50+ Push Notification Ideas You Can Start Using Today

Worried about sending too many push notifications? A lot of marketers are. But our data shows it’s more likely that you’re not sending enough notifications to really engage your audience and impact app retention rates. Get the stats — and more than 50 ideas for high value push notifications you can incorporate into your mobile strategy today — in this post.


When someone opts in to receive mobile push notifications they’re essentially saying, “I’m trusting you to send me good/useful/helpful stuff. If you screw it up, I’m out.”

As a brand, you’ve got to take this unwritten contract seriously. But our latest data shows that most brands are playing it too safe. As of today, you’re probably not sending enough push notifications to really engage your users and impact app retention rates.

In fact, some brands aren’t sending any push notifications at all — even after their app users gave them permission by opting in.

Think about that: an app user you want to connect with has essentially opened the door for you to come in — and you’re hanging back. How rude!  

After opting in, not only do your customers expect to get push notifications from you, they may feel dissed if they don’t. In fact, 95% of new, opt-in app users churn within the first 90 days if they don’t receive any push notifications.

More (High Value) Push Notifications = Better App Retention Rates

Our data study also revealed that apps that send one mobile push notification a day have 90-day app retention rates that are 3X higher on iOS and 10X higher on Android than apps that send none.

You can dig into all the details about optimal push notification send levels and app retention rate impact in our blog post recapping our mobile app retention rates data study — or you can download the full data study, How Push Notifications Impact Mobile App Retention Rates anytime.

But the bottom line is this: if you’re not sending regular push notifications, you’re leaving a lot of your user acquisition investment on the table.

Don’t worry though, we’re here to help.

More than 50 Push Notification Examples and Ideas To Increase Customer Engagement & Boost App Retention Rates

As you think about scaling up your push notifications, carefully consider what kinds of push notifications make the most sense for your customers and your brand. And keep push notification best practices in mind — see our top recommendations in the post 5 Things the Best Mobile Notifications Have in Common.

As you peruse this list, grab our handy push notification planning spreadsheet — an editorial calendar that will help you get a big-picture view of the push notifications you’re sending, and stay on track to send them regularly throughout the year.

(Oh, and big bonus: most of these ideas would work equally well for app push notifications and browser push notifications — or both together.)

Last thing: keep in mind that many of the notifications we’ve suggested here can and should be automated — based on in-app activities, location, or other user-level actions. Without automation, scaling up is more time consuming and difficult than it should be. We can help; learn about our automation solutions.

Without further ado, here are a whole lot of push notification examples and ideas for high value push notifications that can help deepen your connection with your app users.

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Want all of these ideas and examples - plus a bonus section with even more ideas! - in one handy PDF? Download our eBook 14 Types of Push Notifications You Should Almost Certainly Be Sending

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Customer Lifecycle Push Notifications

From onboarding to setting preferences to ongoing retention, create a plan for push notifications that will get your users up and running — and coming back.

  • Welcome new opted-in users; underscore the value prop of having opted in

  • Accelerate completion of targeted onboarding steps with notifications prompting users to: Add preferences, complete their profile, and use all of the features of the app: Did you know you can: [feature that will improve their experience]

  • Re-engage inactive or lapsed users with interest-based notifications triggered by inactivity duration: We think you’d love…[this deal, this product, this artist, etc.]  

  • Periodically request information updates to make sure you’ve got accurate data: Update your...[password, credit card, profile info]

  • Say thank you (and provide another offer): Thank you for…[purchasing, sharing, rating] — here’s...[20% off your next order, a coupon, etc.]

Rating, Survey or Referral Request Push Notifications

Ratings provide critical feedback loops you can use to improve your customer experience, while referral requests help you grow your user base. Push notifications are a fantastic way to help enable both. Referrals and ratings are a great way to leverage interactive buttons (available out of the box with Urban Airship - no development required).

  • Ask for a rating or a survey completion related to an activity or purchase your app enabled: How was…[your experience, the product, the show, etc.]

