What are Browser Push Notifications?


We all use or have seen notifications come across our screen. Some are useful, some are ads, but these are Push Notifications. We have compiled this article on the use and history of Push Notifications. Maybe you could use these for your business, software, or marketing platforms.

What are browser push notifications?

[1]If you’ve subscribed to a brand’s web push notifications, then you’re no stranger to the messages that periodically pop up at the top right of your desktop screen.

Web push notifications (also known as browser push notifications) are actionable messages sent to a visitor’s device from a website via a browser. These messages are contextual, timely, personalized, and best used to engage, re-engage, and retain website visitors.

Unlike website overlays or forms, browser push notifications don’t ask you for personal information like your name or email address.

Browser push notifications can help marketers and eCommerce managers keep their web push opt-in subscribers engaged and extend the reach and effectiveness of their other marketing efforts.

Web push notifications are now part of a modern marketing strategy and complement traditional communication channels such as email and SMS, often outperforming them.

What Are The Advantages of Using Web Push Notifications?

Let’s look at some of the advantages of adding web push notifications to your marketing mix.

  • Send messages even when users aren’t active.

Let’s say a user is on your website and navigates to their favourite social media site. Guess what? They don’t have to be on your website to receive a web push notification from your brand— pretty sweet, huh? All they need is an Internet connection.

  • Easy opt-in experience

Unlike other marketing channels, web push notifications offer users a seamless opt-in experience ―they select `Allow.’ Users don’t have to worry about sharing their data, like their name, email, or phone number, and marketers can rest assured knowing web push is GDPR compliant.

  • Swift delivery

Web push notifications reach a user instantly, without any transmission delays. All messages are sent and received in real-time.

  • Increased engagement

Since push notifications are sent in real-time, they get higher engagement rates than other marketing channels. In addition, by offering discounts, targeted web push notifications help companies increase the number of users returning to their websites.

  • Higher conversion rates

Personalizing messages and targeting a segmented audience offers users a great experience and can boost conversion rates. Web push notifications appear on a user’s desktop or mobile screen any time they have their browser open —even if the user isn’t on your brand’s website.

[2]History of web push notification

Chrome first introduced web Push notifications in early 2015 in its 42 version. The version included “two new APIs that together allowed sites to push native notifications to their users even after the page is closed—provided the user has granted explicit permission.”

The update allowed websites to send notifications just like apps could. It was allegedly the most critical mobile feature that was missing from the web and thus, upon release, witnessed a tremendous adoption by web publishers.

2003- Blackberry OS launched push email. This saved executives and business classes from constantly checking their email. Almost everyone believes that this is what fueled Blackberry’s success.

June 2009- Apple launched APN (Apple push notification). The first push notification service ever.

May 2010- Google launched Android Cloud-to-device messaging (C2DM). The first notification service by Google, introduced in Android 2.2.

June 2012- GCM replaced C2DM to overcome the limitations that C2DM had. This is important because GCM facilitates the current delivery of push notifications. It has been added with additional features in its new version as FCM.

April 2015- Chrome launched Chrome 42 with native web push notification support.

Jan 2015- Firefox extended support to web push with the launch of their version 44. This was not applicable on the mobile site.

Aug 2016- Firefox extended support to web push even on mobile devices.

Feb 2017- Chrome introduced rich web push notifications with Chrome 56

How do web push notifications work?

Step 1: Push service providers, say WebEngage, essentially provide you with an application server. This server sends the push message payload to the user’s device via FCM.

Step 2: FCM is the notification service by Google which lets you deliver messages to the user’s device (both desktop and mobile). Google doesn’t charge you anything to use this service because, well, as we all know, Google is very generous.

Step 3: Now, FCM doesn’t directly flash the message on the user’s device. It is first sent to the service worker. The service worker processes this information and displays notifications to the user. (Service worker is a script that runs in the browser’s background and does many things. Visit this Google tutorial to learn more about them)

[3]Why use Web Push Notifications?

Marketers use web push notifications to build, engage, and retain their audience. Businesses across categories rely on web push notifications as a solution to develop and engage their audience. For example, media publishers now heavily use web push notifications as a communication channel to engage their audience. The primary reason for this adoption is the plummeting performance of email, SMS, and display ads.

Like native app notifications, web push notifications are meant to facilitate a timely flow of information. To subscribe or opt-in to these notifications, users are not expected to download and install an application. Instead, users can subscribe to these notifications by clicking on the Allow button on the permission prompt.

For the last few years, the adoption of web push notification has shot through. And rightfully so. As a last-mile communication, web push notifications enjoy disproportionate visibility. That’s means CTRs between 5% – 15% – extremely effective and powerful.

Editors, digital marketers, SEOs, retargeting experts – all of them love using web push notifications to drive their marketing flywheel. In effect, there are three ways to use web push notifications across your marketing funnel.


Like them or not, push notifications impact our lives daily. See how they can positively impact your marketing campaigns.

Article compiled by hughesagency.ca

Article reference links:

  1. https://useinsider.com/what-is-web-push-notification/
  2. https://webengage.com/blog/web-push-notification-guide/
  3. https://www.izooto.com/web-push-notifications-explained