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Opt-in and Engage – Website Push Notification Success

Successful website push notification campaigns are judged on how many users opt-in and then engage with your message (hence the title). These two go hand-in-hand, so you’re going to need to think of a way to boost both to reap the benefits of your web push campaigns.

Luckily, you’re reading this blog and we’ve done the thinking for you… you’re welcome. What’s so great about website push notifications you ask? Well, the click-through-rate is 11% for cases of less than 5,000 subscribers, which is pretty impressive if you realize that it’s almost unheard of for the CTR to hit even 5% for email marketing. Web push opt-in is a really easy process too – just a few clicks, no download or email address required, and you’re set to send.

There’s been some recent changes to how browsers handle web notifications with safari and Firefox requiring a user to interact with a page before a prompt can be shown. The chrome update detects if users are likely to reject website push notifications based on previous choices and decides whether to show the user the prompt or not. Optimizing your opt-in process is now even more critical to gaining subscriptions.

In this post we look at some of the ways in which you can maximize the success of your web push campaigns from the opt-in, to the message and everything surrounding the notification. Get all the tools you can use to engage your users and boost your CTR.


Before you can send the user any form of notification, permission must be granted through the acceptance of notifications via an on-screen prompt through desktop or mobile web. The hard prompt must be accepted by the user to allow you to send the notifications to their device. There’s no way around this unfortunately, the hard prompts are browser specific, un-customizable and… (when on their own) very forgettable. They look the same from website to website which isn’t what we want. We want our prompts to get noticed. There are ways to help you stand-out at this first point of contact and obtain the elusive opt-in…

Soft Prompt Before Hard Prompt

Create your own engaging prompt that represents your brand and message that pops-up before the mandatory browser prompt. This is the ‘soft prompt’. While this won’t count as a subscription to website push notifications, it does give you more power over the process. It’s like a Jedi mind trick, once you appeal to the user with your own brand message, the hard prompt isn’t so scary anymore. These are fully customizable which means you can change it at any time to represent your current campaign.


    Example of a soft prompt                                     Example of a hard prompt on Chrome

Another benefit is that if the user is to reject your soft prompt, then this can be used to postpone the trigger of the hard prompt. A second soft prompt can be used at a later stage and if accepted at this point, can automate the trigger of the hard prompt, maximizing the chances of acquiring a subscription.

Subscription Overlays

This is an effective tool to emphasize the prompt. To use the website further the prompt must be actioned. An overlay gives weight to the process of answering the prompt, let your users know this isn’t just some random pop-up, you want them to opt-in.

A tip to get noticed – adjusting the opacity levels of the overlay makes the prompt stand out from the page and has statistically been shown to increase the opt-in rate.

Web push overlay example

Overlay used on Chrome

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Overlay used on Edge

Time Your Prompts

As a first-time user to a website, most of the time you’re not entirely sure this is the right place for what you’re looking for. A quick browse around the website is a pretty good indication if you need to look elsewhere. If you enter a site and you’re going to check through a couple of things to see if the site is going to offer what you need… are you likely to accept to receive notifications from this website you know very little about? Before you’ve even had the chance to find out if this is what you’re looking for?

So, time your prompts and give the user some breathing space. If they’ve figured out who you are and what you do and they’re still hanging around… now send them a prompt! They’re more interested than the user that bounced straight back out of your website in 3 seconds. You don’t need to waste your resources like that.


So, with all those tips you should hopefully get a few more subscriptions, but there’s no point boosting your subscriptions if your engagement is still lacking. Be smart with your messaging to increase the open rate. Here are a few things you can be doing to appeal more to your audience.

Be Concise

There’s a considerable drop-off in engagement depending on how concise you can be with your messaging. A study on mobile push notifications by Localytics found that the optimum number of words for a push notification was 10 or fewer with a CTR of 8.8%, up to 20 words was then 4.9% and more than this at just 3.2%. This applies across the board for push messaging, no matter where you’re receiving it. Get your message across but don’t drag on about it, people want it short and sweet when it comes to website push notifications.

Target Your Message

Why broadcast a generic message to everyone who’s ever let you send notifications to them when you can make niche, targeted content and only send it to those that it applies to? Segmenting your audience is a far more effective way to get the results you want. Once a notification has been opened, 54% convert from a segmented push notification compared to only 15% from a broadcast message. Target users based on their onsite activity or who they are – allowing you to specifically target your chosen audience (e.g. only females, iOS users or those who have funnel drop off after cart abandonment.)

Limited Time Offers

You can get a quick response out of a user by putting a timescale on offers. People are more likely to react when they have the fear of missing out. Notifications need to be actionable and if you’re correctly segmenting and targeting, the message should be relevant to the user that receives it.

Frequency & Timing

Don’t overdo it. No one wants to receive notifications at all times of day and night. It lessens the value of the message and honestly… people find it irritating.

Don’t dilute your message by sending it more than once within a few hours unnecessarily and don’t have your user looking at their notifications to find 5-10 notifications from your website (they’re not going to read them). Find your optimum frequency to stay relevant to your users without becoming off putting.

You should also time your messages. Obviously different countries have different time zones; different working and sleeping hours. These are all ways you can time your messaging to be more in-tuned with the specifics of each individual user. If you’re a food delivery service – target around dinner time. If you’re a de-stress app for the end of the day – target later in the evening. Think about when your users will need you most and aim to be there at that time.

Where to Start with website push notification

Now you have all the tools laid out in front of you, you can choose which of these tactics will work for your brand and find a formula to boost opt-ins and engagement for your users. If you’re doing it right, you’re going to retain these users and create loyal customers through your web push savvy.

At Kumulos we love a website push notification and recently added them to our award winning, omni-channel messaging platform. We offer you the opportunity to send rich push notifications and analyze results from both a technical and commercial standpoint. If you’re interested in web push notification, then why not try a free Kumulos demo and see real business results for your website or app.