• August 29, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Urban Airship Enables Actionable, Interactive Push Notifications

Urban Airship, a provider of mobile customer relationship management solutions, is enhancing its push notification applications to enable businesses to deliver messages with two calls to action. Customers will be able to respond to messages from the device lockscreens and in the notification center.

Businesses can choose from 13 predefined action buttons or create their own. Possibilities include deep-linking to pages within the company's mobile app or mobile Web site or requesting social sharing. Companies can also create dynamic segments, define conditional automation rules, and set real-time triggers and conversion events.

Standard push notifications only allow for one action, such as linking to a particular screen or page within an app, according to Bob Garcia, director of product marketing at Urban Airship. "This is different because with it you can have to or three buttons to give customers more options," he says. "It's crystal clear how the customer should respond to the push notification."

Urban Airship also added support for message center-style widgets in the Today View of the iOS 8 Notification Center or anywhere on the Android mobile platform. These widgets can be tailored to deliver extremely targeted and dynamic information, such as a news feed, a wish list item, or a shipping order.

With this feature, brands can also reach their entire app audience, including those who opt out of push notifications. "It's a great way to leverage your mobile app content," Garcia points out.

Other new enhancements include event analytics for tracking user activities, such as button taps on interactive notifications and in-app conversions. Businesses will be able to see both the direct and indirect conversion attribution for each push notification.

Urban Airship offers flexible event tracking, so users can report on key conversion points and user activities and measure each push campaign by how many times a desired goal is reached, such as buying a product, reading an ad-supported page, or trying a new feature.

Users can also see the full impact of push by measuring direct conversions resulting from taps on a notification, plus indirect conversions, such as when a push reminds a consumer to take action in the app later that day, without tapping the push itself.

A new A/B testing capability leverages this event data to help businesses optimize messaging's impact on conversion goals. "Businesses can do A/B testing with different messages to see which ones drive the best response," Garcia explains.

In addition, Urban Airship now supports native social sharing integration, enabling notification recipients to share interactive notifications and app content to aid in app acquisition efforts.

Garcia says the value to consumers and businesses from all these enhancements "is pretty huge.

"This moves the push notification medium much more akin to direct response marketing," he says. "We see the whole [push notification] channel evolving into more of a direct response [environment] for brands."

Consumers benefit, Garcia adds, because the new app "is a gateway for them to choose their own adventure with the brand and get more out of its mobile app."

The new application will support Apple devices running the soon-to-be-released iOS 8 as well as Amazon's new Fire phone and devices running the Android 4.3 operating system. General availability is scheduled for October, when iOS 8 is expected to be released.

One of the early users of the product through Urban Airship's early access program was ABC News.

"Since incorporating Urban Airship's in-app message center into our app and enabling users to 'star' stories to receive updates and personalized notifications, we've seen engagement soar, including a 500 percent increase in live video streaming," said Peter Roybal, head of mobile product at ABC News, in a statement. "Interactive Notifications will allow us to extend this personalization into the notification itself, using Follow and Share buttons to increase personal curation and socially promote our content and brand."

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