  • Ask for a rating for your app (we recommend a “soft ask” first — learn more best practices for getting the opt-in here)

  • For those who provide a positive rating, send a notification asking them to refer your app to a friend

  • For any ratings or referral requests, consider using interactive buttons: Want to [rate the app, share with a friend] now? [Yes/Maybe Later]

Loyalty & Rewards Push Notifications

Loyalty or rewards programs notifications can be automated and sent via API, drawing on user-level CRM data. Loyalty program-related push notifications can also be sent through mobile wallet loyalty card passes.

  • Welcome new loyalty program members

  • Loyalty program lifecycle messaging like:

    - Close to meeting new loyalty status
    - New loyalty status achieved
    - Loyalty points earned
    - Loyalty points used
    - Points or rewards nearing expiration

Purchase & Product Push Notifications

Like loyalty messaging, transactional messages are often sent via API and draw on user behavior, triggered automation, and CRM data.While these examples are probably familiar to retail and ecom brands, consider how you could adapt the concept for your app.

  • Order confirmation & tracking information

  • Order status updates: Your order is…[confirmed/ready/shipped]

  • Providing a digital receipt

  • Re-order reminders for subscription-based products or purchases

  • Abandoned cart / incomplete action or transaction (see a how-to on preventing shopping cart abandonment here)

  • Incomplete pre-purchase registration

  • Apologies: We’re sorry [we ran out of product, your flight was delayed, the app crashed, etc.] Here's a [offer, discount, etc.]

  • Another chance to purchase an item: A favorite or starred…[item is on sale, back in stock, etc.]

  • Flag potential security issues: Was this you? [Irregular activity, login from different computer]

Contests & Giveaways

Contests and giveaways offer a great way to engage (or re-engage) your mobile app users — and send push notifications they’ll value.

  • Kickoff notification: Enter to win!— our giveaway starts today.

  • Entry confirmation: Thanks for entering - good luck!

  • Share contest with a friend: Want to tell a friend?

  • Entry reminders: Have you entered yet? Only [2 weeks, 1 week, 1 day] left!

  • Winner announcement: Who won our contest? Find out…

  • Follow up offer for contest entrants - Everyone’s a winner - here’s a [offer] on us. Thanks again for playing!

Live Events or Webinars

With in-the-moment messaging, you can drive your audience to in-the-moment events like live Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat feeds.

  • Getting ready to go live: We’ll be going live in [XX] minutes - join us!

  • Going live: We’re going live right now: Tune in!

  • Thanks for joining the live event; provide date & registration link for the next one

  • Ratings request for an event or webinar: Did you get what you wanted from our webinar? Let us know! 

  • Survey request: What would you like to see at our next event? Let us know!

Social Media Activity

Staying connected with friends — and knowing what’s happening on social media networks,  can be a great prompt for engagement.

  • You’ve been mentioned: Your contact [XX] mentioned you in a…[photo, comment, etc.]

  • Contact activities: Your contact just [updated their profile, posted for the first time in a while, favorited something, made a recommendation, created an event, etc.]

Once a Day/Week/Month Push Notifications

Having a regular, high-value touchpoint is a great way to increase push notification frequency without overdoing it. It’s also a great way to get more mileage and leverage from other marketing activities.

  • Weekly or Monthly “Pick” — highlight a product or service on a certain day of the week or the month. (For more personalization, set up tagging and send deals based on user preferences)

  • Newsletter — send a notification to look for a regular newsletter coming to their email or in-app message center (or both).

  • Pro Tips / How To Series — encourage deeper app use with a tutorial on using different parts your app or your product/service.

Target App Users Likely to Churn

If your users haven't engaged with your app for a while they may be getting ready to leave for good. Push notifications are one tool to help re-engage them. With our Predictive Churn solution, you can see which users are at risk for churn, then send push notifications to groups at different risk levels with targeted messages. For example:

  • Low churn risk: We’ve missed you! Check out our latest [feature, product, offer, etc.]

