No matter what type of mobile app you’ve created, push notifications can be essential to ongoing engagement, retention, and revenue.
Push notifications allow you to stay relevant, flashing across the user’s screen while they’re either disengaged completely or using another app, reminding them to come back to yours. It can give them specific tasks to complete along with alerts of new content, features, or opened-up game levels to enjoy.
Knowing how to write stellar push notifications, however, is something different altogether. It takes some practice, some strategy, and some split testing to know how to write killer push notifications that will increase click and open rates from your audience, but we’re here to help with that today.
In this post, we’ll go over the basics of what you need to know while writing push notifications, and we’ll share 12 push notification templates that follow the entire user journey, from app install to potential churn.
Before we get started with the actual push notification templates and stylized copywriting tips, it’s essential to remind ourselves of the three core things you must do when writing push notifications.
First: Understand the structure of push notifications. You get a push notification title and push notification description. The title will be used to capture attention or quickly convey the overall message of the push notification. The copy will elaborate further, giving users the information needed. The copy may include a CTA.
Second: Stick to the character count.
Push notifications have strict character counts. Depending on the operating system, you’ve got around 48 characters for the push notification title and 100 for the description. This is shorter than you’d think, and really keeping things as brief as possible is in your best interest anyway.
Third: You need to give users a reason to click. “We have thousands of recipes to view” isn’t interesting when users already know this is a core feature of your app, but “See personalized recipe recommendations for the holidays” feels relevant, and it gives them a reason to click.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the 11 push notification templates that can help get you started.
The welcome push notification is crucial. It’s going to help you create a strong first impression with new users, welcoming them to your app as a user and potentially to a subscriber list, if relevant.
The objective of a welcome push notification is to start things off on the right foot, thank them for signing up to the app and get them back in and engaging.
Here’s a template you can use to get started:
Title: (Welcome text)
Description: Hey there! Thanks for installing (app name). Get started (action).
You can adapt this template for your brand to look like any of the following:
Sometimes, users lose steam during the active onboarding process; it’s just the reality. They’ll download an app for a specific purpose, be motivated to use it, and then drop off while they’re still getting things set up.
Onboarding push notifications are crucial because they can help keep users engaged during this essential period so that they actually get to the part where they’re really using the app. They remind users to jump back in, and may even detail a single specific task, like creating a signup or entering in qualifying information.
This is an onboarding notification template to get you started:
Title: (Completion status)
Description: Complete (action) now to (benefit).
It may look like these two examples:
When you have a new feature or a new product you want to announce, push notifications are a fantastic option. These push notifications will draw users’ attention to what’s new, and take them directly to the new feature when they click.
Here’s a template to get you started:
Title: New (Feature/product)
Description: (Mention “new”) (feature/benefit)
There are plenty of different ways to adopt this basic template, including the following:
Geo-push notifications are push notifications that are distributed based on a user’s physical location. You can put “geo fences” up so that your notifications will be distributed either to users within a specific radius or when they enter it.
So, if a customer walks near the shopping center where your brick-and-mortar store is located, you could send them a 10% discount. Or if you want to send all users in the US a notification for Thanksgiving but don’t want Canadians to get it (as they don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving), that’s where geo-push notifications come into play.
Some geo-pushes will reference the user’s location, but some won’t. Those that don’t can use other templates discussed in this post, based on what you’re trying to achieve or the strategy you’re using.
This is a good template to get you started if you specifically want to reference the user’s location:
Title: (Reference location)
Description: (CTA to take specific action) (Value offer)
It may look like this:
When users complete their account setup and have started using the app, it’s important to keep them engaged. Regular engagement means longer retention and higher revenue, whether through longer-term subscriptions, more in-app purchases, or more ads interacted with.
Re-engagement notifications are designed to bring users back to engage continually. They should remind users to come back to the app for a specific purpose.
Common examples may include:
The titles here will vary depending on the specific type of action you’re asking users to take, but this is a good basic template to start with:
Title: (Summarize alert in 3-5 words)
Description: (State task you want users to complete) (Optional: include time frame)
There’s a lot of diversity in what this may look like, but these are a few good examples you can adapt for your business:
When users fail to log in to the app for a certain period of time, they’re at risk of churn. This means they’re largely disengaged, and there's a risk they'll stop using the app or even delete it altogether.
Churn can be users who haven’t logged into the application for one, two, three, or four weeks; the window depends on the type of app in question.
Push notifications can be used to re-engage users who have already churned and failed to log in for a long period of time, or for those who have a high probability of churn (which can be identified based on machine learning algorithms). MyTracker has a churn prediction tool to make it easier for you to find and re-engage these users through different tactics, including a well-timed push notification.
Churn notifications should remind users of the value that they can get from using your app, and occasionally offering a too-good-to-refuse deal or freebie can go a long way.
This is a basic template you can try:
Title: (Reference to delayed usage/ result of delayed usage)
Description: (Highlight value with potential emotional impact) (Stress timeliness / delayed usage)
This is what it may look like:
A fast and easy way to grow your user base is to leverage the one you already have. Plenty of apps have some sort of “compete with friends” feature, or a “share with friends” feature. Gaming apps may allow you to team up or compete against each other; style apps might let you share outfit ideas, and fitness apps can let you see who is working out when, or who completed specific challenges.
