Reach your users with web apps and push messages!

by Meike Müller

Interaction has become an important part of the internet. Companies with websites, online shops or blogs try to keep users on their online presence for as long as possible in order to elicit an action from them at the end. In the case of an online shop, this can be the purchase of a product or the call of a customer to a consulting company. Getting users to absorb and interact with the content is then the challenge that every business faces. One way to encourage interaction is to use push notifications via web apps. And that's what this post is going to be about! Need more help building your custom web app or assistance with implementing push notifications, we at EXWE are here to help and answer all your questions. Feel free to contact us!

What to expect

We'll explain what a web app and push notification even is, and then show you what you can use push notifications for and why in your business. After that, we don't want to deprive you of the technical details, so we'll show you how and with which API notifications can be implemented and how sending and receiving them works. Last but not least, we'll give you a few tips on the content structure of a notification.

  1. What is a web app?
  2. What are push notifications?
  3. What can push notifications be used for?
  4. Why you should use push notifications for your business
  5. How can push notifications be built in?
    1. The Notifications API
    2. The Push API
    3. Sending and receiving push notifications
  6. How you should build a push notification
    1. The content of the push notification
    2. Support for creating a push notification

What is a web app?

Web app is the short form of web application. This refers to a browser-based application. This means a web app does not need to be downloaded in order to be used. It is not stored locally on a PC, smartphone or tablet, but loaded via a browser such as Google Chrome. For this reason, the web app does not need to be programmed to work on different operating systems. However, since it should be usable on all devices, the web app must be designed responsively. It should adapt to the different screen widths so that the user enjoys using it. Because the web app does not need to be downloaded or go through updates, it is always up to date. Some web apps can be used offline if all the necessary information is cached.

The function of a web app is always some interaction with the user. Depending on the application, users can edit, request and receive data through a web app.

Web apps and websites are increasingly merging together. They often no longer occur alone, but in a combination. One combination is that of a website and push notifications played out via web app.

What are push notifications?

Push notifications can be used in the form of web apps. We'll explain why this might be important for you and your business later! Now first, let's talk about push notifications: These are small messages designed to alert users to a specific interaction. They can be used without a user having to download an app. He gets the notification immediately in the browser or partially so on his end device.

They are mainly used, for example, to inform about sale promotions in online shops or about the next events. They often contain a small icon and a short text that users can click on to learn more about the message or the advertised promotion. There is also the option to directly insert a button that invites interaction.

What can push notifications be used for?

Push notifications are a good way to easily reach the visitors of your website or online store. You can use the messages to increase your sales, improve your marketing, and achieve many other goals. The best part is that you can send as many push notifications as you want. This is because this is completely free. Of course, you shouldn't overdo it either and still use this type of web app wisely. Too many notifications could annoy the user and have a negative impact on your goals.

You should use push notifications primarily to provide value to your customers and visitors to your website. They should receive additional information through the notification or be reminded of important aspects. Therefore, you should share content via notifications especially when it is tied to a specific event. For example, this could be a sale promotion due to the upcoming Black Friday.

Here's why you should use push notifications for your business

Using push notifications can help you and your business get one step closer to your goals. Depending on your defined goal, you can use notifications in a way that fits. With notifications, you have the chance to reach your users directly and get in touch with them.

Well placed notifications during and outside the use of your website can encourage interaction and make your users return to the web app. App usage increases as a result, which is actually always positive.

Plus, with out-of-app time notifications, you're naturally drawing attention to your business once again and ensuring that users won't forget about you. Statista has published an article in which they have reprocessed the evaluation of the push software provider Accengage. According to the evaluation, about 7.9% of users in the e-commerce sector respond to the notifications they receive via app on their smartphone. That may not sound like much at first. However, almost 8% of your users interact with you and your business again, who would not do so directly without notifications. So you're gaining 8% more traffic from simple push notifications.

Did you know that using web apps can also have a positive impact on your SEO strategy? Google gives you tools to see if your web app is performing well enough, loads fast enough, and has all the security features in place. If you do well in all categories, users are much more likely to linger on your website with web app. So it pays to include push notifications via web app on your website. Push notifications encourage users to interact more with your website. Likewise, they tend to stay on your site longer as a result. Google rates both aspects positively, which will then only reflect well on your search engine rankings.

