Push Notifications
9 min

21 Brilliant Push Notification Ideas You Can Use in 2021


Through the medium of Push Notifications, MoEngage was successful in delivering: 16% increase in in-app purchases for Big Basket, 120% uplift in Gaana+ premium membership, 25% increase in user retention for Nostragamus, and the list goes on!

These numbers pack quite a punch in favor of push notifications and their ability to induce favorable results throughout the customer lifecycle. It can be one of the most versatile attention-grabbing forms of communication, having immense scope for personalization and brand voice incorporation. Most importantly, it bridges the customer-brand communication divide while improving the user experience.

Here are a few push notification ideas that you can implement in 2021 to win over your customers:

1. Incorporate a Little Humor

In case you have missed the memo, funny and creative push notifications are “in.” 

Push notifications funny

Businesses are no longer wooing their audiences with a plain, old, and boring message that gets lost in the digital noise. In its place, marketers are attracting and retaining user engagement through humor. It allows them to forge stronger bonds based on human emotions, which will keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. Most importantly, push notification ideas that receivers genuinely enjoy will make them look forward to hearing from you!

2. Introduce Gamification

Push notifications Introduce-Gamification


Gamification stokes the flames of emotions like competitiveness, winning, curiosity, and learning. It is an effective way to keep the app users hooked and coming back for more. You can introduce gamification by counting the app usage in the form of streaks, displaying a leaderboard, indicating a stage, updating a status bar indicating percentage completion, and more. You can then offer rewards for touching milestones to maintain user engagement.

Apps like Duolingo or Candy Crush are possibly the best examples for leveraging gamification to maximize app retention.

3. Send Location-Specific Messages

location specific push messages

Location-based push notifications offer actionable information based on your geographical location. Your marketing campaign could include geotargeting (targeting a specific geographical location), geofencing (establishing a virtual geographic boundary), and geoframing (granular geofencing) to trigger push notifications in real-time. These messages could be directions to the closest physical or pop-up store, weather forecast, traffic update, promos, or even ongoing or live events. 

4. Cut Right to the Chase

push messages Cut-Right-to-the-Chase


Sometimes, beating about the bush only dilutes the efficacy of a push notification. So whether you are a no-nonsense brand or tired of sending similar messages to no avail, one of the best push notification ideas is to get straight to the point. Of course, it is best to pair such push notifications with interactive or call-to-action buttons. As a result, offering instant value without sugarcoating the facts could tip the scales in your favor and help you achieve the desired results.

5. Notify About Updates

push notifications notify about updates

Informing users regarding any app-related changes can be helpful in two ways – it allows them to extract maximum benefit from the app, and it ensures that they are in control of their app data. App users can particularly draw from these notifications during the initial days when they are just beginning to use the app. You could guide them in the next course of action, put a feature in the spotlight, or simply encourage them to use the app. Additionally, whether you are notifying them of a new addition to the catalog, or informing them of a new feature, or sharing an updated user policy, keeping the user in the loop empowers them. 

6. Use Emojis

Use-Emojis in push notifications


According to a Hubspot study, push notifications containing emojis registered an increase of 85% and 9% in open rate and conversion rates, respectively. It is one of the quickest ways to personalize the message without having to put too much effort into copywriting. As such, it can be an excellent substitute for words when you are running out of push message ideas. Think of it as a seasoning to spice up an existing punchline and make it more fun.

Don’t know where to get started? We have an elaborate guide for using emojis in push notifications. Check it out now.

7. Send Contextual Notifications

Contextual-Push Notifications

Contextual push notifications are the low-hanging fruit that almost every business can exploit. Using these personalized push messages, you can essentially send the standard message but in brand new packaging. Based on user attributes, you could link the message content with the product or service or even customer behavior to make it contextually appropriate. The change may not seem like a lot, but the one who receives such notifications may be impressed by the way you think outside the box.

8. Drive Their Curiosity

push message ideas Drive-Their-Curiosity

The classic drip-feeding of information can pique the receiver’s curiosity as they will now be tempted to click on the push notification. Ideally, such push messages contain a crisp yet sensational title that begs to be clicked. However, avoid using anything that is clickbait-y as it does not fit into the push notification best practices and can only work once or twice until you become the boy who cried wolf.

Extra brownie points to you if you can milk creative push notifications to drive their curiosity. (Think “guess the song using emojis”!)

9. Weave a Narrative

Narrative based push notifications

The secret to a successful marketing campaign lies in your ability to spin a yarn. Even if you are saying the exact same material as what ten other apps are telling the receiver, it is how you convey the message that makes a difference. Unputdownable stories boost user engagement and nudge the receiver to tap on the app or web push notifications to reveal more information. For the success of this strategy, you will need some excellent copywriters in your team who can sell even the most mundane stories as click-worthy breaking news.

10. Remind Users to Complete an Action

push notifications actions

Do you want a new user to link their social media account or complete their profile? Or have they abandoned the cart after almost making it to the checkout page? A friendly reminder never hurts anyone. In such a situation, it would be best to go one step further and include a call-to-action button that redirects them to the target page on the mobile app so that they can complete the desired action. It may not seem like a lot, but this reminder could be the fine line between someone abandoning the task entirely or carrying it out until fruition.

