Web Push Notifications: What They Are and How to Use Them

13 min

Before you brush off web push notifications as yet another spammy marketing technique, ask yourself this: how do you get more people to visit and engage with your website on a regular basis? 

Waiting on your customers to discover new website content, announcements, and offers organically or by sheer luck is not a particularly brilliant approach. Your content may already be optimized for SEO, you might leverage the absolute most out of the latest email marketing techniques, and you may even have an automation funnel set up for new customers.

But what if we told you there is a way for you to directly notify your prospects of your latest product offer updates without paying for ads that will eventually fall victim to banner blindness or ad blockers?

Enter web push notifications!

This guide will explain how web push notifications work and how to deploy them for optimum user experience, without annoying your customers.

What are web push notifications?

Web push notifications are also called browser push notifications. They are notifications that pop up on the web browser of a user’s desktop or mobile device, allowing them to opt-in to receive important updates from a website. 

The opt-in prompts often slide in below the search bar on a web browser, asking website visitors if they’d like to receive web push messages from the website. 

An example of a promo announcement delivered via web push notification for GetResponse
An example of a web push notification

If the visitor consents, web push messages begin to pop up on their desktop screen. 

On mobile, the web push notifications slide in on the notification panel, almost like an app push notification. When you click on it, the notification redirects you to a relevant web page.

Web pushes will pop up whether or not you’re on the website you’ve signed up to receive updates from, provided the browser is open and there’s an internet connection. If there’s no internet connection, the messages will be queued until the next time you’re online and open the browser. 

Who should use web push notifications?

Web push notifications can become a great addition to your marketing strategy is you:

  • Own a website and want to boost your web traffic
  • Want to announce discount offers
  • Want to make special announcements 

Disadvantages of web push notifications

Before we move on, it’s only right to address some of the reasons why some people choose against including web push notifications in their marketing strategies.

  • Push messages can feel intrusive. Web push notifications can feel spammy if not done right. If people perceive your messages as ill-timed and obtrusive, it may damage your brand identity. This may lead to users disabling the notifications or opting out.
  • There’s a character limit. Web push notifications are typically limited to one line on text, and it may be hard to compose a short message that can still engage your customers.
  • They might be confused with ads. The pop-up nature of push notifications means that they can be mistaken for ads and outrightly discarded by some users.

While all of these are true, the benefits outweigh the risks a lot. So the real question you should be asking yourself is, in fact, this:

Why should you use web push notifications?

Web push notifications are a fast, unique, and easy way to engage with your web users. That’s why there are numerous advantages they bring to the businesses that opt-in for this feature. Here are five reasons why you should use web push notifications: 

  • Fast delivery. Push notification messages are sent in real time. They reach an active user immediately, with no delays in transmission. In a matter of seconds, you can tell a user about new content on your website or remind them of an abandoned cart, for example.
  • Easy opt-in and management. Users can subscribe to web push notifications with just one click, unlike in other channels like email marketing. Besides, they don’t have to share personal information like names, phone numbers, and emails. Web push notifications are also very easy to set up and manage, and marketers often don’t have to worry about compliance with data protection and privacy regulations.
  • Increased traffic and engagement. More people are likely to click on a web push notification since it is sent in real time. This boosts your website traffic and leads to higher engagement compared to other marketing strategies. Personalized and targeted notifications ensure that users keep returning to your website.
  • Increased conversion rates. Push notifications appear on a user’s screen once their browser is open, even if they are not on your website. Custom messages targeting a user segment can improve user experience and increase conversion.
  • Messages are sent even when users are offline/inactive. Push notification messages sent when a user is offline are queued and get delivered when the user is back online and reopens their browser. If a user is online but has left your website for a while, your web push notifications will still pop up on the their screen as long as the browser remains open.

Start bringing more people back to your website with GetResponse Web Push Notifications. Customize your messages to match your branding and send them away manually or as part of your marketing automation workflows with ease.

Check this post for 11 real-life web push notification examples that convert

Here’s how to deploy web push notifications without annoying your audience

We have seen that web push notifications can come across as intrusive if not handled properly. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can set up and deploy your web push notification campaigns without irritating your audience.

