We understand that a few terms around push notifications can be confusing and difficult to understand. Hence, we created this glossary to help you navigate all the important push notification terminology. We’ve covered everything from the basics to more advanced terms and even included links to external resources for further learning. Whether you’re a marketer, developer, or simply looking to expand your knowledge, this glossary is your go-to guide for all things push notifications.

Android Push Notification

Android Push Notifications are messages delivered directly to a customer’s mobile device on the Android operating system. These can contain important and promotional information such as purchase confirmations, credit limit notices, flight changes, movie tickets, and more.

Apple Push Notification Service (APNS)

The Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) allows brands to set up and send push notifications to customers via apps installed on Apple devices. To enable this, you need to first register your app with APNs and retrieve the address of every device you want to reach. These device “tokens” are unique to your app and the customer’s device.

Your developers can access the Apple APNs APIs to set up your notification service, which will open up a connection between your remote server and the customer’s mobile device. Remember to encrypt any information you send over the network, and try to add specific identifiers such as the customer’s name or login name. Once you’ve forwarded your notification request with the data and the unique identifier, the APNs delivers the notification to your customer’s device.

As an example, E-commerce brands can use the APNs to send notifications to iOS devices about the beginning of a sale. A media agency can use the APNs to send notifications about a breaking news story, and a bank might use it to send notifications about security updates to their bank account.

Browser Push Notification

Browser Push Notifications let you deliver important information to your customers while they are browsing your website. This can include messages about an upcoming sale, big discounts, a reminder to complete a transaction, banking alerts, ticket price updates, new movie releases, and more.

Browser Push Notifications are a powerful way to capture customer intent right when they’re displaying interest in your website. They can be configured to be delivered at a specific moment in time, triggered due to certain actions, such as the click of a button, a move towards the exit window, closing a pop-up, or based on their actions on your website. Remember to personalize your notifications so that your customers feel special, and make sure not to bombard them with too many — otherwise they might block your website from sending them any more notifications.

If you’re setting up a Browser Push Notification, you should ensure to keep your message relevant to their customer journey and personalized to their preferences.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Clickthrough Rate (CTR) is a popular metric used by marketers to measure the efficacy of their online campaigns. This metric tells you how many customers have clicked on a button, or website, or link, in proportion to the number of customers who have viewed the campaign.

For example, with an email, CTR is measured by dividing the number of email opens by the number of clicks on the CTA or a hyperlink. Meanwhile, for a website, you can find the CTR by dividing the number of visitors by the number of clicks on a particular button or hyperlink. CTRs can also be used to measure the impact of your campaign at an overall level, across browsers, devices, geographies and segments.

CTRs let you evaluate the urgency and necessity your campaign creates. If your CTR values are low, you know that your customers don’t feel compelled to click through to convert or learn more. In that case, you should re-evaluate your campaign and see if it can be optimized in any way.

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate or CVR is one of the most important metrics for B2C marketers. Conversion Rate tells you how many customers have “converted” from your campaign in proportion to the number of customers who have seen, interacted, or clicked on it.

Here, “conversion” can mean different things for different industries (or even brands). For example, for a Retail brand, conversion can mean completing a purchase. For a BFSI brand, it can mean applying for a credit card, and for a Travel brand, it can mean booking a flight or a hotel.

This metric can also be applied for websites, online and offline ads, notification campaigns, and more. The calculation is simple: divide the number of customers who “converted” by the number of customers who have seen or interacted with your campaign, depending on your specific goals.

To calculate conversion rate, imagine that you had 10,000 visitors to your website. If 100 of these visitors made a purchase, your conversion rate would be 100/10,000, which totals up to 0.1%.

Desktop Push Notifications

Desktop Push Notifications are messages delivered to customers over their desktop or laptop devices. These can contain advertising information such as notice of a new product, an upcoming sale season, discounts, or price drop alerts.

These can also contain business information such as details about your store’s timings, your customer support team’s availability, an upcoming bank holiday, travel restrictions, a new movie, or more.