You can drive these actions with “compete with friends” push notifications that invite users to challenge, invite, or team up with friends.
Here’s the basic template you need:
Title: (Reference friend activity)
Description: (CTA to invite friends) (Explain why or highlight benefit)
And here are a few examples of how you can adapt the template for your app:
A common marketing tactic for different types of apps is a confirmation offer. When users opt in to your email list, premium subscriptions, or even just download your app, you present them with an offer as new users to try to get them to convert.
eCommerce apps may offer users an exclusive 15% off code just for downloading the app, for example. Social apps — including dating apps — often offer users free trials or a discount on in-app currencies in order to “see the most the app has to offer.” Games typically give you in-game freebies to get you hooked.
The idea here is to capture new user interest, leveraging initial value in order to drive more purchases now and later on. When users see how great that premium service is after using it for free, what’s just $5 for 500 lives for one month?
So, here’s a basic template you’ll want to use:
Title: Get [Offer] [Discount/Free]
Description: [Welcome message], so [action] to get [offer] and [benefit]
This is what this may look like:
It’s common for apps of all types to have sales, though the type of sales typically depends on the type of app. Examples include:
It’s important for these push notifications to leverage urgency and scarcity in order to convince users to move, along with reminding them about the value of what the sale offers.
Here’s a template:
Title: (Sale announcement)
Description: (Scarcity/ urgency leverage) (Sale announcement) (Value highlight)
With these push notifications, you can show a user products that will complement the product they’ve left in their cart.
The idea here is to create a product deal and give a user a discount to make them see how it would be a valuable purchase and potentially trigger purchase intent.
Here’s a template:
Title: (Reference to the product left in the cart)
Description: (Highlight the value) (Discount announcement)
And here’s what it may look like:
eCommerce apps typically have order alert features baked into the development side. Users love knowing when their orders have been received, and they especially love knowing when they’ve been shipped.
In order to keep users excited (and to prevent messages to your customer service department), consider testing order update push notifications. You can let users know when it’s been received, packaged, shipped, or delivered.
This is the template we recommend:
Title: Order (Status)
Description: (Optional: Greeting). Your order (optional: order number) (status).
And this is what it would look like:
Gaining feedback is a crucial part of growing a business and improving your app. You can get ideas for new features or learn about glitches or frustrations that you may not have discovered otherwise. (Although if you think you have some drops in user engagement, you can look for sources manually with these tactics.)
You can use push notifications to send users to a poll where they can give you feedback about their in-app experience. When you do this through push notification, you’re not disrupting users while they’re actually using the app, and they can come back to it later if they’re not ready now, which can increase the poll engagement and completion rates.
You can also use geotargeting to send feedback request notifications to those users who used a coupon or scanned a QR-code at your shop or restaurant asking them to rate their experience.
Here’s the template you need:
Title: (CTA to share thoughts)
Description: What do you think of (app / feature)? (CTA to share thoughts) (Optional: reference speed of survey)
Here’s what it may look like:
The templates above are a great start. Combine them with a detailed strategy and a few best practices and you’ll be on your way to high-click, high-converting push notifications.
To help you get there, these are a few of the best push notification copywriting tips we’ve got:
Always split test your push notifications. You want to know what’s driving clicks and what isn’t, so you can optimize accordingly. MyTracker can help you see which push notifications are driving real actions with the help of custom events.
Opt for personalization. Personalization — such as using the user’s name, referencing what they purchased, or even just using basic segmentation based on in-app activity — can go a long way to increasing the relevance and click rates of push notifications.
The re-engagement push notification below, for example, mentioned my dog’s name and showed me an album the app auto-created for me.
Test out emojis. Sometimes, depending on your brand voice, emojis don’t quite have a place in push notifications, but sometimes they do. They can add something unique, draw attention, and can even cut down on your character count when used in place of the full words. You can see a great example of this in the new feature push notification below.
Stick to your brand voice. Knowing your brand voice and really owning it is important. It’s a crucial part of what helps set your app apart. You can have one fitness tracking app that implies you’re a wimp if you skip a workout, and one that’s encouraging you to stay healthy. If you need help with this, create a branded language guide with your content or marketing team — that can help.
Be specific. Tell users exactly what the push notification is about, whether it’s for a sale, re-engagement, welcome series, or more. You need to motivate them to click, and giving them a specific task or alert is the way to go. On Bumble BFF, for example, they don’t just say “someone messaged you;” they let me know that someone I’m having an ongoing conversation with shot me back a message, which makes me more likely to open it.
Convey urgency and scarcity when possible. Urgency and scarcity are two powerful tools marketers use to drive prompt user action. Letting users know that a certain action, perk, discount, or task is only available for a short time is a good way to earn a click. This can be an opportunity to earn bonus points, get extra matches on a dating app, or get some sort of sale or freebie; it doesn’t matter. Make sure you let them know that time is running out to watch your click rate increase.
Any type of copywriting that requires strict brevity and conciseness needs some practice, and that includes mobile push notifications. The good news is that having a few templates on hand can help you prioritize the crucial information you need to include and have a basic formatting suggestion to get you started.
All of the push notification templates we’ve shared are designed to be highly adaptable and completely customizable, making it easy for you to implement them for your own business so you can get the click rates you’re hoping for.