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What you need to know about Web Push

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

Get ready for your new favorite marketing channel!

Here's what you need to know about Apple's imminent release of "web push."

What is web push?

Push notifications are opt-in, clickable, real-time alerts delivered directly to a user's screen. They are the most effective way to convey high-priority messages and offers to users. Native apps have relied on them for years to increase engagement. Already, 61% of marketers say push notifications are their favorite tools.

Web push brings notifications to the web where marketers can cultivate a broader audience with less onboarding friction and where they can engage users even when the user does not currently have the site open.

It's a win-win service. Consumers get actionable, relevant alerts delivered under their control and with consumer-friendly privacy. Marketers get easy onboarding, high connectivity, precise metrics, and an engaged audience without a requirement for cookie notices.

Pop-ups will decrease, not increase.

Apple's implementation will change how everyone uses web push.

We are all familiar with websites that display pop-up notification requests. That's the "old" web push. Apple's implementation will eliminate these annoying pop-ups on initial website visits.

They will do this by limiting notifications to a particular category of websites called progressive web apps (PWAs), and then only to users who add them to their home screen. Thus PWAs must offer sufficient value to induce installation before requesting users subscribe to notifications. As a result, users will only see push requests from websites with which they've already established a relationship.

The use of PWAs will surge.

More than just adding a website to the home screen is required to enable web push. The website must be a full-fledged PWA, which is a website that is enhanced to behave like a mobile app.

Like any website, a PWA is linkable, shareable, searchable, and can reach anyone, anywhere, on any device. But different than a typical website, a PWA:

  • is installable and runs on the mobile device

  • has an icon on the home screen

  • appears when you search for apps on the device

  • is always secure

  • opens in a standalone window

  • works offline

  • has access to higher levels of integration

  • can perform background processes (like managing notifications)

PWAs have had advocates for years, including popular examples such as Starbucks, Uber, and Pinterest. The lack of push notifications has kept PWAs from competing for a larger share of the app market.

As a result of Apple's support for web push, many websites will convert to PWAs, and more PWAs will edge into the app marketplace.

Apple adds support for third-party browsers.

A past challenge for getting users to add a PWA to their home screen was that Apple needed to support third-party browsers. Safari users could easily install their PWA, but iPhone/Chrome users could not.

Apple's web push software release also solves the browser issue by allowing other browsers, like Chrome, to add PWAs to the home screen.

Marketers will love the new channel.

Web push, delivered through a PWA, is an entirely new marketing channel that changes the dynamics of reach, privacy, engagement, and onboarding.

To begin, it has a universal reach. Web push extends notifications to the web to reach almost anyone with access to the internet.

It's easier to distribute because one shares PWAs through links, SEO, social media, SMS, QR codes, and email.

Notifications are high-engagement because they bypass the spam folder, are not affected by ad blockers, are high-value, and show up in the notification tray, even when the browser is not running.

Web push delivers precise metrics. One can depend on knowing a push message's exact click-through ratio (CTR), unlike email metrics, which are increasingly less dependable due to privacy protections that hide open rates.

It lessens onboarding friction. It's easier to subscribe new users to a channel when you can reach them over the web, don't ask for personal information, and let them control the connection.

Frequent reports say push notifications have click-through rates of as much as 7x that of email, but there are no measures yet on Apple's web push. We believe it will be among the highest engagement channels.

Customers will value the channel.

Web push is very customer friendly.

It starts with timely, high-value notifications delivered from a PWA that the user already values.

It offers greater privacy than any other channel. Users are not required to share their name, email, or phone number, and they don't need to allow cookies. Without email addresses or phone numbers, unscrupulous marketers have no database of private information to sell or abuse.

And the customer is in charge. They choose when to opt-in and when to mute the channel. When appropriately implemented, the user can easily turn the channel on and off, versus an email channel where the customer is lost once they unsubscribe.

The key is to deliver value.

Marketers must first earn the privilege of installing their PWA on a user's phone and then must earn the privilege of sending notifications. The benefit of a successful push service is that it will yield a brand's most loyal and engaged audience.

Tapps PWAs are web push enabled.

Tapps has tested our notification service against Apple's beta software, and we are ready to go. Every app has a built-in notification channel so you can send notifications to Apple mobile devices immediately after Apple's upcoming release.

You can send notifications to Android devices now, so go ahead and begin testing and be ready to curate an engaged audience.

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