Will Desktop Push Notifications Benefit Your Site?

A push notification, also known as a server push, is a message that pops up on a mobile screen or browser. Information is delivered to the device or browser from a software application even without a specific request from the user.

This has become a viable solution for app developers and website owners who want to send information without waiting for a click from the online user. Push notifications may include the latest update of an ongoing ad campaign, a new downloadable coupon, or information about an upcoming event.

In this article, we will discuss two kinds of push notifications: mobile and web.

Mobile Push Notifications

Push notifications on mobile devices typically look like SMS messages and mobile alerts but can only be received by users who have installed the app. The user must opt-in to receive these alerts. This usually takes place during the installation process, and the app is usually designed to allow the end user to manage alerts through the settings tab.

Each of the mobile platforms has support for push notifications – Android, iOS, Fire OS, Blackberry and Windows all have their own services.

Different devices rely on unique methods to deliver push notifications. For instance, Apple developers can use the Apple Push Notification Service’s Developers application program interface to deliver these messages to iOS devices. Meanwhile, on Android devices, push notifications appear on the status bar of the mobile device. Once clicked, the user will be directed to the application.

Web Push Notifications

Web push notifications are messages sent by a specific webpage even when it is not open in your browser. These are new marketing channels to help re-engage visitors without the need to send relevant information through email. These are also called desktop push notifications.

Advantages of Web Push Notifications

These notifications provide very significant information that should be of interest to the intended end users. Here are some of the benefits of web push notifications:

  1. You don’t need to download and install a mobile app to display push notifications on the browser screens of your target audience.
  2. Web push notifications are available on major web browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
  3. You can reach your customers even if they are engaged with other websites.
  4. There is no need for a user’s email address or other contact information to send whatever information you may want to send out. The user just needs to manage how he wants to be alerted about future updates. Once he opts-in, he will be receiving those updates instantly.
  5. It has a higher percentage of information being read compared to receiving information via email.
  6. It has a higher conversion rate compared to marketing emails sent to users.
  7. It reconnects your users to your website after being away for quite some time.

Uses of Push Notifications

Push notifications provide convenience and value to both end users and site (or app) owners. Some people may not have the time to regularly check on updates from websites and apps, and so these push notifications are really important tools for any site or mobile app.

Here are some of the ways that push notifications are used in real applications:

  • You get to be notified about weather, traffic and latest news updates.
  • If there are changes in your flight schedule, your airline app may send information automatically.
  • You may be alerted of updates on games installed on your phone.

Push notifications let you speak directly to a user. Unlike sending messages through emails, which may just end up as spam, push notifications captures the attention of the user immediately.

The technology does not require any specific application on a mobile device to be open for a message to get through the end user. Smartphones can receive and display SMS or social media alerts even when the device’s screen is locked and the specific social media application that is sending a message is closed.

desktop push notifications

Apple was one of the first mobile devices to implement push notification. (Photo by Qrator via Flickr)

Forms of Push Notifications

Push notifications may come in the form of an alert, badge, banner or sound.

  • Alerts may appear on the screen wherein the user has the option to accept or dismiss it.
  • Badges are small red circles with number that appear on the upper-right hand corner of an app’s icon.
  • A banner appears on a screen for just a few seconds then disappears.
  • The sound may be system-provided to accompany the notification style or it can be customized through the settings of the device.

How Can Push Notifications Help Your Business?

Here are some of the ways that push notifications can help your business grow and increase engagement of your target market:

  1. Some users who may have downloaded an app may not be actively using the app. When push notifications are sent with relevant information, it allows the user to engage and spark interest in using the app again. Consequently, if it is a business app, it may increase the likelihood of turning casual visits and leads into a sale.
  2. During the installation process, the user is able to manage how he would want to be notified. Being able to customize the kind of information that the user may only want to receive makes it a worthwhile experience for the user rather than be bombarded with so many push notifications in a day.
  3. Push notifications can track down user behavior, generating extremely important data as basis for improving an app or website to provide a better experience to the end user.
  4. It is an effective marketing strategy because an app developer may be able to send information directly to the user without worrying about having these messages end up in spam. In contrast, unless a user has added the email address of a specific business in his contacts list, the message may not reach the user and would just end up being unread or treated as spam.
  5. Push notifications allow users to be informed of the latest promos of a specific brand, availability of coupons and discount cards, or distribution of freebies. These things will make the end user trigger an action that should eventually get converted into a purchase.
  6. The ability to deliver information instantly is the biggest edge in using push notifications. About 97 percent of app subscribers open and read mobile notifications. According to a survey, mobile push notifications have 50 percent more open rate and click-throughs than emails.

The Downside of Push Notifications

Using push notifications requires monetary expenditure for app or site development, and this may put off small businesses. Not choosing to use this feature reduces the opportunity to increase traffic towards the business, unless there are alternative means of getting the business recognized, say building an audience through social media sites.

In this regard, business owners who have enough resources to implement and pay for push notifications may have an edge over their competitors.


As online use grows, so does the need of businesses to take advantage of the great opportunity that push notifications offer. Push notifications may be less interruptive compared to other forms of bringing traffic to a business, and they can add value to the website by providing instant notification of relevant information.

As long as the information can stir up interest in end users, push notifications will continue to be a welcome feature for online users. Be careful, though, because putting out irrelevant information on your push notification may just cause your app to be deleted or your website to be sidelined.