Types of notifications and their role in mobile apps

6 min read

In this article, we will look closely to 2 types of notifications that are used in mobile applications: In-app notifications and push-notifications.

In-App Notifications

In-app notifications are shown to users when the app is open. These can look like pop-ups or colorful interstitial ads – in any case, they are used for targeted or context-sensitive notifications.

In-app notifications are used quite often, however, not often to their full potential. As a rule, these messages are used as a tool to return the user to the main product. Email, push and in-app notifications - almost all forms of communication have the same purpose.

And you can ask a reasonable question: "Why do developers nerd in-app notifications? Why send something when the recipient of the message is already using your product?”

However, in-app notification is not a tool to re-engage users in a mobile app. In general, there are three purposes for sending in-app notifications:

  1. Inform

  2. Promotion

  3. Monetization.

Informing in-App notifications. Tips and updates


The interfaces of mobile applications, unfortunately for designers, are not rubber and they can not be overloaded with information.

The purpose of such notifications is to inform users about the operation of the application or about new features of the application after the update.

Such tips can be both at the start, and hidden in the appropriate section


Each developer fills in the "What's new" field in the developer console before publishing a new version of the mobile application, which in turn is visible in the AppStore or Google Play. However, most of people ignore this reading matter, or an update can be installed automatically.

So how would you tell the user that there is a useful feature that must be used?

With an in-app message, right.

Rewards with In-App notifications

In order to form the habit of the user to visit the app periodically, in-app is the perfect tool.

Especially mobile game developers know that reward is as important as challenge. Players do much better when the reward comes at the end of the event, and as a result – it increases the time spent in the application.

Important note: unlike other messaging channels, in-apps are part of your app, which means you can visually create any content. And what can enhance the emotions of the user, if not mischievous animation, bright colors and (carefully) sounds?

Monetization. Converting users to customers

If the application has a high rate of DAU (daily active users) - it's good, and even very good. However, it does not directly generate revenue. You need to monetize your app.

And you know, sometimes it's not easy to turn loyal app users into customers. Many people need additional conversion tools, such as push notifications.

Such messages go well with Direct Link: to achieve maximum results, users should be directed to targeted promotional pages.

Push notifications

Push notification is a message that is sent directly to the mobile device and is always delivered, regardless of whether the user is now using the application or the screen is blocked: push will be delivered and shown to the user in real time. Notifications allow the user to keep track of everything from app alerts to information about the weather.

Push notifications in iOS

In iOS, Push notifications go to notification Center – this notification area appears when you swipe from top to bottom on any screen, including the lock screen.

On iPhone 6s or later, you can use 3D Touch to respond to a notification in notification center by forcefully tapping the notification to respond.

By default, all push notifications are displayed on the lock screen – and this is the most popular place to start a user's interaction with a message: when you turn on the screen instantly to know the time, all notifications are immediately visible.

Starting with iOS 10, you can interact with Push notifications on the lock screen, as well as in the notification Center: reply to messages, delete emails, etc.

Push notifications for Android

In Android, the user is expected to interact directly with push notifications: until one opens it or swipes it the notification will remain in the status bar, each time reminding about itself with a small icon.

In the latest versions of Android, starting with 7.0 Nougat, users have the opportunity to interact with messages in status bar: respond to emails or write directly to the chat, call and put a review.

Unique advantage of Push notifications

With push-notifications, the application can interact and communicate with the user. With the right strategy, push-notifications will become the main driver of conversion and loyalty growth. Below we will analyze in more detail.

Drive user engagement in the mobile app

According to HOUSE of APPS research, 95% of users do not use the installed app after 7 days. However, low involvement does not mean that the user does not like the application. Those who do not find value in the app will not necessarily use it, perhaps the app is not their priority in daily use and therefore there is simply no habit to open it from time to time.

Push notifications can fix this – you need to implement the technology in your and start reminding about yourself outside the app. With careful and proper use, there are no risks to loyalty reduction or deletion; on the contrary, users appreciate applications that have such an operational communication channel through which important information comes: reminders, messages, information about transactions, etc.

Increase user retention in the mobile app

The average cost of attracting a new user is from $1.5 to $3, and, unfortunately, this does not mean that the user will open the application more than 1 time. What makes a user stay active in your mobile app?

According to HOUSE of APPS research, personalized notifications increase user engagement in the app by more than 350%.

Increase mobile app revenue

Push notifications directly affect the profit of the mobile application: thanks to them, a significant increase in user retention is possible, and, consequently, the income from each user.

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