Push Notifications – Definition

Cite this article as:"Push Notifications – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated April 5, 2019, last accessed July 3, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/push-notifications-definition/.


Push Notifications – Definition

App publishers frequently use push notifications as marketing strategies to reach their target customers. A push notification abruptly appears on mobile devices, this push notifications are often in the form of messages. A standard push notification pops up as a single message on users’ devices. Users of mobile devices don’t have to have an app installed on their mobile devices before they receive push notifications.

A Little More on What is Push Notification

App marketers use push notifications to keep up their marketing games because through the notifications they create a connection with users of mobile devices. Push notifications are effective marketing techniques that marketers do not easily bypass. A good use of this strategy avail ap marketers the opportunity to reach their target customers. Nevertheless, using this tool too frequently can annoy users and make them either mute or block push notifications.

History of Push Notifications:

The history of push goes as far back as 2003 when blackberry push emails started. In that age, blackberry became a vital gadget that every person wants to get because for you to be able to read your mails in a train, you need a blackberry. RIM was also recorded as the main Operating System (OS) to use push notifications for their email application.

The history of push notifications can also be traced to 2009 when the Apple Push Notification (APN) which was the first push notification service was spurred by Apple. The history of push notifications can be further traced to Google Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) introduced in 2010, Google Cloud Messaging introduced in 2012, Android 4.2 ICS introduced with Rich Push in 2013 and the extension of push notification to the Apple Watch in 2014.

Push notifications can be utilized by any app users without restrictions or biases. As an app marketer that needs to reach out to a large audience, you can utilize the web service push notification. Popular apps that use the web push notifications often include, news and social media applications, various service applications, Ecommerce applications and shopping applications, travel applications, games applications, utility and content applications as well as music applications. These named application have a lot to offer and they need to reach a wide range of people through push notifications.

There are three major channels that are important for sending push notifications. Without these channels, there will be no smooth passage for these notifications. The OSPNS is one of the channels, this referred to Operating System Push Notification Service which is present on every mobile operating system. Blackberry, iOS, fire OS, Windows, and Android all have their own OSPNS. Another channel for push notifications is the app publisher, this channel aids the distribution or transfer of push messages to the application store. Client channel is also an important medium for sending push notifications, this application is OS-specific which is put on a client’s device to get push notifications.

Working out push notifications is not a daunting task, especially for app managers. All you have to do it to set u a server in order to send push notifications from your application. Once the server has been set up, it allows you send notifications via your Operating System Push Notification Service (OSPNS), Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) or Apple’s Push Notification Service (APNS) as the case may be.

Push notifications can be pretty annoying, especially if you have a lot of them. Many people get stuck on how to disable push notifications on their devices, the following steps will help you successfully disable push notifications;

  • Go to the settings of your app.
  • Locate the notification button on your screen and tap it.
  • Check through the list of apps displayed on your screen.
  • Locate the disturbing app and turn off its notifications.

Once you follow these steps, you can disable push notifications on your device. You can also disable push notification sounds on the apps using the notification setting button.

References for Push Noifications

Academic Research on Push Notifications

•    Productive, anxious, lonely: 24 hours without push notifications, Pielot, M., & Rello, L. (2017, September). In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (p. 11). ACM.  This paper examines the effects of the absence of push notifications on people’s devices. People disable push notifications for reasons best known to them, however, upon disabling these notifications, people are affected one way or the other by the absence of notifications. Using a study on ‘Do Not Disturb’ challenge of 30 volunteers, this paper x rays the experiences of these volunteers after disabling push notifications. The study showed that with the absence of notifications, participants are less distracted, thereby more productive. On the other hand, the absence of notifications made the participants feel anxious and secluded from social activities, thereby lonely.

•    An exploration of evaluation metrics for mobile push notifications, Tan, L., Roegiest, A., Lin, J., & Clarke, C. L. (2016, July).. In Proceedings of the 39th International ACM SIGIR conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (pp. 741-744). ACM. Push notifications pop up on people’s devices such as laptops, desktops and even mobile phones. This paper carries out an evaluation on the benchmarks or standards set aside for mobile push notifications, this includes systems that filter the social media with the aim of sending users notifications. The metrics for mobile push notifications as evaluated by this paper focuses on the timeliness and relevance of the notifications. Using the TREC 2015 Microblog evaluations reveal an adjustment in the metrics which arises in systems rankings. The IR evaluation also focuses on the effectiveness of these metrics and the framework designed for mobile push notifications.


•    Ubiquitous monitoring solution for Wireless Sensor Networks with push notifications and end-to-end connectivity, Oliveira, L. M., Rodrigues, J. J., Elias, A. G., & Zarpelão, B. B. (2014). Mobile information systems, 10(1), 19-35. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) refer to devices that gather and communicate information by monitoring field via wireless links. Although, the data can be from different nodes, they are connected by a getaway. WSNs as a new technology allows devices which are wirelessly connected to interact with their immediate environment and also collect data.  This paper examines the ever-present monitoring solution for WSNs that give rise to push notifications and end-to-end connectivity. Since people use their smartphones with internet connection, this paper suggests wireless sensors monitoring using push notifications and smartphones which is a ubiquitous approach for WSN monitoring.

