We love talking about what makes a great push notification. (Clearly.) But in-app messages are a big deal, too! Not clear on the difference between push notifications and in-app messages? Push notifications are those messages you receive to your home screen when you’re outside of the app, where in-app messages are media-rich messages you receive in the app. Surprisingly though, one-third of all apps don’t use them.

We want to change all that. Because there’s a lot to like about in-app:

We kept our eyes peeled for apps that do in-app messaging well, and we weren’t disappointed. Check out 5 companies that showed us what good in-app looks like to inspire your own strategy.

Help users discover features.

Your users may be missing out on the feature they need–and the one that would boost engagement with your app. A friendly, informative message is just what they need to discover their new favorite thing about your app. (It’s also a great way to promote exciting new features–we’ll talk about that, too.)


Tell users what’s different.

Unfamiliar territory can be a little jarring. That goes for changes in an app experience, too. Duolingo gets in front of any potential confusion users may be feeling, and lets them know how it benefits them in a reassuring, conversational tone. For this message, we’d also recommend taking the opportunity to insert more of the Duolingo brand and tone, too.


Onboard new users.

Your onboarding experience is your user’s first introduction to your app; getting it right increases retention rates by 50%. Make sure your users know the lay of the land to make it easier for them to be successful.


Show off what’s new.

A great way to encourage your users to try out your cool new feature is while they’re in your app, ready to take it for a spin. Runkeeper’s design is eye-catching, on brand, and conveys a real sense of excitement about Running Groups. Plus, they make sure the benefit–motivation to run and achieve goals–is crystal clear. Letting them dive right into the new feature via the CTA makes it easy for users to try it out, too.


Share important information.

I know, I know–are you a little stressed just seeing this? It can’t all be good news, and Uber makes sure users are aware of something that could negatively impact their experience later on: having a higher than expected fare. And while it’s designed to be noticed (and a little jarring), Uber gets extra points for using copy to make it clear what’s happening, why, and how it serves the user by making more ubers available.


Do you use in-app messages? If not, why? Tell us in the comments.