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  • Writer's picturelauren leavitt

Unlocking Web Push

Build Your Following for Real-Time Updates

Web push notifications are here! Are you ready to build a following for real-time updates on price changes, pocket listings, new releases, deal pages, webinars, etc.? Do you want to save your company money over text messaging on alerts for available shifts or weather closings?

Now is a unique opportunity to be a first-mover in this space.

“Web push” refers to push notifications sent over the web that can reach most people. These actionable alerts are delivered directly to a user’s screen, even when they are not online. With their March 27, 2023, iOS release, Apple became the last major platform to support web push, thus creating a universal marketing channel that’s real-time, private, attention-getting, and easy to distribute. It promises superior engagement rates and is simpler and cheaper to deploy than email, SMS, or app notifications.

Let’s explore how web push notifications work, what a successful implementation requires, and how Tapps can help you leverage this channel to its fullest potential.

Apple reshapes the channel

One subscribes to web push notifications through a website. According to Apple, that website must be a progressive web app (PWA), which is a website enhanced to behave like an app. As a result of Apple’s PWA policy, anyone who wants to build a push notification audience must use a PWA.

Another requirement is that the user must install the PWA. One installs a PWA by adding it to their home screen, which runs on their device like a regular app. Apple mandates that only installed PWAs have the authority to send notifications through iOS. These requirements redefine the channel into one that serves only engaged audiences and eliminates annoying pop-ups.

Since Google is a longtime advocate of installed PWAs, it’s also a good solution for Android. PWAs offer secondary benefits, including increased performance, offline operation, and the ability to run background processes.

Tapps is a solid choice for building a notification channel because it is a PWA platform with integrated web push functionality. Every event app, digital business card, mobile website, and digital brochure created on the Tapps platform is a PWA with a built-in notification channel.

Getting PWAs installed is the first order of business

Onboarding a new push subscriber is now a two-step process for iOS. The first step is getting the user to install your PWA, and the second is subscribing to its notification channel. Let’s review install onboarding with a focus on Android and Apple mobile devices, which is the primary audience for web notifications.

Installing a PWA is straightforward:

  • On iOS, tap the browser “share” icon and then “Add to home screen.”

  • On Android, tap the “three dots” icon and then “Install App.”

Android has other install options. Most Android browsers will recognize a new PWA and automatically display an install prompt at the bottom of the screen. This prompt will install the app when tapped. Android also allows you to add an install button anywhere in your PWA.

Apple does not yet support an install button, so the best strategy is to offer timely install directions. Tapps offers several essential tools to smooth PWA installs. All of our tools are contextual, meaning they only appear when relevant.

For Apple iOS users:

  • When a user launches a PWA, we automatically show the install directions at the bottom of the display.

  • When a user taps the notification subscribe button from an uninstalled PWA, we inform the user that the app must be installed first and offer directions.

  • If the user first needs to upgrade to a later version of iOS, we inform them.

  • We provide tools to integrate the install directions anywhere appropriate in the user experience. These directions will disappear upon installation.

For Android Users:

We provide an install button in the app’s navigation bar and that may be added anywhere in the app. These will disappear upon installation.

For all users:

We provide contextual tools to vary the user experience between browsed and installed apps. All app content and actions have contextual filters. Use these audience filters to incentivize installs by delivering a premium experience for installed users.

Getting subscriptions

The mechanics of getting subscriptions is straightforward for installed PWAs. Android and iOS allow a subscribe button, and Tapps has one that works for all browsers. The button is a regular action type that one can place anywhere in the app.

We also enable a permanent subscribe button in the app’s top navigation bar where users can conveniently subscribe, check the most recent notification, choose which channels they want to follow, and pause the channel without unsubscribing. Additionally, we offer a contextual audience filter for subscribed versus unsubscribed apps, which allows you to incentivize subscriptions with premium content.

Sending the notifications

Different browsers display notifications in various formats. The most common information displayed in a notification is a title, domain/app name, message, app icon, and browser logo.

You can also choose the notification’s endpoint (i.e., destination link). When tapped, a notification can take the user to the host app, a third-party URL, or a deep link to a specific action in the host app.

At Tapps, we recommend deep linking whenever possible, as it delivers the specific action or content the user expects. Deep linking can take users to a PDF, video, deal page, live stream, form, text, an add-to-calendar event, and more.

Notifications can also be categorized, allowing users to select which categories they want to follow. For example, a user may wish to see your notifications about price updates but would prefer to avoid your messages about job openings. Categorizing notifications ensures that users only receive relevant content and reduces the likelihood of them unsubscribing from your notifications altogether.

Finally, one can schedule notifications for later sending.

Host the notification content

When notifications link to specific actions, such as a PDF or an add-to-calendar event, one must host those actions somewhere. Tapps is handy as a notification platform because one hosts the notification actions in the app, which brings the user back to your app each time.

Get the best of metrics and privacy

Web push has the advantage of being the most private marketing channel, and yet it also has the best engagement metrics.

Users will appreciate web push because they do not have to share their name, email, or phone numbers to subscribe. Notwithstanding, you can track the exact count of subscribers and the click-through ratio for each notification. This result is better than email engagement metrics which are no longer accurate because of new privacy rules.

Be the first to grow a notification audience

Create value for your users by delivering the real-time notifications that they request. Send critical messages without worrying about them getting lost in the inbox or going to spam. Promote time-sensitive deals.

Tapps is an integrated PWA and notification platform. It delivers enormous advantages in streamlining onboarding, hosting content, and crafting premium experiences. Use Tapps to start building a following for real-time updates today.

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