Brands can make use of Desktop Push Notifications to keep customers engaged even when they’re not on their mobile devices. At the same time, brands can also craft notifications in a way that entice customers back to their mobile phones from the desktop or laptop, such as mobile-only sales, or discounts.

Desktop Push Notifications are configured and sent differently for Android and Apple devices, so before you create your next campaign, you should evaluate the usage of your customers and figure out whether to send it over all operating systems or just a few.

Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)

Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) is a service that lets you send messages and notifications to customers over their Android, iOS, or web applications. FCM was earlier known as Google Cloud Messaging, and the cloud service is now available for free.

Learn everything about FCM in our latest blog here.

Geo-location Notifications

Geo-location Notifications are messages delivered to your customer when they’re within a specified geographical radius. This could mean promotional offers delivered as customers walk past your store, or reminders to update your app as they walk past your bank.

Google Cloud Messaging (GCM)

Google Cloud Messaging (GCM), now known as Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM), is a service that lets you deliver messages to customers across their iOS, Android, and web applications. The cloud-based service is now available for free usage.

Learn everything about GCM in our latest blog here.

Google Push Service

The Google Push Service is a service that delivers messages to customers in real-time, in the form of Push Notifications. These push notifications can be sent over iOS, Android, or web devices.

iOS Push Notification

iOS Push Notifications are messages delivered to customers via their Apple devices (which run on the iOS operating system). This can include anything from critical alerts like a transaction notification to promotional messages like a big sale, discount, or update.

Opt-in Rate

Opt-in Rate is a measure of the number of customers who actively opt in to receive your campaigns. This metric can be used to measure the need or relevance of your email, SMS, push, or WhatsApp campaigns.

This metric is particularly helpful for email marketing — since email service providers (ESPs) penalize brands for spamming customers, brands need to ensure that their email list has been created in a consensual manner. This requires asking customers to actively opt-in to receive email and other marketing communication.

Brands can also create options for customers to opt in to different channels in their portfolio separately, such as a separate opt-in for emails and SMS, a separate one for push notifications, another one for marketing emails and one for product update emails. Based on the opt-in rate, brands can then evaluate which channels to double-down on for greater impact and which ones to phase out.

Opt-out Rate

Opt-out Rate is a measure of the number of customers who actively opt out of your campaigns. This metric can be used to measure the need or relevance of your email, SMS, push, or WhatsApp campaigns.

OTP Push Notification

OTP Push Notifications are messages delivered to your customer as a Push Notification, containing a One-Time Password (OTP). OTP messages are used to verify the authenticity of a transaction and become irrelevant after one use.

Personalized Push Notification

Personalized push notifications are messages delivered to your customers on a real-time basis, containing unique information pertaining to the customer. This unique information can take many forms, such as their first name, location, date of birth, or occupation. But it can also go beyond demographics to include unique details about their purchase behavior, browsing patterns, preferred products, wishlisted items, or favorite artists.

Studies have shown that personalization is directly responsible for higher conversions, lower drop-offs, and better signups. Brands should ensure that every touchpoint in the customer’s journey is as personalized as possible. For example, if you know that a customer who likes action movies is just browsing through your movie rental app, you should suggest the latest action movie releases based on their viewing history.

At the same time, if a customer is known to make short transactions at the end of each day, you can send them a personalized nudge on the days they don’t make these transactions.

Push Alert

Push alerts are messages delivered to a customer’s mobile devices in real-time, often containing critical information such as a transaction alert or One-Time Password (OTP). Push alerts can be used by all brands to keep their customers engaged and loyal.

Push Campaigns

Push Campaigns are singular or sequential messages delivered to your customers in real-time, on their mobile devices. Push campaigns are designed and sent keeping a specific goal in mind, such as increasing signups, conversions, or reducing drop-offs.

Push Notification API

A Push Notification API (Application Process Interface) is a service that lets you send push notifications to your customer’s device from your servers. These notifications are usually delivered at a real-time basis and require the customer’s consent for sending them these push notifications.

Push Notification APIs require a developer to set up the connection and process for sending out a mobile push notification campaign. This can be a lengthy and tricky process, so if you’re a marketing team who wishes to use an easier interface for sending your push notifications, you should try a customer engagement tool such as MoEngage.

