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Do browser push notifications really work?

If you spend any time browsing the internet, you might have noticed that it seems like just about every site you visit has a little pop up asking you if you want notifications. If it’s not about notifications, then the website wants to know your location; and then finally, before navigating away from the page, there is another pop up wanting you to sign up for emails. As a long-time marketer who survived through the pop-up armageddon of the early 2000’s, I really have to wonder what gives? Why is this so prevalent now? Does it really work? These questions have prompted my investigation and I’m here to share it with you now the information I have uncovered about web browser push notifications.

What Are Browser Push Communications?

Let’s first explore exactly what browser push communications are. The technical definition of for web push notifications are “clickable rich content messages sent to your device by a website or a web app. These types of notifications are delivered to your mobile device or desktop even if you aren’t on that website and your browser doesn’t even need to be open. Of course, these are only sent if the user subscribes to the notifications while using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers.

How are Browser Communications Used?

Web push notifications are less expensive than it is to build apps, but are designed to maintain communications with consumers and boost engagement. Since other areas of engagement like email, SMS, and display ads have been experiencing a decline in responses, website marketing teams have employed this concept to gain back a piece of that lost market. However, if many website visitors think of the pop up window inviting them to sign up for the notifications is an intrusion or annoyance, how can they be successful? Here are the types of browser push notifications that have the best success rates:

  • Sports scores and news delivered in timely intervals to fans.
  • Traffic, weather, and seasonal reports, like ski and snow or surf reports.
  • Flight check in, change, and connection information
  • Sales Alerts, New Coupons, and Product Updates

Here is how to make browser push notifications work best:

  • Make sure the content is direct and to the point.
  • Make the notifications personal. Personalized and customized notifications are available based on user activity, location, demographics, and other parameters.
  • Be clear with the communications and make opting out just as easy as opting in.
  • List your privacy policy and explain the anonymity behind the notifications to make sure they understand that there is no “creepy factor” behind these notifications.
  • Adjust your delivery times and frequency accordingly to successes as well as failures.

Success Rates from Web Browser Notifications

We have established that web browser notifications have many benefits over other types of advertising. They are easier and less expensive to implement than developing a full out mobile app. However, there are other benefits as well, including:

  • Wider reach across browsers.
  • Interested and engaged audience that subscribed to the notifications.
  • Instant and timely access to your target audience.
  • Lower opt-out and unsubscribe rates.
  • Higher conversion rates.
  • Tech savvy users.

Summary and Takeaways for Your Business

For entrepreneurs and business owners, being on the cutting edge of popular ad tech is vital. As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we have to work smarter and more efficiently. Browser push notifications are a way to do this. Of course, they need testing and tweaking to ensure that they work right for your audience. It is a big deal for your advertising messages to be welcomed in to your users’ inner network of computer desktop or mobile notifications, so do not abuse them. Make sure that you are continually improving the value proposition offered through your push notifications. Find a way to incorporate the ways that browser push notifications work best. Use, but do not abuse, the information that your website visitors and customers give you and make sure that it is beneficial to them as well as your business.

Richard Larson

Richard Larson is the Marketing Manager at, the leading UK promotional products company. He enjoys sharing his experience on a range of subjects to enable customers to increase their brand awareness through the use of promotional merchandise.

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