What is “web push” and how is that different from “app push?”

App push notifications have been an enormously-important part of mobile marketing strategies for years, and while we talk about mobile apps and their massive growth year-over-year, the fact remains that web is still huge, and both are vital to digitally transforming your marketing and customer engagement efforts.


Imagine having a way to potentially reach 48 million more users through your personalized marketing efforts. This is the reality for one of our clients, who has over 50 million users, but only about 2 million of those use their mobile app. This is a huge audience that could be reached via web push since they aren’t currently accessible through their app push campaigns.

The goal is to reach users with personalized, tailored content no matter where they are, and to continue developing strong omni-channel marketing strategies that keep your users engaged, informed and coming back. That’s why you need both “app push” and “web push.”

Web push targets your web users without requiring them to be currently on your website, whereas app push targets mobile app users when they’re not currently in-app. (You’ve likely gotten these from many brands.) Both web and app push do require opt-in, and the opt-ins are independent of each other — i.e. a user would have to opt-in to both to receive both.

App Push can push to a mobile phone or tablet where the app is installed; web push can push to a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone that you use to visit the company’s website– although iOS mobile devices are not currently supporting web push. (They may be there soon, however.)

How would a brand most effectively use web push?

Some of the bigger umbrella categories for web push include:

  • Breaking news
  • Abandoned cart campaigns
  • New content (i.e. blogs, landing pages, gated)
  • Sales and promotions
  • Flight or event notifications
  • Real-time score updates or conference/event/trade show updates

Obviously, the use of web push will look different in different industries and verticals. (We’ll have an article that goes into more detail on different verticals after this one, too.)

A media company primarily would use it for new content and breaking news. Retail tends to use web push for promotional codes, other sale offers (Black Friday Deals), and abandoned cart campaigns. Travel companies can send reminders to users about upcoming trips, or use web push for upsells and add-ons like rental cars, hotel rooms, and events at destination.

Increasingly, we’ve seen new verticals enter the web push space, such as financial services. Financial services companies tend to use web push for notifications of monthly statements, announcements of new tools and products, promotions for new credit cards, and investment advice.

Telecommunications (“telco”) is also entering the web and mobile world, often using web push to notify customers of billing cycles, where their data stands that month, up-selling them on more data for the month, and announcing new products and offers, i.e. cable bundles or phone upgrades.