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Srinivas Gurram
Srinivas Gurram February 2, 2023

In the world of mobile marketing, users must be engaged in an effective yet subtle way to earn the privilege of having their app remain on a user’s phone.

Marketers must carefully consider which channels will be the most effective to maximize their efforts in engaging customers. With the emergence of new and innovative solutions, such as in-app messaging and push notifications, the decision of which channel to use is even more complex.

In-app messaging and push notifications have their style of engagement and are now the most popular and frequently used marketing options.

Contextual differences between push and in-app notifications can make one a better choice in certain situations. But both are trying to solve the same problems, engagement, and retention!

This blog will discuss everything about in-app messages and push notifications, the significant differences between them, and some best use cases.

What are In-App Messages?

In-app messages are notifications that app users receive when they open an app. They are more context-specific and target the audience based on user interactions and habits. 

In-app messages are ideal for delivering personalized messages and content based on the user’s behavior. These messages are designed to be highly targeted and are triggered based on events or actions within the app. 

It is an effective way of communicating with users while they are actively using an app. They can be used to make announcements, give updates, and provide other relevant information. In-app messages also encourage users to take specific actions within the app, such as completing a purchase, subscribing to a plan, and more.

Read: Do’s and Don’ts of In-App Messaging 

What are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are small, eye-catching pop-up messages. They can be found on the app’s lock screen or notification tray and can be used to alert users about important updates, promotions, or reminders, and can even appear when the app isn’t open. 

Push notifications are best for sending timely and relevant messages to users. They can be triggered based on a user’s location, time, or activity. It is a powerful tool for app marketers to engage and retain their users. 

They are a great choice if you want to keep your users informed of what’s happening on the app. You can grab their attention and bring them back to your app by sending push notifications. These notifications are handy for engaging users who have downloaded your app but last been active a while ago.

Push Notification

Also Read: Push Notifications Best Practices: Do’s and Dont’s

Difference Between In-App Messages and Push Notifications

Mobile applications can send in-app messages or push notifications to engage users. However, they are used to maintain an ongoing relationship with your users there are differences in their functions. Let’s explore the differences!

In-App MessagesPush Notifications
Works as a communication channel between the app and the userWorks as a communication channel between the app and the user
Displayed within the appDelivered to the device’s home screen or notification center
Works inside the appWorks outside the app
Guides users in the appBrings the inactive users back to the app
Works only when the app is openWorks any time
Targets active usersTargets disengaged, or inactive users
In-app messages cannot be necessarily disabledUsers can always turn off push notifications
Offer more customization options as they are part of the app’s designLimited customization options compared to in-app messages

The best type of notification between in-app messages and push notifications depends on the specific needs of your application and its users. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Context of the message: In-app messages are helpful when the user is already within the app and can provide additional context and information related to their everyday experience.

  • User preferences: It’s essential to consider your users’ preferences and whether they prefer in-app messages or push notifications. Some users may find push notifications disruptive and prefer in-app messages, while others may stick to push notifications for convenience.

Best Use Cases For In-App Messages

1. Seamless Onboarding

In-app messages are a powerful tool for onboarding new users to your app. They are a great way to guide users through the app, showcase key features, and provide helpful tips. In-app messages can be used to display welcome messages that provide an overview of the app’s features or to offer tutorials that walk users through the steps to complete a task. By providing a series of in-app messages that point out features and navigation options, users can be guided on the best way to interact with the app.

User Onboarding In-app Message

2. Product Updates or Feature Announcements

In-app messaging is a great way to keep active users informed about product updates or new features. By sending out a message when changes are made, your users will always be aware of the latest developments and know what to expect the next time they open your app. It helps them stay ahead of the curve and use your product more effectively. Furthermore, it can foster a sense of connection with your users, as they know they are being kept in the loop and that their opinions are valued.

Product or Feature Update In-app Message

           

Check Out: What is Feature Adoption and How to Measure It

3. Better Engagement

In-app messaging helps in boosting user engagement. It can encourage users to take specific actions or complete certain tasks within the app. For example, you can use in-app messages to remind users to complete their profile, share content with their friends, or take advantage of special offers or discounts. In addition, you can use in-app messages to reward users for completing specific tasks or reaching certain milestones. It encourages users to keep returning to the app.

Customer Engagement In-app Message

4. To Collect Feedback

Gathering user feedback is often complex, but the rewards can be great when done correctly. One of the most efficient ways of obtaining feedback is through in-app messages–these can be sent right after a user has experienced an update or a beta feature. If done correctly, this can lead to a high percentage of responses and high-quality feedback. Brands should craft their messages carefully and ensure they are not just asking for a rating score.

Customer Feedback In-app Message

Best Use Cases For Push Notifications

1. Contextual Reminders

Push notifications offer a great way to keep users engaged with your app. When used correctly, they can be an effective tool for driving user engagement. One of the most common use cases for push notifications is reminders. Notifications are great for sending reminders for appointments, tasks, deadlines, and more. These can help ensure that users don’t miss any important events or tasks. 

Contextual Reminder Push Notification
Image Source: 12MinAthlete

2. Transactional Notifications

These notifications can share order confirmations, delivery updates, or welcome messages. By sending transactional notifications through push notifications, customers can receive them in real-time, allowing them to have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips. This kind of communication will help customers feel more connected to your business and will increase their chances of returning.

Transactional Push Notification
Image Source: Diner’s Bazar

3. Abandoned Shopping Cart

Sometimes, users may get distracted due to multitasking or busy work schedules. They may need to remember that they added items to their cart and unintentionally failed to complete the purchase. To help them remember their previous purchasing intentions, a notification can be sent to remind them of what they have in their cart. This notification will allow customers to quickly return to the purchase page and complete their order, making the shopping experience more convenient and efficient.

Abandoned Shopping Cart Push Notification
Image Source: Boxed

4. App-Related Updates

Mobile push notifications are an excellent way to communicate with users and keep them updated on the latest developments on your app. Not only does this help to keep users engaged, but it also encourages them to keep using the app and reap the benefits of the latest developments. Keeping users in the loop with new features, upgrades, and service enhancements helps reinforce the idea that the app is constantly evolving and improving and also that the user experience is a priority. 

5. Geo-location Notifications

Targeting users with location-based notifications means that when a user is in a particular location, they will receive notifications tailored to that specific location. This could be anything from information about local attractions or special offers from local businesses. By providing location-specific notifications, users can benefit from receiving relevant and timely information about their current location. 

Geo-location Push Notification
Image Source: Sephora

Conclusion

Both in-app messages and push notifications serve different purposes and have benefits and limitations. In-app messages are ideal for providing context-specific information and support within the app. And on the other hand, push notifications to help reach users outside the app and deliver timely, important information.

When deciding between in-app messages and push notifications, it is crucial to consider the specific needs of your app and its users. The best approach may be to use a combination of both, depending on the type of message and the context in which it is being delivered.

The Upshot.ai Advantage

Upshot.ai is an omnichannel, user engagement, and gamification platform that helps digital product owners and marketers improve product adoption and conversions.

With Upshot.ai, banks, Insurance, and FinTech firms can enhance their digital experiences with pre-built gamification features. It can provide personalized insights, actionable recommendations, and contextual nudges designed to deepen its relationship with its users.

Book a demo of the most comprehensive user engagement and gamification platform to achieve your digital product goals. Join our communities for more insights, guides, and best practices that keep you updated with proven strategies and tips to supercharge your campaigns.

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