Feb 5, 2020

Implementing Push Notifications for iOS & Android

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You want to tell users about a lot: updates, new promotions, activities. But how to communicate with users of your application and do it unobtrusively? Push notifications are a great way to make it. In this article, we will talk about what it is, why your application can not work without notifications.

What are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are short messages from an application that a user receives. This is a great and inexpensive way to communicate with customers. They do not fall into spam mail and are not lost among hundreds of messages. Such messages are immediately displayed and have a good chance of being noticed. Clicks can be up to twice as fast as email.

Some history

Initially, push technology was invented in 2003 by Research in Motion (RIM) for fast emails. It allowed send and receive emails to Blackberry devices in real-time.

Apple was the first company that used technology for mobile devices with the development of the Apple Push Notification Service. APNS was launched with the release of iPhone iOS 3.0 in June 2009 and allowed sending push notifications to any application installed on the Apple gadgets.

Google also didn’t stand aside and, following the trends, launched Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM). After that, Android users also got access to the technology.

What are they used for?

Notifications are great for promoting a business. They help create personalized offers for each user. They are used for:

  • E-commerce. Send special offers on products left in baskets, inform about sales and discounts on products viewed by users.
  • Retail. Conduct advertising campaigns based on the location of stores and certain cities.
  • Mobile banking and financials. Remind customers of the required payments or notify them of changes in exchange rates.
  • Booking services. Reminds for the expiration of reservations, hot offers, and discounts.
  • Gaming apps. Notification of events occurring in the game. Advertising new games according to the interests of the subscriber.
  • News. Instant notifications of the latest news.
  • Improvement of applications. Tell users about the latest updates, new features. You can also receive feedback from your audience using alerts.
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How does the user see them?

We are sure that you see them almost every day. Notifications can be text and appear at the top of the screen, sound, or be presented as a number near the icon. These actions serve as an excellent method of reminding about the application, fostering user interest.

How do they work?

First, prepare all the information for notifications. You need to determine the audience, the optimal time for display, prepare the text, and then configure the sending. After that, application servers send the contents of the notification along with information about the owner of the application to one of the GCM, FCM, or APNS gateways. The user receives a notification, and you receive statistics on how effective the distribution of notifications was.

iOS, Android and cross-platform services


Apple Push Notification is a cloud-based push notification service from Apple. To do this, the service uses a remote server that provides a secure connection with users. It is very important to properly configure the application to successfully send notifications. There are 3 types of notifications on iOS:

  • Audio – a sound signal;
  • Audio/Banners – a message on the lock screen and a sound signal;
  • Badges – a number of notifications near the icon.
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Firebase Cloud Messaging it’s a free operating system from Google for Android, which surprises with its flexibility. Simply, notifications will be displayed on the user’s smartphone as the developer wanted. In general, notifications are shown in any form.


The Sailthru is a customer storage cloud that helps marketers get and keep customers focused on the product. This is a cross-platform service with which it is easy to configure push notifications for several platforms at once, which significantly saves time.

The Sailthru platform has become truly popular with its unique Rich Messaging feature. Application developers appreciate it for its easy-to-use options. Message personalization and behavioral launch also enhance the user experience and interaction with the application. They really can focus on the right user at the right time, which increases traffic.

Urban Airship

It works for both iOS and Android. This is a reliable solution for high-quality interaction with users. The service allows you to predict the success of notifications and change tactics for better results. The service combines customer profiles according to their preferences, which simplifies the work. Urban Airship Starter Pack is free.

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How to use Push notifications in marketing

Push notification technology has been used in marketing for a long time. With their help, it is possible to give information directly to the user and create the impression of a personal approach. If you use push traffic wisely, the result will be impressive.

In the case of notifications, the main thing is not to overdo it. If you send them too often, users will simply get tired of them and uninstall the application. They annoy users if notifications are configured incorrectly, which naturally leads to the removal of the application from the device. Only talk about what’s relevant for customers. Also consider the location and preferences of your audience.

With the professional approach push notifications can:

  • Reactivate users;
  • Improve the quality of customer service by timely notifying them of changes in order status;
  • Convert unknown users into customers, offering the best conditions after registering in your account or filling out the contact form;
  • Send transactional messages immediately after the client’s action;
  • Redirect customers to other marketing channels, such as social networks and the site.

So, what we eventually have?

To make the application popular, profitable, and justify invested forces, it’s not enough to attract users. It is necessary to keep them and draw them into it. Push notifications are an essential tool for this.

For entrepreneurs, sending out pushes is one of the most effective and profitable ways to collect clients, which doesn’t require a lot of labor, time, and money. Using notifications gives serious advantages over competitors, but this only happens if you carefully work out on marketing strategy.