Sending web push notifications from a website is easy if you know how, but there are still challenges and limitations. To truly use push notifications optimally, you need to use web push notifications and mobile notifications. We're going to give an overview of the different kinds of notifications, recommend the best services for sending web push notifications, then explain how MobiLoud can help you to send push notifications optimally.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know in this guide, by the end you’ll know exactly how to send push notifications from a website!
What are Push Notifications?
There are two main kinds of push notifications we’re going to look at in this article:
- Web push
- Mobile push
Both are called “push” notifications because the messages are “pushed” from a server to the UI of the device, even if the app or website is not running. Both are a very handy way to re-engage past visitors and notify fans and subscribers of time-sensitive and useful information.
Although they look quite similar from the user’s perspective - web push and mobile push work differently. It’s important to understand the difference if you want to be able to send notifications from a website in the most effective way possible. Let’s take a look at each in turn.
Web Push Notifications
Most of us are familiar with web push notifications at this point. Web push notifications, also known as browser notifications, are notifications that are sent to the user via a desktop or mobile web browser.
They are delivered any time the user has the browser open - whether they are on that specific site or not. The key point to remember about them - the browser sends them - irrespective of the particular device.
This way, they can be notified when you publish new content whether or not they're on your website. Depending on their operating system (OS), a little banner will pop up on their desktop (or at the top of their phone if they’re on mobile) to let them know about something of interest.
Web push notifications are supported by multiple browsers, including:
While we're still waiting for iOS to allow web push notifications, Android permits push notifications on:
This lack of iOS support is an unfortunate and huge downside of web push notifications. There is still a way to reach iOS users with push notifications from your website - you have to convert your website to mobile apps - that we’ll go into later on.
Now that we’ve looked at web push notifications let’s move on to mobile notifications.
Mobile Push Notifications
Mobile notifications are notifications sent from mobile apps. Don’t get confused here by the “mobile” because you can send web push notifications on mobile too (on Android).
With web push notifications the notifications are sent from the browser, whether that’s to a mobile or a desktop device. With mobile notifications, the notifications come from the app. From a users point of view they are very similar on mobile devices. There are some important differences though.
Web Notifications vs Mobile Notifications
The first difference is permission. With web notifications, the user must explicitly give their permission to receive notifications. This makes sense, it would be a horrible user experience to be bombarded with notifications from every website you visit. Browsers are making it harder to get permission lately, in line with the "user first" thinking that is increasingly dominating UX design.
With mobile notifications it’s more flexible. As you’ve already shown some significant interest in the brand by installing the app - the permissions are more lax. On Android users are automatically opted in, and iOS are moving further towards this although traditionally have required user approval.
The second major difference is that web push notifications are only possible on Android and desktop - if you want to send notifications to iOS users, you must send mobile push notifications from an app.
Both are very handy tools in the arsenal of a digital business, and using both is optimal. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you’d want to send push notifications from a website.
Why Send Push Notifications from a Website?
According to Statista, 33% of people under the age of 34 enable push notifications on their phones for various businesses and apps. That’s a sizable portion of your existing and potential future users you can send direct messages to about your business.
Push notifications have a significantly higher engagement rate compared with email, and don’t artificially limit your reach like social media platforms. They are ideal for any business that wants a direct line of communication with users!
There are many different ways that web and mobile push notifications can be used to boost engagement, traffic and conversions. For example:
- News Publishers can use both web push notifications and mobile notifications from a mobile app to alert past visitors and app users to new content, breaking news, and special offers
- eCommerce Stores can promote special offers, new products, and offer special discounts to drive up conversions. With mobile notifications tied to an app user’s account it would also be possible to send personalised notifications notifying customers about their orders similarly to how Amazon does.
- Elearning platforms can share snippets of information on courses, promotions, and free content - and with mobile app notifications could give students individual updates about the courses they are enrolled in.
- Communities can use notifications to promote hot threads or discussions, drive users back into the app/site, and with personalised mobile notifications could alert individual users when they receive messages or requests like the Facebook app does
As you can see there is a wide range of possibilities. Almost every business that values engagement, traffic and conversion opportunities can find a good use for push notifications in the mix.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the other benefits:
- Direct access to your audience at all times
- Create a better user experience (if you use them right)
- Increase engagement through staying top-of-mind
- Generate more ad revenue through driving more traffic
- Boost sales and conversions for eCommerce
- Get insights into your users through push analytics
The main benefits of web push notifications is the huge reach of the web. Potentially everyone who visits your website can receive them, which gives you a shot with your whole audience. The other great advantage is that they allow you to cover desktop users too!
Want to send mobile push notifications to engage your users? The best option is to convert your site to mobile apps. It's easier than you think - get a free, personalized demo of MobiLoud Canvas to see how.
How to Send Web Push Notifications from Your Website
Can you send push notifications from a website? Yes!
Traditionally you needed to do a bit of code tinkering or use the skills of a developer to set them up, but we’re not going to go too much into this. For most businesses that want to send push notifications from a website fast and hit the ground running - it’s best to use a push notification service.
The push platform will give you all you need to get set up and send push notifications from your website. It’s then up to you to try to get approval from visitors that land on your site through desktop or Android devices!
