Feb 5, 2020

Implementing Push Notifications for iOS & Android

If you don’t remind users about your application, they will forget about it, no matter how successful it is. We have one effective method of active communication with your users! Push notifications for iOS & Android help to remind about yourself carefully and unobtrusively.

What are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are short messages displayed by the app at the command of the server when the user doesn’t work directly with a specific app. This is a great and inexpensive way to tell users about important news and activities. They don’t fall into spam in the mail and aren’t forgotten in the inbox. Pushes are immediately displayed and have a good chance of being seen. Clicks can be up to twice as fast as email.

Some history

Initially, push technology was invented in 2003 by Research in Motion (RIM) for fast emails. It allowed send and receive emails to Blackberry devices in real-time.

Apple was the first company that used technology for mobile devices with the development of the Apple Push Notification Service. APNS was launched with the release of iPhone iOS 3.0 in June 2009 and allowed sending push notifications to any application installed on the Apple gadgets.

Google also didn’t stand aside and, following the trends, launched Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM). After that, Android users also got access to the technology.

What are they used for?

Pushes are a convenient tool for promoting a business. They help create personalized offers for users of your app. Let’s figure out for what purpose you can use notifications:

  1. E-commerce. Send special offers on products left in baskets, inform about sales and discounts on products viewed by users.
  2. Retail. Conduct advertising campaigns based on the location of stores and certain cities.
  3. Mobile banking and financials. Remind customers of the required payments or notify them of changes in exchange rates.
  4. Booking services. Reminds for the expiration of reservations, hot offers, and discounts.
  5. Gaming apps. Notification of events occurring in the game. Advertising new games according to the interests of the subscriber.
  6. News. Instant notifications of the latest news.
  7. Improvement of applications. Tell users about the latest updates, new features. You can also receive feedback from your audience using alerts.

And these are just the main examples of using push notifications. They can be used for any type of application; the main thing is to correctly determine the needs of users.

How does the user see them?

There are several types of notifications on devices: a text message that pops up at the top of the screen, a short sound signal, an app window, and the number near the icon of the mobile app. These actions serve as an excellent method of reminding about the app, warming up the user’s interest. We are sure that you see them almost every day, right?

How do they work?

First, prepare all the information for notifications. It is necessary to determine the audience, the optimal distribution time, prepare the text, and then configure the automatic message for sending via the API.

After the information is ready, the application servers send the contents of the notification along with information about the owner of the app to one of the gateways: GCM, FCM, or APNS. They validate the information and then send a notification to end-user devices. After receiving a notification, devices send a click and delivery data back to the application. This data helps application owners track the effectiveness of the distribution.

iOS, Android and cross-platform services


Apple Push Notification is an Apple cloud service that lets you send push notifications from iOS apps. For this, service uses a remote server that provides a secure connection with users. To receive APNS push notifications, the application must be properly configured and registered.

  1. Audio – a sound signal informs the user about a message;
  2. Audio/Banners – a message appears on the lock screen and notifies a sound signal about it;
  3. Badges – in the upper right corner of the application icon appears an icon with a number indicating the number of notifications.


Firebase Cloud Messaging is a new version of GCM (Google Cloud Messaging). It’s a free operating system from Google for Android, which surprises with its flexibility. There is no built-in system for displaying push notifications on Android (this is written in the official manual for developers). Simply, notifications will be displayed on the user’s smartphone as the developer wanted. A notification may appear at the top of the screen; an application window may open with the information the user needs to get started. In general, notifications are shown in any form.


The Sailthru is a customer storage cloud that helps marketers get and keep customers focused on the product. This is a cross-platform service with which it is easy to configure push notifications for several platforms at once, which significantly saves time. 

The Sailthru platform has become truly popular with its unique Rich Messaging feature. Application developers appreciate it for its easy-to-use options. Message personalization and behavioral launch also enhance the user experience and interaction with the application. They really can focus on the right user at the right time, which increases traffic.

Urban Airship

This is a great option for setting push notifications for both iOS and Android. This is a reliable solution for high-quality interaction with users. A feature of Urban Airship is the forecasting function, which allows you to change tactics depending on the results to get better results. The service combines customer profiles according to their preferences, which simplifies the work. Urban Airship Starter Pack is free.

How to use Push notifications in marketing

Push notification technology has been used in marketing for a long time. With their help, it is possible to give information directly to the user and create the impression of a personal approach. If you use push traffic wisely, the result will be impressive.

Pushes need a smart strategy. They annoy users if notifications are configured incorrectly, which naturally leads to the removal of the app from the device. Therefore, push notifications must be timely and adapted to the needs of your users. The strategy for sending them should take into account who your users are, where they are, and what they do.

With the professional approach push notifications can:

  • Reactivate users;
  • Improve the quality of customer service by timely notifying them of changes in order status;
  • Convert unknown users into customers, offering the best conditions after registering in your account or filling out the contact form;
  • Send transactional messages immediately after the client’s action;
  • Redirect customers to other marketing channels, such as social networks and the site.

So, what we eventually have?

To make the application popular, profitable and justify invested forces, it’s not enough to attract users. It is necessary to keep them and draw them into it. Push notifications are an essential tool for this. 

For entrepreneurs, sending out pushes is one of the most effective and profitable ways to collect clients, which doesn’t require a lot of labor, time and money. Using notifications gives serious advantages over competitors, but this only happens if you carefully work out on marketing strategy.