How can push notifications be implemented?

Push notifications can be created using the Notification API or the Push API. Both APIs differ from each other in how they work and can only be used with certain browsers. To then be able to send and receive push notifications smoothly, another three components are required.

The Notifications API

You can use the Notifications API when users access your website or web app and use Chrome, Firefox, Windows or Safari macOS. With the use of this API, it is only possible to send push notifications as long as the browser is open with the app. Also, you have to ask users for permission beforehand to be able to send notifications. In the future, this is supposed to be changed, as Mozilla and Google are currently working on a different process, but this will make it even more cumbersome for you as a website owner or online shop owner. Presumably there will be a small bell icon, which must first be clicked by the user to be able to send notifications.

The Push API

The Push API has the great advantage that, in combination with a Service Worker API, it can also send push notifications when the web page with the web app is not open.

The service worker stands between the web page and the Internet when the web page requests data from the Internet. It then decides whether this data can be taken from the cache or needs to be loaded from the Internet. By the way, with this function the web application can also be used offline. Since the service worker runs separately from the web page with web app, it can also send push notifications when the web page is not open. You can think of this roughly as the background services of a native app.

The Push API is supported by the Chrome, Firefox, and Windows browsers. It doesn't work in Safari yet, and it doesn't look like it will at any point in the future.

Sending and receiving push notifications.

In order for push notifications to be sent without any issues, three parties are needed. One is a sender, which is usually a server that can generate the push notifications. Secondly, a so-called push notification service is required. This is the mediator of the messages and distributes them at the specified time with previously defined parameters. And last but not least, of course, the user's device is needed, which can receive the push notification.

The process can't run properly until you've set your server and web app to use the push notification service. You do this by submitting the app to the service. When a user calls your web app, the notification service is also started accordingly. The service creates an ID number that is assigned to the user and filled with personal data such as the first app invocation. Depending on what personal data can be collected about the user, it can also be used for individualized push notifications. If it then comes to the point that a notification is to be sent, the server can pass this message on to the notification service. This service will then send the message to all existing ID numbers.

There are already a number of third-party systems available for using a push notification service. These save you the effort of programming your own service, which is of course also an option. With the services from other providers, you already have many functions available that you can use for a better use of push notifications. Because often there are already tools for analysis, scheduling of the notification and selection of the target group.

Here's how you should build a push notification

In order for your push notification to be successful, you should think about what you want to achieve with the notification in advance. These questions will help you do that:

  • Who do you want to target?
  • What is the goal behind the notification?
  • What do you want to convey to the user in terms of content?
  • When is the best time for the notification?
  • Should the notification be sent more often? If so, how often?

Once you have answered the questions, you already have the framework for the push notification you want to create for your web application. You should always keep in mind that the more personalized your message is, the more likely it is to be successful. This is because it makes your users feel truly engaged. If you don't have enough information, you can also ask the users directly which notification they are interested in. For example, let them decide in a first notification which topics they are interested in. For example, if you run an online shop, you can ask them if they want to be notified about sales, discount promotions or new products.

Deciding when is the best time for your push notification might not be so easy. It's important to keep in mind that you don't want to bother or annoy your users with your notifications. So it doesn't make sense to send messages at times when your users are sleeping. It also doesn't make sense to send messages during the day, when most people are probably at work. So afternoon is probably the best time. Of course, depending on the content of the notification, afternoons may not be the best choice.

The content of the push notification

When it comes to the content of a push notification, you should really only limit yourself to the most important things. The message should come across clearly so that the user knows directly what it's about. For example, you can use keywords that make it clear what the message is about. If there is a discount promotion in your online shop, then use words like sale, save or discount code. Is there a short funny saying or a rhyme that fits your intention? Then you can use that too.

If you can, include as many personalized details as possible. That way, you'll draw attention to the push message.

Help with creating a push notification

Need help setting up push notifications via web app or still have questions about this topic? We'll be happy to help you install a suitable web app with which you can finally send notifications to your users, and we'll be happy to provide you with fully comprehensive advice on the subject of web apps. If you like, we can also develop your own web application for you. For more information we recommend our page about web development.


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from 08.11.2021

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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