The Top Three Best Push Notification Providers
Before we go further, let’s take a look at the three best push notification providers. These make sending push notifications from a website as easy as 1-2-3.
OneSignal is the #1 choice for sending push notifications from a website without having to do any coding yourself! The platform has an extensive online presence, with notable users including USA Today Sports and EatStreet. It has an impressive list of integrations and supports leading browsers.
If you haven’t used push notifications before, then OneSignal is the best choice. It has an intuitive design that enables you to install and set up fast. Once it’s ready to go, you can configure and schedule notifications across multiple platforms with ease.
OneSignal’s web notifications can be used to alert users to new content, notify eCommerce customers of abandoned carts, or to tell community members about a new social integration. The platform has a limited free version that supports 10,000 web and unlimited mobile subscribers.
PushEngage, which is now owned by WPBeginners, is used by numerous major businesses, including Dominos and TUI. Like OneSignal, it features a broad selection of integrations and support for leading browsers and device operating systems.
Importantly, PushOffer features segmentation functionality, with criteria including location, device, and activity. What’s more, PushEngage automates segmentation and offers triggered campaigns. Its A/B testing and analytical features are extensive, and allow you to optimize your push notifications based on the data it collects.
If you’re unsure about committing to PushEngage, you can try it out for free. That comes with a limit of 2500 subscribers and 120 notifications per month though - significantly lower than OneSignal’s free model.
Their “Business” plan typically starts at $25/month, which supports up to 100,000 subscribers, customized branding, and unlimited notifications.
3) VWO Engage
You may know VWO Engage under its former name of Push Crew. As with the other options, VWO Engage boasts a range of integrations and is compatible with leading browsers and device operating systems. Notably, VWO Engage counts CreditLoan and Ubisoft among its users.
VWO Engage offers a user-friendly design that lets users quickly implement push notifications without a steep learning curve. Its triggered campaigns can be automatically activated and ended by certain activities, such as clicking a link or filling out a form.
Segmentation and A/B functionality are offered, but you may find VWO Engage’s features and analytical tools are not as comprehensive as competitors.
Unfortunately, VWO Engage only offers a 30-day free trial period. Its entry-level “Growth” plan supports 10,000 subscribers and unlimited notifications. More premium options support additional subscribers, but these plans are pricier.
Send Push Notifications From a Website - The Optimal Strategy
So, we’ve explained the two main kinds of push notifications. We’ve seen how web push notifications are great, and how they can boost results for your company. We’ve also recommended three great push notification providers that can get you up and running.
What about mobile push notifications though?
As we mentioned, web push notifications are great but have their limits. Browsers are increasingly cracking down on them to protect users, and you can’t send them on iOS at all.
Lack of iOS support is huge. Although Android dominates globally, iOS is over 60% of the US market and also ties with Android in other lucrative markets like the UK and Japan. iOS users also trend younger and higher income - so if you restrict yourself to only web push notifications you are potentially missing out on a valuable demographic.
That’s why we recommend using both. Send web push notifications from a website and use mobile push notifications.
So how can you send mobile push notifications from a website? It’s simple. Convert your website to an app and you can send mobile push notifications to all your app users too, no matter their operating system.
Send Mobile Push Notifications from your Website with MobiLoud
Forget about building apps from scratch, It will cost you six figures and at least six months of stressful work. You can get just as good a result in just weeks for a fraction of the cost by turning your website into apps with MobiLoud.
MobiLoud has 2 distinct platforms:
- News is for WordPress-based digital publishers to build native news apps
- Canvas converts any website including WooCommerce-based online stores to build native shopping apps, or web app into mobile apps
Over a thousand apps, enjoyed by millions of users, have been built with MobiLoud. With MobiLoud you can build mobile apps for iOS and Android from any website - and get all the features you’d expect from a top mobile app.
You don’t need to touch a single line of code to build apps with MobiLoud, and our team handles all the tricky parts from submission to the App Store and Google Play, to ongoing updates and maintenance which saves you thousands of dollars per year in development costs. Your MobiLoud apps will sync 100% to your existing site, updating automatically with any changes you make or any new content that you publish. There’s nothing new to learn, and nothing to add to your workflow.
Crucially, MobiLoud allows you to send mobile push notifications from your website. We integrate with OneSignal, and offer unlimited notifications on all plans. If you’re on WordPress, you’ll be able to send push notifications from a plugin that sits in your admin panel. If you’re on any other kind of site, you’ll be able to send notifications from our simple interface.
MobiLoud apps are also optimized for push notifications. Therefore, your users will have a push preferences section where they can choose the kinds of notifications that they want to receive, and an in-app message center where notifications can be saved for later. Both of these ensure maximum impact for your push notifications.
It really is the smartest, most simple way to send mobile push notifications from a website! With web notifications set up covering desktop and casual Android visitors - and MobiLoud app push notifications to send to all your biggest fans who download the apps - you’ll really have covered push notifications as a channel.
Getting started is as simple as booking a demo call with one of our app experts. There are no long term contracts, and you can get a full refund within 60-days for any reason so there’s no risk.
Ready to send push notifications from your website? Book a demo call today!