Web Push Notifications , Progressive Web Applications & Re Engaging With Your Users

Ever since the announcement of support and development of the web standard HTML5 Service Workers PushAPI in early 2015, I have been s-uber excited about the possibility of web-app only sustenance and weighing over natives.
A complete web-app (or what people are calling them now are Progressive Web-Apps) for me comprises of :
1. Notifications
2. Offline – on the web.
3. Responsivity
4. On-load/demand functionality

This article is part of a series on Progressive Web Apps, which I have been delaying for the past year. So let’s get this started..

push notifications

I love Web Push Notifications

Web Push notifications is this new development to send push notifications to a web-browser (wherever there’s a browser – mobile/desktop), works best on Chrome, Safari and now Firefox – well pretty much majority, at-least.

Push notifications as we all know, are the notifications which you traditionally get on your mobile devices through native/downloaded mobile apps.

Reaching and Re-Engaging your users through new, disruptive ways is a challenge any product is facing in the current scenario with multiple channels of reach & engagement.

Current issues with reaching/engaging with your users ~

  • Social is getting algorithmic and brands are facing the pressure to pay up even if they have a huge dedicated following
  • Emails have the best CTRs, but it’s a risky line of communication to push
  • SMS for web-based products are just plain weird
  • Native app push notification require someone to download an app and other complicated reasoning blah blah

Web Push Notifications are just perfect –
i. No need for an app. – Quick Deployment, basic general push functionality done in less than 30 minutes.
ii. Massive Reach – Browsers, they’re everywhere.
iii. CTRs are high as they have the same appeal as mobile native push notifications.
iv. Response is – high – doesn’t load a slow native app , but a quick lite web page.

Once you have added web push notifications to your product, and your user has subscribed to them, they can get your push notification on their desktops/laptops/mobiles!
Instead of a native mobile app pushing the notifications, the web browser will be pushing the notification.

Some of the biggest adopters are : Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News.

That’s an insane reach, engagement opportunity.

push notifications

Product Strategy Talk

push notifications

For Product Strategists/Planners ~

i. Notification X-Platform – Chrome/Safari/Firefox only requirement.
ii. Direct click-through to targeted URL – customizable – configurable with preAuths.
iii. Quick turn around time – bulk target audience taking an action in first 15 minutes of notification.
iv. Relatively quick deployment


Marketing Talk

push notifications

With your facebook reach throttling and email open-rates dwindling, this is the next thing marketers should strongly consider ~

i. Relevant Content Marketing – Shooting that blog article to all the subscribers.
ii. Tracking — Following up in x hours/app visits etc.
iii. High Click Through Rates.


Tech Talk

Brothers. This is easy, seamless af.

push notifications

HTML5 Service Workers & Push API configuration and you are all set. I won’t get in to the nitty gritties of this for you since every use-case and app architecture is different. Your apps notification API can include and trigger the Push API with concerned requirement.
Basic definitions you should have an idea about : WebApp, Push Message, Push Subscription, Push Service & Express Permissions.
web push notifications architecture

No Tech Team?

Third party services offering web-push notifications as a plugin/ad-hoc feature :

GoRoost — The first platform to make web notifications as third party notifications.
OneSignal — I am currently using this, works like a charm.
PushCrew — Being currently used by one of the biggest news websites in India – shows massive scale-ability and support.

Like any new tech development, there’re a few issues/entry barriers to web push notifications as well, which I hope will become easier over time/development :
For a user to subscribe to your web push notifications is a little tricky – especially if you’re not HTTPS.

Relevant Links :

Tech :
1. W3 Org
2. Chromium

PS :
The reason I have used the Chrome example as opposed of FF/Safari (which also support Web Push Notifications) is – Google/Chrome login feature. You can login in to your Chrome browser(which most of you might have already done), and the same login on your mobile device – kaboom – you are actually giving Google/Chrome the best stance to observe all your internet usage pattern.
With Web Push Notification – You subscribe to Push Notifications on your mobile and get them on all you Chrome logged in sessions – across Mobile/Tablets/Computer – wherever Chrome is running.
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