1. Always get their permission first

People feel good if they believe that you value their time and privacy. Asking for your audience’s permission before sending them push notifications will project your brand as sensitive and considerate. 

Omitting this step may become a critical mistake for your marketing strategy, as there are numerous reasons for users to unsubscribe from the push notifications they’ve agreed to receive, not to mention the unwelcome ones.

For any web push notification tool you decide to use, the user’s browser will display a native prompt asking the user whether they’d like to opt-in. 

With a tool like GetResponse, you can add a custom prompt that you can tailor to reflect your brand’s identity. The message is an effective way to tell users why they should subscribe to your notifications.

An example of a custom prompt designed with GetResponse
Designed with GetResponse

Once you accept the prompt, the browser’s native prompt will be displayed. Clicking on “allow” will subscribe the user to your web push notifications.

Using a custom prompt can boost subscription and engagement since you can personalize the message and improve the user experience even further.

2. Use copywriting to improve opt-ins and click-through rates

These days, internet content is flooded with ambiguous texts with cryptic meanings. Most of the people simply don’t have time to read through this creative flow. That’s why, if your goal is to get their attention, you’ll need some powerful copywriting by your side.

Here are some helpful copywriting tips you can use right now:

  • Clear, concise copy (both for the custom prompt and push notification messages) can improve opt-ins and click-through rates. 
  • Keep your messaging short, captivating, and straight to the point. Here’s one example of short and straight-to-the-point copy:
An example of a good copy for a web push notification
A clear, concise copy can boost opt-in and CTR (image credit: NeilPatel.com)
  • Communicate urgency, but not desperation. This is particularly important for your notifications’ titles, as your audience might consider your messages spam. 
  • Although some tools like GetResponse allow up to 250 characters for the notification text, you should try to keep your copy within 50 characters, since some desktop browsers won’t show anything above this number.

3. Increase engagement by consistently delivering valuable content

Consistency drives online engagement. It proves your web push subscribers that you’re a serious brand.

But you shouldn’t be consistent just for the sake of it. You need to deliver content that provides maximum value for your customers. 

Do not send one general message to all subscribers. Employ user segmentation to discover what different user groups want and then offer it to them. 

About 2 in 5 subscribers want more relevant and personalized notifications.  Analyze users’ recent activities on your website and use the data you gather to personalize the web push notifications you provide.

Test your title, text, CTA buttons, images, and emojis to know what works best with your audience.

4. Deploy on web and mobile

For maximum engagement and conversions, you should adopt a cross-device strategy. We live in a four-screen (smartphone, PC, tablet, and TV) generation, and you need to reach users on whichever device they prefer to use. Perhaps, targeting smart TVs would be overkill, but optimizing your web push notifications for both web and mobile is a must.

With solutions like GetResponse you can preview your custom prompts and notification messages to see how they’ll look on different platforms.

GetResponse allows you to preview the custom prompt of your web push notification for different devices

5. Make sure your web push notifications aren’t intrusive

You don’t want your push notification pop-ups to block a major part of your users’ screens. Nobody likes flashy messages interfering with their browsing experience. And as a result, some people may opt-out of the service or disable it. 

This is why it is important that you preview and extensively test the notifications to see how they’re rendered on different screens and devices. 

An example of a small web push notification located at the bottom right side of the screen
Notice how this notification is displayed at the right bottom corner of the desktop, away from the screen’s most active areas. (Image credit: Magestore)

6. Pace your notifications and know when to send

Although web push notifications sent when a user is offline get queued and are delivered when the user comes back online, it is not ideal to blast a user with notifications immediately when they connect to the internet. 

To achieve optimum results, find out when users are most likely to be online and disposed to take action and send your notifications then. According to recent research, tailored sending time of push notification can increase user retention rate by 40%. Find out when your audience is most active and set up your notification for that time to achieve maximum benefits from a single push.

GetResponse allows you to select the optimal time for delivering your web push notification based on your audience time zones

Also, don’t send notifications indiscriminately. PushCrew found that 3 in 4 subscribers consider over 5 daily notifications too many.

