📱 How Push Notifications Work on Mobile Apps

📱 How Push Notifications Work on Mobile Apps

Hi this is a minute of overpass, my name
is Eric and I make apps! Now today, let’s talk about push
notifications! Okay so today I want to talk about push
notifications and yes, I brought back the green screen, I know some of you hate the
green screen! Rodrigo, you always say you hate the green screen. Yeah, I’m bringing
it back just for today. So today I want to talk about push notifications. Now
push notifications are a way that if you have users who have installed your app
and haven’t used it in a long time, as a way to reach out to them. It’s also a way
to just send notifications to people, whether or not
they have your app open or not. And in terms of clients, we have a lot of
clients that use it for alarms and stuff to notify their staff
of certain things. And it’s the kind of thing which we have not used in our own
apps, but we’ve used it for a lot of client apps. So, if there’s something
about push notifications, if you’re trying to sell an app to a client, they just love that idea. They love that the push notifications kind of
pushes it over the edge. They can either reach out to their customers
whether or not they have the app open, or they can use it for an alarm
system and stuff like that. So now the way that push notifications work is, when you set them up you basically, like for Apple, you would set up your
iPhone app, you have to give it push notification entitlement and you also
have to set up a certificate, and you have to do the same thing with Google
Cloud messenger or GCM network. So you have the the GCM or the APNs, Apple push
notification service. So let’s say you open up your application and if it’s
registered with those, it will automatically go to those services and
register and then the user will be asked, “do you want ear spy to be able to
send messages”, and you say “yes” or “no” and it gets a token back from them. Now, for a
lot of the apps that we’ve done, at that point we have to hold on to that
notification because that on its own doesn’t really help anybody. You
need to be able to have a way to push those messages to them, and a lot of times that
means you have your own server. So to let you know the flow of some of the
applications that we’ve done for in the past, it would be like, you know, they open up
the app, the user opens up the application, it goes to
either APNS or the GCM networks, and windows has their own too but I’d never
actually use that, just so you know. So it goes to those, it
gets that token and it comes back with that token, and then you could take that
token and wait until they login or register, and once they do that, at that
point you can associate that user with that push notification. Or,
if you don’t care who the user is and you just broadcast everything to everybody,
or based on location or whatever you could do it before asking their details.
So at that point, you can take that token along with the login details and put
that to your server. And then at that point you can have your server send the
notifications to the APNS or the GCM and then that handles sending it
to the user. So it’s kind of this flow, the way that it goes. And it gets a
bit complicated. Now, I’ve learned this firsthand, especially in the
beginning when we started doing this, it’s really difficult because you have to
think about, so if you have a cross-platform app like, say it’s
available to users on Android and on iPhone, you have to think about
which phone are they actually using. So we were, like in the beginning
just to give you an example, every time the user would log in we
would take that last push notification thing and we would overwrite a
single field in the database, and we have to say if it was Android or
iPhone. So for people who had a tablet and a phone, if they registered
with their phone first and then their tablet, the phone would no longer get the
push notification. So we have to start associating multiple devices
with that user. Now, there’s lots of services, I mean there’s lots of
services out there that take care of it for you. There’s firebase,
firebase does this for you. There’s some called ‘air push’. Amazon has one called
SNS – Simple Notification Service which they take all that complexity away for
you, managing who belongs to what.
Microsoft Azure has one called Notification Hub. You know, a lot of these
things that we’ve used, and they seem like a bit of overkill because you don’t
really need them and a lot of times they’ll charge, but it’s usually really
low. I think the Amazon one charges 50 cents per million messages,
so it’s not that that big a deal, and it does make the
development process much easier. So it gives you a lot more flexibility
and a lot of times though, if you’re dealing with client applications
they have to assume that cost going forward, depending on
your payment model and stuff like that. But it does make it
easier, so that way you can have multiple devices. Now, there’s lots of ways that
you can use this. You use it with chat applications, so let’s say I’m on the
phone and I want to send a chat to my friend who also has the app
installed, I could select him, send the push notifications, that would go to the
server, the server would see my friend and that would
look up the friends token ID, look up that, send the message to the Apple push
notifications or the GCM, and that would send it back to his phone. So it really
works, and in terms of marketing I have to admit I haven’t actually used it, and
I would like to know how. If you guys have used push notifications in terms of
marketing, because theoretically I have thought about doing it so we could we
use analytics to track how often the app is being used, and we could
say: For each user who has it installed but has not used
the app in like the last month, maybe we can send them a push notification just
to say something relevant. You know, I don’t want to just say “hey, you
haven’t used it in a while” just say something like “hey, don’t forget”… you have
to tread softly. If you get too many push notifications,you’ll get
uninstalled, that’s the danger of it. And we’ve all had apps
where we’ve installed it and they just pester us with these push notifications,
so that’s the dangerous side. And also, it has to be relevant. So if I put
it in ear spy for example, and they open up ear spy and it says ‘ear spy would like to
send you notifications’, I can’t see why anybody would allow that. It doesn’t fit
in with the model of the app. But anyway, push notifications especially for
clients, especially for the way forward, are probably one of the most exciting things
about app development. Because in the past we’ve done things with SMS
notifications and SMS cost like, depending on the service you go through,
it could cost three to five pence or three to five
cents per notification. So those are the kind of things you want to
use sparingly. We had one where we wanted to be able to send
notifications to the contacts friends, so they could go and download the app,
then we could handle push notifications. That was a situation where we would go
through the SMS route, I think we use Twilio if I’m not mistaken,
and then we use Urban Airship for push notifications on that one. But
anyway it’s a really interesting field, I’d like to know how you guys have
used push notifications?Please leave comments! If you use them for
marketing, has it helped you? Have you had a situation where you’ve had push
notifications which just did not work out well? And that’s it for this week, I’ll talk to you guys tomorrow!

