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Web Browser Push Notifications, Explained

Last Updated April 26, 2021

Do you want to communicate with your audiences at the right time and place at all times? Web push notifications might just have you covered. 

Web push notifications build on the experience of existing marketing communication services such as SMS, email, and application push notifications—but better (at least from a user’s point of view). 


With these notifications, visitors can subscribe to getting communications from your business without having to provide their personal details. You, on the other hand, get a new avenue to reach your audience even while they’re looking at your competitors, and drive 20% to 30% higher engagement on your site on both mobile devices and desktops.

What are Web Push Notifications?

Web push notifications, also called browser notifications, give marketers an instant mode of automated and direct communication with your visitors. You can directly reach out to your customers who have abandoned their cart or added to their wishlist, and nudge them to finally convert through strategic alerts. 

These messages come in the form of notifications sent to a user’s desktop screen or mobile device. These can be triggered through open browsers on any device at any time they are connected to the internet so long as they opt-in to receive push notifications from your website. 

To keep up with the emergence of push notifications over the last couple of years, more and more companies have started offering both their free and paid push notification technology services for business owners and marketers alike.

Why Use Web Push Notifications?

Web push notifications may seem just like any other marketing channel at first glance, or maybe even like a throwaway channel that’s “not right” for you. Although if you look closer, you might realize that these notifications also provide considerable advantages.

    • Real-time communication: The user will immediately see your message with web push notifications. This is very different from emails that we have grown accustomed to—if we’re being honest—ignoring. Whereas it may take time before visitors see your email, a notification is instant. 
    • Easier to implement: Building your own push notification strategy and running your campaigns is just as easy as setting up your email list—and a simple way to engage more visitors.  
    • Non-disruptive delivery. You will be able to reach out to users in a natural, native environment without having them log in on your site or do anything more aside from browse. This is the very reason why these notifications have extremely high open rates or view rates.
    • Simple yet intuitive engagement. When users click on or tap your message, they can be redirected to your website or a specific landing page, blog, or whatever else you want to promote and drive traffic to — unlike SMS notifications which are much more difficult to engage with because of the platform’s closed nature.
    • No personal information required. Directly communicate with users without having to persuade them to hand over their email addresses or phone numbers. All they need to do is opt-in to receive notifications from their browser. Painless and private!

The Challenges of Using Browser Notifications

Web push notifications also have some limitations you need to be wary of, specifically if you’re just about to jump-ship from another marketing channel or if you’re just about to try to implement web push notifications for your website.

💬 You will start your subscriber list from scratch

Browser notifications do not have a way for you to add your subscribers by yourself. In simple terms, you will not be able to carry over your existing email list to get started. You will really need each of your customers to opt-in.

💬 Timing is vital to your campaigns

You should send the notifications when your customers are most likely to read and engage with you. This means when they are actually online and not too busy to be bothered. This seems relatively easy to deal with before you need to start thinking about timezones, morning and afternoon activities, meal times, sleeping times…and that’s when the whole thing gets tough and testing comes into play.

💬 Your push notifications cannot be stored (or searched)

Probably the biggest downside to any type of push notification—unlike emails, these notifications cannot be accessed by the user later on. If the user missed out on, or ignored, any of your messages the minute it was sent, chances are your notification will never be opened by them.

💬 Browser notifications require SSL

You will not be able to use it to send web push notifications if your website is not secure with an SSL certificate. Getting your site as secure as possible isn’t too complicated, but you have to brace yourself with the costs and processes involved.

What do you think about sending marketing web push notifications? Let us know!

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