One example of a popular push notification API is the Firebase Cloud Messaging service (FCM), also known as Google Cloud Messaging (GCM). FCM lets you send push notifications to your customers across their web, Android, and iOS devices. Other Push Notification API options include Airship, Expo, OneSignal, Pusher Beams, Beamer, and Apple Push Notification Service (APNs).

Push Notification Automation

Push notification automation refers to the process of setting up and sending automated push notifications to your customers. Typically, there are two types of push notification automations that can be set up: trigger-based and time-based.

Time-based push notifications can be set up to be sent at a particular time or day. For example, if the New Year or Christmas is approaching, you can send out special holiday discounts that are sent out at 7 PM on New Year’s eve or Christmas eve.

Trigger-based push notifications are set up to be sent based on specific inputs or triggers from the customer. For example, if the customer opens or closes your app, you can set up automated campaigns. If they’re browsing through a particular high-value product, you can trigger an automated campaign to be sent that incentivizes a purchase.

You can make use of a customer engagement platform (CEP) like MoEngage to set up automated push notification campaigns. Remember to make every campaign relevant to the customer journey so as to not spam them and ensure better responses.

Push Notification Character Limit

Push notification character limit refers to the number of characters that can appear legibly on your push notification campaign without getting truncated. When marketers are mindful of push notification character limits, they can ensure to create campaigns that never get truncated. Because your notifications are not truncated, customers are more likely to read and comprehend the entirety of your notification’s content. When this happens, their interest levels will be higher and they are more likely to click through.

Push notification character limits also give you a way to ensure that your campaigns appear responsive across devices. Usually, the number of characters that can be displayed across a mobile or tablet device depends on the make and model of the device. With each device dimension, this changes, so the character limit for your campaigns should be calculated and checked keeping this aspect in mind.

The limit also changes based on whether you want to send out web push notifications or mobile push notifications, and for mobile, it changes based on iOS or Android as well.

Read our in-depth guide to get the exact character limits for different platforms.

Push Notification CTA

Push Notification CTA is the Call-to-Action button placed inside a Push Notification. These CTAs can be used to encourage customers to take a desired action immediately, such as making an instant purchase or transaction, or booking a ticket immediately.

Push Notification Delivery

Push notification delivery is a measure of the number of push notifications that are finally delivered to customers’ devices. Most brands assume that all the messages they send out end up reaching the customer, but this is often not the case. Due to restrictions on the OEM’s (Operating Equipment Manufacturer) side, push notifications are throttled at the delivery stage, so only a handful of the ones that are sent end up getting delivered to the customer.

It is estimated that 40%-70% of your push notifications go undelivered in Asia because most devices optimize for battery life, and in the process, cause a drop in delivered push notifications. Brands can combat this by partnering with advanced customer engagement technology, such as MoEngage Push Amplification.

MoEngage Push Amplification identifies undelivered push notifications on a customer’s device, and triggers a fallback mechanism to get these undelivered messages delivered successfully. This process amplifies the overall push notification delivery of your website and ensures greater ROI on your customer engagement efforts.

Push Notification Template

Push notification templates are a great way to speed up the process of creating a push notification. Instead of creating a push notification from scratch, you can make use of a pre-built template, often through a drag-and-drop builder, to make use of existing elements for your new push notification campaign.

Good customer engagement platforms provide push notification templates as a default, so you can get your campaign created within an instant. These templates also ensure that your notifications are responsive by default, which means that they won’t break across devices.

Push notification templates are usually curated for specific goals. For example, you easily find a push notification template for onboarding sequences, another one for referral campaigns, and yet another for discount announcements. These templates can also be customized for the industry, such as for E-commerce, Banking and Fintech, Media and Entertainment, or even Travel and Hospitality. You can easily select the template of your choice and get your campaign sent in an instant.

Push Notifications

Push Notifications are messages sent to your customer over their mobile devices, through your brand’s app. These messages are delivered in real-time, but can also be scheduled to be sent at a time of your convenience.