What is more, thanks to reliable marketing automation software, such as GetResponse, you can set up your web push notifications in advance to fit a specific timely requirement or once your contact completes a desired action. As a result, you won’t have to track your audience’s behavior 24/7 while the effectiveness of your push campaigns will only increase.

7. Track metrics and site user behavior

Tracking and analyzing your notification metrics will give you an insight into user behavior. Measuring these metrics is easier and more straightforward with push notifications compared to other marketing channels. Some important metrics to monitor include:

  • Number of subscribers: This is the total number of users that opted in to receiving to your web push notifications. It can be monitored from your push service dashboard.
  • Number of subscribers over a given period: You can also track the number of subscribers within a specific time range, e.g. weekly or monthly.
  • Clicks: As you could’ve guessed,this is the number of times someone clicked on your push notification.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): This is the number of clicks on a notification divided by the total number of subscribers who received it.
  • Conversions: This is the number of subscribers who successfully achieved the ultimate goal you’ve set for a notification (e.g. submitted the form, completed a purchase, added a product to the cart, etc.)
  • Conversion rate: This is the conversions presented as a percentage.
  • Weekly growth: This is the number that shows how many subscribers have you gained (or lost) over a 7-day period. To calculate this, simply compare the number of subscribers at the beginning of the period to the number at the end.
  • Sent: This is the total number of push notifications that were sent. An important thing to keep in mind here is that “sent” doesn’t always mean “delivered” or “received”, which is why this metric should mainly be used as a starting point for comparisons and your internal tracking.

How do you set up web push notifications for your site?

Now that you understand push notifications and why you should use them, let’s look at how to set them up for your website. We’ll use the approach we rely on at GetResponse and provide illustrations when necessary.

Keep on reading, or watch this short video to understand how web push notifications work with GetResponse and how you can easily set up your own:

The majority of the main browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, support web push notifications on GetResponse. However, Safari and Internet Explorer 11 do not. So you might want to double-check which browsers are most popular with your target audience.

To set up web push notifications, you need to have a website and create an account with your preferred web push notification service provider. Your website must support HTTPS. If not, you’ll need to set up an SSL certificate for your website. Your web developer can help you with this if you can’t do it yourself.

Once you have these ready, you can take the following steps to create a push notification. GetResponse makes it super easy to create push notifications on its Professional or MAX plans

Step 1: Create a site

First, you need to create a site in your account. This will contain all notifications, your website URL, and other information related to notifications.

Step 1 out of 2 of setting up an web push notification with GetResponse

Step 2: Create prompts

Now your visitors will receive a prompt to opt-in for your notifications. This is called a native prompt—it is provided by the browser and cannot be edited or removed. 

Because you don’t have much control over the native prompt, creating a custom prompt is important. Here, you need to provide a name for the prompt, write the prompt message, and customize the confirmation and cancellation texts. When a user accepts the prompt, the native prompt can then pop up.

Custom prompt editing tool from GetResponse

Step 3: Create notifications

Now that your visitors can allow or reject notifications, it’s time to create a notification. For this, you need to provide a name for each notification you create, give it a title, and craft a notification text. 

You can also upload a custom icon, and will need to choose the URL of the page to which subscribers will be redirected when they click on the notification.

GetResponse's tool for creating custom notifications for separate campaigns

Congratulations! You have successfully set up a web push notification, and subscribers will receive your notification on their browsers. If you still have some doubts about the process, feel free to check our detailed, step-by-step guide on how to set up a web push notification with GetResponse.


If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or blogger, you want to drive engagement on your website and generate leads. With web push notifications, your visitors can see your posts as soon as you publish them, and take action. But your work doesn’t stop here!

Once your web push notification goes live you need to keep an eye on it and adjust your strategy according to the user behavior. Analyzing key performance metrics will help you understand if your visitors are taking the right action and following the path you’ve designed for them. Armed with all that insight, you can then deploy push notifications in a way that will improve user experience and encourage your audience to engage with your business more often. 

Anna Kvasnevska
Anna Kvasnevska
Anna is a content marketing specialist and a proud member of the GetResponse team. With more than 5 years of experience in content creation, as well as her intercultural background and cross-industry perspective, Anna is happy to share her insights into the latest updates from the world of online marketing, eCommerce, and technology. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.