Push notifications are everywhere.

They are ubiquitous at this point; nearly everything has a push notification available, although not everyone likes receiving them, and a growing number of people disable them.   There are push notifications for desktop, mobile, various media queries, with any number of conditional logic qualifiers.

[Tweet “Crafting a push notification is akin to writing the subject line of an email or creating a Tweet or a PR headline.”]

Most push notifications are limited by file size, not by characters, but a variety of phone screens have their own truncation points based on the display size, and the common cutoff points range from 80 to 120 characters.

[LISTEN: 3 Most Common Mistakes When Developing a Mobile Strategy – PODCAST]

How do you determine the contents of a push notification?

Often that will depend on the application or program that’s actually generating the notification.  For instance, on our podcast promotion package in MobileWalletMarketer, the new episode name is going to become the push notification text – check out the screen grab I have posted below:

Lock Screen Notifications

iOS and the iPhone screen handles push notifications this way – the sender (Domino Research, where we produce our podcast), the icon/logo to the left of the sender info, and the next line is the new episode title.  As you can probably see, the title of the episode was longer than the character limit that the iPhone would display so it was truncated with an ellipsis.

I can’t really speak to how all apps handle the text on the notification – but I can tell you that in the MobileWalletMarketer or CannabisWallet.net mobile wallet ads, it’s a super simple process.


We select one element (in some cases, such as Event & Trade Show packages, there will be multiple triggers selected) that’s the hinge point of the campaign, and every time there’s an update to that element, then the push notifications kick in and all subscribers are notified.

How can you create eye catching push notifications?

Here are 3 steps I recommend you pay close attention to when you’re crafting a push notification –

#1 – Be concise.

This is no time for wandering text, off topic fits and starts, and so on.  Drill down to what you want to say in the fewest number of words.  These are good notification texts –

  • Check out the latest in CBD relaxation products!
  • New (or Latest) Episode – (title of podcast, video, lesson, mastermind topic, etc)
  • Announcement: New realtor marketing tool gets results
  • The Daily Special – Shrimp n Grits – gouda cheese, stone ground grits, Gulf Shrimp

As you can see, each of these tells a story, albeit briefly.

#2 – Be cognizant of your target demographic.


Yeah, there are a ton of abbreviations that are commonly used in text messaging.  By people 30 and younger!

Watch out for strange abbreviations that no one understands, if you’re targeting an older age group.  If your prospects don’t speak English as their first language, you should also be very careful with abbreviations, slang, etc.

#3 – Be interesting!

I’ll refer back to the “Daily Special” above – almost everyone loves Cajun Style Shrimp and Grits, even if they don’t know it.  (Yes, I spent a lot of time in New Orleans and might be biased, but whatever!)

Referring to it as “Shrimp and Grits Special” doesn’t do much for anyone, including NOLA-philes like me.

Changing it up to read “Shrimp n Grits – gouda cheese, stone ground grits, Gulf Shrimp” – is a very smart way to catch my eye and get me to actually read the notification.  It’s not every day that I see such a delicious list of ingredients pop up on my phone, and since I’m incredibly food inclined, you’re very likely to get a response from me on this one (and a TON more people – we know, we’ve tested it with our clients).

Don’t forget to A/B test your notification styles.

This is a big deal, but we see it slip through the cracks all the time.  If you don’t know what’s going to draw your target demographic or prospects in, and get them to click through to your mobile wallet pass or app, then how do you know what to say?

Just like email subject lines, advertising headlines, etc – there will be some notifications that work like crazy and get a great click through ratio, and others that you may particularly admire which turn out to be lame ducks.

Keeping a spreadsheet is one easy way to monitor your success.  It’s as simple as noting the date and notification text, along with the primary call to action; then matching that up with the stats in GA or other analytics dashboard to see how many click throughs you got for that particular headline.

Adjust the links on the back to maximize your traffic throughput.

We see this all the time with our podcast updates – since we have several verticals that we cover, our actual click through rate to other links on the back of the podcast pass go up and down depending on the topic.

We’ve started adjusting the back of the pass to more closely correlate with the topic.  For instance, if we are talking about the legal cannabis industry, we’ll shift our top link on the back of the pass to direct traffic to CannabisWallet.net.

On the flip side, when we’re talking about promoting Trade Shows and Events with mobile updates, we’ll move the link to the product up to the top of the pass back.  It’s an easy process (if you work with us, at least), since you’re filling out a form and the system takes care of the rest.


Hope this helps to give you some ideas about creating attention getting push notifications for any apps you are using, not just for your mobile wallet advertising campaigns.