Danny Hutson

22 thoughts on “📱 How Push Notifications Work on Mobile Apps

  1. Great Video Overpass. Informative.
    Do check out my game – Swift Blocks

  2. Eric just used firebase thanks for covering all the details. For client apps i guess you are focused on sales and the team builds them. Every app has to be unique in some way so that increases costs. So building a passive income is a great strategy.

  3. @Eric you have not used push notifs? You have to do it now!

    I use https://onesignal.com/ they are free and awesome! You can config it to send a notif after X days/hours/minutes after their last session….

    I don't have "real stats" but you can probably get 10% to 20% more app usage/engagement if you set it to send one notif for example after 2 days since the last app session…

    (Let me/us know how it goes!)

  4. Thanks agin for awesome vid ! I would Use Notification to promote my other apps with some Nice call to action + for more revenue I would like to promote some CPA or some affiliate offers which are related to my app niche e.g if my app about workout or yoga I will definitely promote some few offers each Month !!

  5. I just found that we can not found top free new apps from google play from my hand phone. Although top free apps still can be found from website, but who will find the new apps from website? This will have a big impact for indie developers.
    How do you promote your new apps with no budget? I believe ASO is kind of slow and any strategies you guys use? Now everything has been favor people that have deep pocket.

  6. Hi
    Do I need to buy thread party service to have push up notifications or I can do it by my server if I need to send notifications to special user category in my app I use godaddy server

  7. I think you can use that big eyed girl character for "1 month no use" users to return back to your app, Push an attractive message and when user clicks on it open that character image with an emotional message 😀

  8. Is it legally acceptable to open youtube channel link with the help of intent by using Push Up Notification on my own android app???

  9. Nice video, thanks for sharing. I have used PushWoosh with the last 3-4 apps I built. I love the service, but it's a little pricey for my use case. I think that I may start looking for a cheaper alternative.

  10. Thank you for making richer with automation ideas. By the way, I used to travel all over UK, but still don't know your area: Wantage – is it a new development area? Learning is for a life time (",).

  11. OMg I am so glad I am not a tech person, I have enough going on in my brain as it is, lol. How about doing some ballet or workouts or dance instead? 😉

  12. I think it could be interesting, but I didn't implement full version with my server. I sent just test messages from firebase console.

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