When you visit a website and there’s a small popup that says the site “wants to Show notifications”, what happens when you click on “Allow”? I’ll explain.
This request for www.fiercegeek.com to show notifications is the first step in receiving desktop push notifications.
Before push notifications, your mobile device would periodically pull new messages from the server. If there was a new message, the mobile device could then notify you.
Due to the battery and network costs of periodically pulling messages, your mobile device was limited. Most mobile devices were only checking for messages every hour or at most every 15 minutes.
A new push technology became important to save on battery and network usage for mobile devices. Push notifications involve the server sending new messages to your mobile device as they arrive.
Push notifications have been available on mobile devices since 2009, pioneered by Apple for its iPhone.
Desktop/Web push notifications
In March of 2015, Google Chrome released push notifications to its desktop browser. This opened a new communication tool for web developers to push messages to desktop and laptop computers.
Mozilla Firefox followed suit in January of 2016. Unfortunately, push notifications for Safari and Internet Explorer desktop browsers are still forthcoming.
How they work
Push notifications start with a request for permission to “Show notifications”. These messages are quite vague, as they don’t specify the conditions for the delivery of notifications.
Many uninformed web users believe that they’re only giving permission to receive popups while visiting the site.
Clicking on “Allow” actually grants the web site to deliver notifications to your desktop at any time in the future. Even if you don’t currently have your web browser open.
Receiving a push notification while in Photoshop. No browsers are open.
Google Chrome runs a service worker in the background on your computer so that it can immediately display these popups. Mozilla Firefox will display the messages as soon as it is running again.
Desktop push notifications, which also work on many mobile browsers including Opera, are a good way to close a sale.
The benefit of the push notification permission request is that it’s simple and anonymous. Once the user clicks on “Allow” you have a direct line to their desktop, and they didn’t have to type in their email address or phone number. When they leave your site without converting, you can still contact them.
You can send a popup to them later and ask why they didn’t convert, or you can entice them with a promotion if they come back and convert. Additionally, as long as you don’t annoy the user you’ll be able to continue to send notifications.
If your business could use another opportunity to convert web visitors, contact Fierce Geek to implement desktop push notifications, today.