Push Notification

Push notifications are brief alerts triggered by an application. They are an effective way to communicate important information to customers. You can still deliver push notifications, even when the customer doesn’t have your app open.

When to Send a Push Notification

With customers so invested in downloading and using retail apps, push notifications are a relatively easy way to start getting your message in front of the right eyes. As soon as a customer has downloaded your app and enabled alerts, you’re in! 

Push notifications tend to work well for sales and marketing offers, as well as notifications that are not particularly time-sensitive. These include:

  • New product offers
  • Bringing users back to your app with a timely message
  • Customer feedback requests
  • Message alerts
  • Reminders

You can still deliver push notifications, even when the customer doesn’t have your app open. And you can easily integrate other technology (such as geo-targeting) to make sure you’re reaching them at a relevant time and through their preferred method. 

For instance, Target has been known to send its in-store customers push notifications for promotions and sales.

Differences Between Push Notification and SMS Message

While push notifications and SMS messaging are two highly effective tools in your marketing toolkit, they are two completely separate tactics that should be executed strategically and thoughtfully. Each has a time and place! 

Push notifications are cheaper, but SMS reaches pretty much every type of handset. Push messaging requires Internet, but text messages are more static.

It turns out, this isn’t a competition. There are pros and cons to both tactics. For instance, SMS gives you more flexibility in your message. You can add links, and character limits are longer. Delivery is reliable, and customers are practically guaranteed to see your message (remember the 98% open rate from above?). It’s easier to miss a push notification that might only be visible for a few seconds.

push vs sms

That said, push notifications are easier to manage from an opt-in standpoint. 

You can start sending push notifications without recipients providing express written consent. Plus, recipients manage app permissions from their mobile devices, and they’re less likely to take the time to go into their settings to tweak the frequency and type of notifications. 

With SMS, recipients must provide express written consent and opt in before your business can send them SMS messages. That’s a huge barrier to entry.

Still confused? We’ve put all the advantages and disadvantages clearly in line.

Advantages Push Notifications:

  • Faster
  • Low costs
  • Encryption possible
  • Interactive
  • Retry within 72 hours
  • Works without cell coverage (but with WiFi) 

Disadvantages Push Notifications:

  • No delivery guarantee
  • No delivery reports
  • Needs Internet 

Advantages SMS:

  • Delivery reports
  • High delivery rate
  • No Internet needed
  • High open rate
  • Safe sending to telephone numbers. 

Disadvantages SMS:

  • Costly
  • Needs cell coverage
  • Slow
  • Statically

SMS messages and push notifications are both powerful tools, depending on your use case and specific company goals. 


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