Skip to content

Six Creative Ways to Use Push Notification Marketing in Your Mobile App

Parse Push

Push notifications are quickly becoming one of the top ways to keep users engaged with mobile applications. Some research has shown that the average lifespan of an app can be as short as 30 days, and push notifications are one tool to help developers extend that expiration date and keep their users coming back for more.

We’ve already given you some tips on how to use push notifications effectively but with the launch of our awesome Push Analytics tool, we wanted to give you even more ideas on how to implement Push into your app effectively if you haven’t already, or if you’re looking for a fresh way to incorporate notifications.


It never hurts to remind your users why they downloaded your app in the first place. Some apps are even designed specifically to provide reminders, which is a perfect application of push notifications.

  • App-Specific Reminders. If a user hasn’t completed an expected action yet, the app can send a welcome reminder to complete it. An example of this might be a food diary app that sends push reminders to users who haven’t tracked an expected meal yet that they need to do so for the day.

  • Event Reminders. Parse-powered app Applauze enables users to sign up for both free and paid events in their area. The app then sends users push notifications to remind them of the events that they have registered for.

  • Play Reminders. Games, such as MyDinos, send reminders to come back to the game when it hasn’t been opened in a while. Social games also send notifications when it’s a user's turn in the game.

  • IRL Reminders. Professional sports apps can send a notification every time a game is about to end. This allows a fan of the winning/losing team to catch the end of the game if she or he wasn’t already aware it was happening.

  • Prescription/Appointment Reminders. The Walgreens app sends prescription alerts to remind users that it’s time to re-order, or to notify users that prescriptions set up on auto-refill are ready to be picked up.



Traffic Drivers

One of the biggest reasons that developers add Push to their apps is to drive traffic to, or back to, the app. Some inspiration of innovative ways to drive traffic to your app include: 

  • Sweepstakes or Contest Pushes. The Parse-powered TOMS shoes app recently did a contest connected to their charitable endeavors. Not only does this promote one aspect of their mission, it also drives users to visit the app, which incorporates the opportunity to purchase shoes and thus drive business.

  • Cross-Promote Your Apps. If you create apps with similar themes or purposes, games for example, sending push notifications that send users from an app they’ve already downloaded to a similar app is a great way to drive existing users to new apps.

  • Apps IRL. The Green Bay Packers app incorporates geo-locating for bars that are playing the current game in the customer’s area. For products or businesses that have a “real-life” component, push notifications can lead users to the brick-and-mortar presence of the brand.

  • Flash or Last-Minute Sales. The Southwest Airlines app sends “Ding Alerts,” which are push notifications for last minute flight deals.  This not only drives users to the app, it can also drive sales!


Emergency Alerts

More and more apps are emerging related to sensitive material, from email and banking all the way to new home security and garage system apps. It's important for these apps to get a user's attention quickly in case of an emergency, and Push notifications are a great way to do that.

  • Safety IRL Alerts. Garage door and alarm system apps can send users push notifications for doors and windows that are being opened when the system is alarmed, or notify the user of existing open windows and doors when remotely arming the system.

  • Suspicious Activity Alerts. Banking and email apps can send users a push notification to alert them of suspicious activity occurring on their accounts.

  • Natural Disaster Alerts. The Parse-powered QuakeList app uses geo locational push notifications to alert users of events in their area or in their selected areas that they request notifications about.

  • Public Transportation Alerts. The Embark apps notify users if a train is running late and of delays they should be aware of during their trip or commute.



App Functionality

Some apps rely on push notifications to support the app’s main functionality, whether for a messaging system or a picture feed. Being notified of new content is a crucial part of why users download the app in the first place, and push notifications are a key way to get their attention.

  • Critical Reminders. GymPact, wherein users agree to be charged if they haven’t completed a certain number of workouts each week, reminds users if they haven’t done their workout and and are about to be charged.

  • Message Notifications. Many apps, including Parse-powered InstaDM and Applauze send messages to their users when another user sends them a message or comments on their event or image.


App Updates

Keeping an app updated with fresh content is a great way to keep the app relevant to the user and extend that shelf-life even further. Some updates may be free, but others might require the user to purchase the new content or features. Push notifications are a great way to market updates, both those that are free-but-exciting as well as those that require a little more investment from the user.

  • Opt Customers into New Features. Retail apps can send push notifications to opt in customers to the brands they are interested in, or to notify them of sales on their preferred brands.

  • Paid Feature or Update Notifications. When an app releases a new paid feature or update, a push notification is one way to notify existing users of the opportunity to purchase. This is also great for games that release new packs.



As push notifications become more commonplace, finding fresh ways to implement them will become more an more important. Here are some innovative ideas for using Push in your apps that might make your app stand out from the crowd.

  • App Refresh. You can program your app to send a push notification with no text, which will have the app refresh itself without the user necessarily noticing that it’s happening.

  • Automated Segmented Push. You can use Parse’s Cloud Code to set up automated segmented push notifications to target just specific portions of your audience based on demographics or interests.

  • Geolocational Push. Apps for brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants can program apps to send push notifications to users that are in the area and notify them of specials, coupons, or just that they’re within reach of something tasty or interesting.

  • Push Analytics. You can use Parse’s Push Analytics feature to monitor app opens, push campaign effectiveness, and more.