Brands with mobile apps must make good use of Push Notifications to keep their customers engaged and happy. You can tailor these notifications to be relevant to each point in the customer journey. For example, when a customer first downloads the app, you can send a push notification to encourage them to open and use the app more. You can also link an app tutorial in the notification.

Later in their journey, when they’re browsing through your products or looking to make a transaction, you can send a special discount or coupon code to speed up the purchase or transaction. If the customer doesn’t make the purchase and drops off or closes your app instead, you can use a push notification to bring them back into your app and remind them of your best value propositions.

Push Opt-in

Push Opt-In is a metric used to measure the number of customers who have opted in to receive your push notifications. This is a powerful indicator of how relevant your customers think your brand or app is, and gives you a way to ensure that you’re not spamming customers unnecessarily.

When someone opts in to your push notifications, you know that their intent level is higher than average. You can use this information to craft more engagement or conversion based content that is aligned with the stage of the customer’s journey.

Push opt-ins can also tell you if a particular segment is more likely to opt-in to your push campaigns over the others. In this case, you can double-down on push notifications for these segments and try to engage them with more bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns.

Meanwhile, if certain audience segments are more likely to opt out of your campaigns, you can make the offer to opt in more enticing, such as with a special discount for opt-ins or referral bonuses.

Real-time Push Notifications

Real-time Push Notifications are messages that are sent to your customers in real-time, on your app, via push notifications. These notifications trigger an immediate response, and often contain critical information such as reminders, ticket updates, transaction alerts, or bank notifications.

Rich Push Notifications

Rich push notifications enable you to make your push notifications more attractive by adding other media formats such as images, GIFs, audio, or video. Marketers can leverage rich push notifications to stand out amidst the barrage of notifications a customer typically receives.

For example, when a customer is about to exit your store or website, consider adding a funny image to your notification along with details about a big discount, so that they are tempted to stay and complete the purchase. Similarly, if you know that a customer is about to make a bank transaction, you can send a rich push notification with a helpful image about the details of the transaction.

In this manner, marketers can make good use of rich push notifications to engage with customers in an innovative manner, standing out from other push notifications to ensure that your brand gets the attention it deserves, leading to higher engagement and retention.

Transactional Push Notifications

Transactional Push Notifications are real-time notifications that contain critical information pertaining to the customer’s lifecycle. This can include One-Time Passwords (OTPs) to authenticate a transaction, shipping and delivery alerts, ticket booking confirmations, flight details, password reset requests, and more.

View Rate

View Rate is the number of people who have viewed your content or campaign in proportion to the size of the intended audience. View Rate can be used to measure the efficacy of ads, marketing campaigns, and videos.

For an ad or marketing campaign, view rate can be used to determine if your audience segmentation is accurate. If you’re getting a lot of views and engagement (such as clicks), you know that you’ve hit market fit. At the same time, if this number is low, you need to reevaluate your audience segmentation and the campaigns shown to each segment.

In terms of video, view rate can mean the number of people who watched your video, in proportion to the number of people who have come across it on your website, YouTube, or social media platforms. View Rate can tell you how relevant the topic of a video is, how much the content connects with the audience, and which audiences resonate with a particular topic better.

Wearable Push Notifications

Wearable push notifications are messages sent in real-time to wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, VR headsets, or smart jewellery. Wearable push notifications let you reach customers when they’re not available on their mobile or laptop devices.

Web Push Notifications

Web Push Notifications are messages delivered in real-time to customers on their web browsers. Product and marketing teams can leverage web push notifications to keep customers informed about the brand, engaged with brand activities and ensure that they convert.

Web push notifications can also be used to prevent drop-offs from a website. For example, if you notice that your customers are displaying a certain pattern of behavior that coincides with a potential drop-off, you can send those customers a notification about a special discount or upcoming big sale day.

If you run a banking or fintech brand, you can make use of web push notifications to display details about a new transaction, capture consent for credit history checks, or encourage them to sign up for a new card through a web push notification.

Before crafting your web push notification campaign, remember to understand the needs and preferences of your customer and the point they are in the customer journey. Ensure that your campaign is aligned with their needs to get higher engagement and conversions.