Rich Push Notifications: How to Increase App Engagement

Yodel Mobile
  • Date Published
  • Categories Blog
  • Reading Time 3-Minute Read

Rich push notifications were announced when iOS 10 rolled out in September 2016, but we believe they are really going to take off in 2017 with the most forward-thinking app businesses capitalising on the opportunities they bring.

Rich notifications make use of rich media (such as GIFs, pictures and videos) giving app owners the ability to deepen engagement with users through visual elements alongside text. The new card-style notification also offer interactive button functionality, which means users can interact with a notification in a whole new way out of the app, as an extension of the app.

Rich Push Notifications & Brand Marketing

Its undeniable that rich notifications offer great functionality. Users can update data directly from a push and even see a map update in real time through rich map experience. With interactive buttons, app owners can also use each push with the intention for a call to action.

This is all especially relevant for entertainment and content apps. Push notifications can give users a taste of their content using the visual elements that they’re used to, notifying users using photos or video trailers. With the use of action buttons, users can act immediately by buying a cinema ticket for example, or sharing a news article from an alert-worthy push. As usual, the push notifications will have the capability to deep-link them straight back into the app. The challenge remains for app owners to think innovatively about creating short form and visually engaging content that will encourage users to return to the app too. For these brands, rich notifications will change push strategies and there will be fierce competition.

It will also encourage the use of personalised rich push notifications. Retail brands will likely implement this to target consumers. App owners can alert users regarding limited offers and sales whilst simultaneously targeting users with images of products relating to their searches. This will all increase chances of converting users, especially by using buttons to add products to a wish list or to pop items straight into their baskets. Retailers can also display their lookbooks directly within a push, so users can deepen their insight of a brand from their locked home-screen.


Certain functionalities of rich notifications don’t work across devices. Rich push notifications that require 3D touch would only work for users with an iPhone 6s or an iPhone 7. Furthermore, rich notifications only appear incomplete on devices that have updated to iOS 10 or beyond. This means that brands need to ensure that their push notifications make sense in both contexts, which will require clever strategy.

The Future

App extensions now give access to your app’s functionality and content throughout iOS and OS X. Extensions into the widgets of the Today view of the notification centre means users can interact with your app and receive notifications there too. As some user interaction is taking place outside of the app, how will this affect your app metrics? Well, rich push notifications help to create long-term engagement, even though app open rates may decline. App owners need to consider conversion and engagement alongside in-app activity.

And as rich notifications become widespread in use, will it leave users feeling overwhelmed once they receive an influx of rich notifications from various apps fighting for attention? A strong focus on engagement through curated and personalised content will make sure users are responsive and don’t consider opting out of push.