11 Compelling Mobile Push Notification Types That Delight Users

  • UPDATED: 19 July 2024
  • 7 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Think back to the last time you heard your phone beep announcing contact from the outside world! Be honest: Did you succumb to the urge to check immediately?

That’s the power of mobile push notifications!

In fact, it is interesting to know more about how these push notifications work and push notification best practices you should follow.

As such, instead of fighting for attention in an overflowing inbox, you get to reach out in a channel from which people are most excited to hear via pings and beeps. Depending on your industry, push notifications can get as high of click-through rates as 45%.

But that means you’re now held to a higher standard of evoking the same delight and providing the same value as alerts from their friends, their Facebook feed, and their WhatsApp.

Here are 3 key qualities that keep users happy to receive your mobile notifications. They should be:

  • Highly personalized
  • Timely
  • Very relevant

Here’s a list of different mobile push notification types you can experiment with. Pick the ones that are most suitable for your product, content, and audience.

1. Time-sensitive notifications

This notification shares important information that may impact the plans of affected users.

The information should be relevant to the core purpose of your app. For example, if you are a traffic app, it makes sense to report road conditions and closures. It would not make sense for an expense-reporting app to send notifications about today’s weather. Same message, but different context – so it feels spammy.

What type of information is important enough to share with your users via push notifications?

If it may potentially change what your users plan to do in the next 1-5 hours:

Time-sensitive push notification example

Save other pieces of important information that do not need to be acted on right away for your email newsletters and other communication channels.

2. Highly personalized notifications

Unless your notification is about how the world is ending in 3 days, there are very few pieces of news that matter to all of our users.

Know how you binge-watch House of Cards, but your friend can’t get through the first 5 minutes of the first episode? Different people have different tastes and interests, including your users.

Through their use of your app, you should collect enough data about their preferences to tailor messages to different users. Because you do not want to end up receiving this complaint:
Tweet to Crunchyroll from a customer highlighting unwanted mobile push notifications
If your notification is a reminder for the user to do something, make sure that it is something each specific user either has to do or really wants to do.

For example, if you are a to-do list app, then only notify users of soon-to-be-due tasks that they themselves created. If you are a recommendation app, only notify users of new releases in categories they are interested in.

Save general non-personalized announcements for weekly roundup email newsletters so you don’t annoy users with non-relevant alerts. They may disable notifications. Or worse, take to Twitter to complain about you!

3. Reminder notifications

Based on data from external sources and user input, is there something important they need to do in X hours? Reminding them via push notifications actually provides valuable service to your users since humans do have fallible memories!  If you really want to earn top marks, draw additional data from internal and external sources to help users to accomplish this task easier or faster.

For example, if they have a meeting, you can draw from local traffic data to alert them when they should leave the house to be there on time:

Reminder time push notification example

4. Smart selling notifications

You should limit the number of salesy notifications you send since users will eventually get annoyed with too many requests for them to spend money. But you can frame it in a way that looks like you’re doing them a favor. This requires you to collect both user-inputted data and external data, then marry the two in order to trigger timely, highly relevant alerts like this:

smart selling push notification example from Hotel Quickly

If you’re in Thailand and it’s > 8 PM, that’s an extremely relevant notification.

To set up a highly relevant smart selling notification, your team can make a list of all the trigger events that would lead someone to purchase one of your products. Note both the event and the reason why it would trigger someone to purchase one of your products.

For example, if you sell hotel accommodations, your trigger events can include:

  • Airport closures or delays – book an extra night at [Hotel] at X% discount
  • Extreme weather conditions – stay the night at [City], link to hotel options
  • Example of Uber reminding users to request rides earlier to save money:

smart selling push notification example from Uber

5. Achievement notifications

Everybody loves to hear “job well done!” Even if it’s from their phone!

If your users perform certain tasks with your app to improve their life in some way, send them periodic updates congratulating them on their progress:

Example of an achievement push notification

This also deepens their bond with your app since they will associate these feel-good moments and accomplishments with using it.

In language and tone, make these notifications really playful, like you’re a real-life friend of the user who just heard the good news and wants to praise them for it.

6. User subscribed notifications

Sometimes, it makes more sense for users to opt-in to certain types of notifications so you know for sure they really want to receive them. When they are browsing certain pages in your app, you can trigger a popup that asks them: “Want to receive notification [when this happens]?”

Getting your users to subscribe them certain specific notifications on their own is a great way to be granted the permission to contact them more frequently to deliver what they want to hear without annoying them:

Example of a new user or subscriber push notification

You should also make it incredibly easy for users to change the frequency of certain notifications so they can increase or decrease it before they become unhappy and unsubscribe completely:

Example showing push notification user preferences

7. Something just happened for you notifications

This type of notification is sent soon as something happens, alerting users when someone else does something directly related to them. As social creatures, most of us would love to know the second someone else does something that affects us.

Example of a something just happened for you push notification from Gmail

For example:

  • Someone sent you an email
  • Someone sent you a message in one of your apps
  • Someone commented on one of your posts

Again, you should let users easily change the frequency of these notifications since not everyone may want to hear the endless pings from being way too popular!

8. Location trigger notifications

Walk by a restaurant and see on your phone: Come inside and get 20% off appetizers!

That’s how location-trigger notifications work.

They detect users’ location by GPS and push them location-specific alerts and deals from partner companies. These notifications should offer a compelling incentive for users to check something out that wasn’t part of their original plans.

Examples of a location trigger push notification

9. Limited-time sale notifications

If you are running a limited-time promotion of your products, try using a push notification announcing it. You get value because the notifications drive sales; users get value because the information is actually useful to them.

Additionally, for sellers of retail products, users who download your app tend to be big fans so you do not have to worry as much about annoying them with sales promos. They may even want to be notified as soon as you hold a sale so they can be the first to grab their coveted item before stock runs out.

Example of a limited time sale push notification from Urban Outfitters

10. Content notifications

If you produce content, there are some topics that would be worth pushing to your audience via mobile notifications. You just have to make sure you only deliver topics that are relevant to the interests of each user.

This means that before deploying these types of notifications, you should have a way to collect user content preferences based on their browsing patterns and user subscriptions to those topics.

Example of a content push notification from Wynk Music

It is better to send fewer of these notifications when in doubt than to bombard users with alerts to topics they don’t care about.

11. Update notifications

These notifications simply announce to users that you have made a major update to the app and they should either install the new version or check out a new or much-improved feature. By getting as many users as possible to upgrade versions or explore new features, you show users you are continually improving the experience for them.  Also, new features are only good if users actually know they exist!

Image showing an update push notification

Mobile Push Notification Types: Key Takeaways

The benefit of push notifications is that they have much higher engagement and click-through rates than emails and other types of promo messages since they pop up on a customer’s phone.

Of course, the more intrusive a message is, the more value it has to deliver for users to keep them wanting more. This means you should only use notifications to announce the most exciting, relevant, and timely updates. Everything else can be saved for email newsletters and other communication channels.

The most effective notifications marry user data with external and user-inputted data to send highly relevant, timely notifications.

A good rule of thumb when deciding between using push notifications and other less intrusive and immediate communication channels is, “Will this change how users act or feel in the next 24 hours?”

To better understand how you can leverage push notifications for your business, click on the button below


Want to know how brands like Bigbasket, Travelz, and Oyo Rooms use MoEngage Push Amplification to improve their push notification delivery rates? Learn more about push amplification here.


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