it! 

Another downside of SMS messaging or e-mail based notifications is the hardship of creating a customer base. To create a customer base, you will need the phone numbers or e-mail addresses of each customer. If you are an m-commerce firm that only operates through the internet, it will be tough for you to get each customer’s phone number or e-mail address. People nowadays don’t like to give out their phone numbers to every company because of security concerns or simply because they think they will get spammed. Most SMS or e-mail subscriptions are very hard to unsubscribe, and people don’t want to go through several steps to unsubscribe.  

Turning on or off the push notifications, on the other hand, is relatively easy. With just one button, people can decide whether to receive or to stop receiving push notifications. 

Best Practices For Writing Push Notification

Although push notifications have their benefits, sending wrong push notifications at the undesired times to your customers can have the exact opposite effect from the one you desired. Sometimes they can make the user feel overwhelmed. Nobody wants a constantly buzzing phone filled with dozens of intrusive alerts. And if the user turns off the notifications, there is no point in having them in the first place. Thus, it is crucial to have an effective, attention-grabbing and not-intrusive push notification.

Here are few important details to follow while creating push notifications:

Personalise your notifications

Personalisation is probably the best way to improve your push notification game, and it can even increase engagement rates by four times! But, despite its great benefits, people have a hard time personalising their content. If you build an e-commerce app with Mowico, you get the personalised push notification service you are looking for on day one. Just have a user-centric approach and let the users know your app values them!

Remember to always refer to your customers by their name and use greeting words. Having a more humane language will prevent the user from feeling like a bot is spamming them. 

For example, while sending them a notification, try saying, “Hey Mark! Check out this special deal we have for you!”. Let them know that your company cares about its customers and their preferences. 

Another great way of personalisation is notifying people about the content (sales, marketing offers, campaigns etc.) they’re interested in by tracking the user’s behaviour on the app. Based on the pages users visit, send them pre-defined and pre-timed push notifications. 

Time and geo-location 

Timing is also an essential aspect of push notifications. Among the main reasons for disabling notifications are the frequency and timing of sending.  2

As an e-commerce company, you may have different customers from all around the globe, from different time zones. While sending push notifications, it is crucial to send messages according to the time zone. If you send a limited-time offer while the user is sleeping, it will go unnoticed. 


Companies tend to abuse the authorisation of push notifications by sending them too often. To not put users off, send notifications based on their behavior and preferences. Sending the notification following a specific activity on the app is a great way to do so! 

Here is a do’s and don’ts list while creating a push notification:

  • Write concise messages with crisp titles
  • Use media and emojis to enrich the message. 
  • Track your user’s activity on the app and find their interests.
  • Send pre-scheduled notifications while taking into consideration the time zone and geo-location. 
  • Spam your customers with unnecessary notifications 
  • Send clickbait notifications
  •  Send random notifications about topics your customers are not interested in. 
  • Repeat the same text in several push notifications. 

Highlight your e-commerce app with push notifications

As you see, push notifications are a significant part of making it in the app world, especially if we are talking about e-commerce and m-commerce. Here at Mowico, we make it unbelievably easy to build an e-commerce app, and that’s not where we stop. Using Mowico, you can access all of the push notification features that’ll open the doors to easy marketing and communication. See what more you get with Mowico no-code app builder, and carry your e-commerce game into the mobile world within hours!

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