11. Invoke Flattery

Push ideas - Invoke-Flattery

Let’s face the truth; everyone loves being buttered up. Think, what happens when you receive notifications that manage to leave behind a lingering smile on your face? You tend to recall the message and the brand better! Don’t forget, marketing is all about outdoing your competition and making your customers feel special, and if you have to bring flattery in the mix, then so be it. 

Flattery, in this case, does not necessarily mean merely complimenting them. You could also shower them with your attention through promos, offers, discounts, and limited-time deals. The fact that you have valuable customer data can help you curate special offers specific to the account! 

12. Tap Into the FOMO

FOMO based push notifications

While FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a buzzword in the industry, it is a stark reality for many users. And for this reason, several push notifications ideas position FOMO as a reliable instigator of action. It allows marketers to foster a sense of urgency that will push the audiences to take action immediately. It can be the recipe for a successful re-engagement marketing campaign that gradually lost steam.

13. Make Use of Puns

push examples - Make-Use-of-Puns

When looking for app push notifications ideas, you can hardly go wrong with puns. These clever and witty one-liners could be the key to improved app retention along with higher user engagement rates. Of course, the success of such an initiative primarily depends on your brand voice and your target audience. Regardless, throwing in an occasional pun and here and there will only earn you appreciative nods.

14. Create an Event-Specific Hype

Push notifications Create-an-Event-Specific-Hype

Topical or calendar events that are often the talk of the town can set an excellent premise for sending out push messages to your app users. It shows that your brand is “woke” and knows what is happening in the world around you. However, inserting your brand in a seemingly unrelated event will require every ounce of creativity you can muster without such a gimmick backfiring. And as always, the timing really matters a lot here, so you cannot afford to mess it up. In this case, it is always best to use an automated push notification system to ensure timely delivery.

15. Write Something Cheeky

cheeky push notifications 

As brands start adopting a more conversational and human tone, traits like sarcasm, audacity, and eccentricity gain more value. And even though some messages toe the fine line between crassness and humor, they reinforce the fact that the recipient is interacting with another human rather than a business. Some brands even play around with profane push notifications ideas as they can offer that “shock-value” that delivers the much-awaited response – a click from the user.

16. Ask a Question

Question based push notifications

Sometimes, a simple question can set a string of events in motion. So how about asking questions to set a dialogue?

Here, the question could be about a recent purchase or in-app experience or simply checking in on customer wellbeing. Eventually, you should try and frame the question to be as open-ended as possible so that it elicits a response from the receiver.

17. Make Personalized Recommendations

Personalized push notifications

Everyone appreciates product or service suggestions. And personalizing these recommendations according to the user’s preferences is no less than a cherry on top!

With eCommerce, personalized recommendations unlock opportunities for cross-selling and upselling related products. With content-based mobile apps (think news or streaming services), these recommendations will guide the user towards similar or related content. You could take a completely fresh approach and recommend something that is diametrically opposite from what the user prefers as it encourages them to try out new stuff and get more value from your app.

18. Promote a Limited-Time Deal

promotion based push notifications

You can send push notifications to intimate your users regarding any flash sales, special offers, discounts, and limited-time deals that are ongoing. These push messages can be highly effective in capturing user interests, especially during the holiday season or live events. Apart from offering discounts, you can use it to announce any upcoming sales and events scheduled to play out at a later date.

19. Use Rich Media

The use of rich media in push notifications has been a game-changer, to say the least. The interactive GIFs, videos, photos, and audio clips, when paired with custom call-to-action buttons, can consolidate your standing as someone who takes creative push notifications seriously. Plus, you can forgo the pains of personalizing the copy or making it witty as the media content will primarily grab all the attention (but that does not mean that you stop putting in the effort!)

20. Collect Feedback

Feedback based push notifications

Customers want to be heard, and what can be a better way of giving them a platform than asking them directly for their opinion? Requesting the user to share their customer experience, whether for the app as a whole or for a particular product or service, can be an excellent way to put push notifications to good use. Review management through push notificationsIt also makes them feel involved and can serve as a source for constructive criticism.

21. Try Negging

Negging based push messages

Negging can be a double-edged sword, with the results going either way. However, given the success of witty, pun-laden, and insolent messages in the current age, negging could “challenge” the user to behave a certain way that you want. So unleash your snarky, sassy, and saucy best to test the waters!

Final Thoughts

The above push notifications ideas can be an excellent jumping-off point if you wish to test the waters and gain traction amongst your subscribers. Don’t forget to keep push notification best practices in mind before trying out any drastic lest you start losing users or noticing higher app uninstallation. When done right, you are bound to deliver impressive results by incorporating push notifications within your marketing campaigns.

At MoEngage, we have an array of push notification templates to meet your varying requirements. Most importantly, you can customize them to meet your brand requirements and start using them right off the bat. So what are you waiting for? Get pushing on push notifications now!

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