•    DNS push notifications, Pusateri, T., & Cheshire, S. (2015). Working Draft, IETF Secretariat, Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dnssd-push-03. The Domain Name System (DNS) has to do with how domain names are detected and translated into IP addresses. This can map out specific people that visit a website according to IP translations. The DNS by original design matches records for queries of data that are seemingly static. DNS takes a poll of domains and also follow up changes and updates on the domains. DNS push notifications allows clients to be notified when these changes arise and updates effected.

•    The effect of timing and frequency of push notifications on usage of a smartphone-based stress management intervention: An exploratory trial, Morrison, L. G., Hargood, C., Pejovic, V., Geraghty, A. W., Lloyd, S., Goodman, N., … & Yardley, L. (2017). PloS one, 12(1), e0169162. Despite the push notifications are a great strategy to engage clients and users of devices, timing and frequency still have much impacts on the relevance of these notifications. Push notification are good techniques for smartphone-based health interventions, this paper explores and examines the effects of timing and frequency of push notifications on smartphone-based stress management intervention. Using 77 randomly-selected participants, this paper examines the potential impact of timing and frequency on notification response and usage of Healthy Mind. The study highlights the experiences of intelligent and non-intelligent groups of participants who use Healthy Mind. However, there were no meaningful differences noticed between the intelligent and non-intelligent groups.

•    Energy efficient scheduling for mobile push notifications, Acer, U., Mashhadi, A., Forlivesi, C., & Kawsar, F. (2015, August). In proceedings of the 12th EAI International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Computing, Networking and Services on 12th EAI International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Computing, Networking and Services (pp. 100-109). App marketers use push notification to inform users of new events and updates, the notifications reach users through notification servers such as APNS, GCM, OSPNS and others. This paper studied the energy efficient scheduling for mobile push notifications in the sense that push notifications seem to be power inefficient due to their small sizes and irregular nature. In order to address this issue of power inefficiency of push messages, this paper suggests that a network centric scheduling mechanism be implemented in the delivery of notifications. This implies that the delivery of messages would be delayed by sensing the network activities of the users.

•    A platform for streaming push notifications to mobile assessors, Roegiest, A., Tan, L., Lin, J., & Clarke, C. L. (2016, July). In Proceedings of the 39th International ACM SIGIR conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (pp. 1077-1080). ACM. This paper presents an assessment of platforms that assessors use in filtering and gathering relevant information for streaming push notifications. These platforms are considered reliable and relevant by mobile assessors. This assessment identifies the these platforms  will be helpful in gathering online judgments for mobile push notifications that will be deployed in the newly-created TREC 2016 Real-Time Summarization (RTS) track. This study shows that mobile assessors subscribe to Twitter streaming API in order to filter tweets and identify relevant tweets. Getting notifications for irrelevant or generic tweets can be nauseating, hence, users always look forward to having systems that can identify and separate relevant items from irrelevant ones.

•    An investigation of usability of push notifications on mobile devices for novice and expert users, Chua, W. Y., & Chang, K. T. (2016, January). In 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) (pp. 5683-5690). IEEE. This paper is an empirical study of usability of push notifications on mobile devices for novice users and expert users. Mobile devices come in different forms and different modes of operation. Push notifications are received by mobile assessors on their devices. To examine the effectiveness of push notifications and how users respond to them, it is important to study the device usage behaviours peculiar to the novice and expert users. This study investigates the presence of push notifications on the mobile usability of these two categories of users.

•    Marketing with Mobile Push Notifications in a Location Specific Context, Taylor, N. (2014). Business owners have realized the benefits of individual or direct marketing due to its effectiveness in winning customers. Different types of marketing techniques exist but none of them send information putting the current location of receivers into consideration. Businesses reach a wider range of people through emails, messages and notifications that pop up on the screen of mobile assessors. This paper evaluates using push notifications for marketing purposes especially in local contexts. Using iBeacon and iOS, this project developed a scalable marketing system that sends push notifications to users based on their proximity to the University Bookstore. It examined the number of people that act on the notifications they receive.

•    Effects of push notifications on learner engagement in a mobile learning app, Pham, X. L., Nguyen, T. H., Hwang, W. Y., & Chen, G. D. (2016, July). In 2016 IEEE 16th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) (pp. 90-94). IEEE. Learning takes place on mobile apps in diverse dimensions and there are likelihood that smartphone push notifications impair the learning ability and concentration of a learner’s engagement in a mobile learning app. The data of over 12,000 online learners in a mobile English learning app named ‘English Practice’ were analysed. The study evaluates the impacts of push notifications in the retention process of online learners using mobile apps. The study finds out that frequent push notifications can cause a learner to be drifted away from the learning process. In a bit to curb the excesses of incessant push  notifications, app developers are advised to integrate social tools into their apps.

•    An analysis of the effects of smartphone push notifications on task performance with regard to smartphone overuse using ERP, Kim, S. K., Kim, S. Y., & Kang, H. B. (2016). Computational intelligence and neuroscience, 2016. Despite that the use of smartphones offers humanity a wide range of benefits, smartphone overuse can result in social menace. This paper carries out an analysis of the effects of push notifications with regard to smartphone overuse. The analysis of smartphone overuse is done using Event-related Potential (ERP). Surveys are conducted on the connection between increased push notifications and smartphone overuse. This study also investigates the effects of push notifications on task performance. With an analysis of risk and non-risk groups, this study highlights the negative influence of excess smartphone notifications which leads to smartphone overuse.

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