  • Medium churn risk: We’ve missed you! Here’s…[an incentive for coming back — 10% off coupon or similar]

  • High churn risk: We’ve missed you! Here’s…[a strong incentive for coming back — free one on us or similar]

Location-Based Notifications

For some brands, location-based push notifications can work wonders.  Consider these ideas:

  • When a customer is within a certain distance of your physical location, send a notification: While you’re nearby, don’t forget your…[coupon, unused loyalty points, etc.]

  • If you have last-minute deals or tickets, alert app users who are close enough to take action

  • If a customer is coming in to pick up an item in your store, send a push: Here to pick up your [name of item]? Head straight to the [location]; we’re ready to help!

  • When a customer is in a certain place within your location, send context-specific notifications to educate, entertain or drive sales: Checking out [shoes, kids clothes, suitcases]? Here’s our latest coupon for that! or Flash sale on concert merchandise for everyone in [section A, aisle 15, etc.] go check it out!

  • A service or product you ordered has arrived — or is close to arriving: Your [driver, repair technician, lunch] is just [distance or time] away!

  • Provide wayfinding at a venue: The quickest exit after the concert is through Door B.

Reminders & Status Updates

Keep your users up to date on the status of things they care about: 

  • Reminders: Don't forget: This Friday is the last day to register for [classes, webinar, training, etc.] 
  • Support Ticket, Maintenance Request or Help Desk Status/Progress: Your ticket has been created; we'll be in touch soon!
  • Action required or requested: From turn-based game notifications: It's your move! to conversation replies: Your contact is waiting to hear back from you push notifications are fantastic for nudging users to take in-the-moment action.

Coupons, Discounts, Promotions & Offers

Get creative (and personalized) with the kinds of promotional push notifications you send. Use the data you’ve got, current events or other current events to keep it contextual.  

Opportunistic

  • Seasonal/weather/calendar-driven offers: Spring is set to spring: do you have what you need to [stay dry, plant your garden, get out of town for Spring Break, etc.]

  • Social/opportunistic: anything that ties message to the real world: We’re so into the [World Series/hottest tv show/trending hashtag/etc.] we’re celebrating with a special offer for you.

Data in Your CRM

  • Birthday, anniversary, or other milestone offer

  • Channel specific offer (mobile only, buy online, pickup in store)

  • Curated recommendations based on user preferences

Time Bound/Seasonal

  • End of a season or end of a sale: Last chance! End-of-winter deals are yours until midnight.

  • Rare, or limited edition items/experiences are available again: [Pumpkin spice lattes are back!]

  • Seasonal reminders that make sense based on your app’s value proposition. Could include:

    • Daylight Savings time

    • Tax season: Have you filed? or You’ve got your refund, we’ve got deals.

    • Holidays — from “little” ones like National Donut Day to “big ones” like Thanksgiving

Adding Push Notifications as a Channel to Marketing Campaigns

Don’t forget push notifications as a channel when you’re putting together broader marketing campaigns. When eHarmony added push notifications to their marketing mix for a Valentine’s Day campaign, they saw a massive uptick in engagement and membership activations from the notifications. Take advantage of the fact that push notifications are generally going to be seen by your most loyal customers; if there’s a perk you can offer them, in exchange for taking action, that’s a great group to incentivize.

  • Exclusive sneak preview: Let app users get a first look at a new marketing campaign, product launch, etc.

  • Combine push notifications with in-app messages, email, videos and more. (You can send a video clip directly through push with a rich notification.)

  • Announce a new product launch, update or feature via email; follow up with push notifications to the segment of your mobile users who are the best audience for it.

  • Combine web push notifications and app push notifications whenever it makes sense to do so to get in front web visitors, many of whom probably don't have your app

We hope that some of these ideas will help you scale up your push notification frequency with notifications that are authentic to your brand, valuable to your users — and help you drive up your app retention rates and your app’s growth and revenue!

What have we missed? Leave a comment here with the push notifications that perform best for you!


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Download our benchmark report How Push Notifications Impact Mobile App Retention Rates today to:
- Get industry-specific data on push notification send frequency
- Build a smarter push notification strategy
- Maximize your user acquisition spend & push notification ROI

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