When you write a message, you're likely trying to do one of three things: start a conversation, get your users to do something right now, or help them understand your product more deeply. Our message types are designed to fit those jobs. With Intercom you can set your message to arrive any way you like: upfront in full or through a less disruptive snippet or badge.

Here’s how to send the right message, in the right way each and every time. 

Want to start a conversation? Send a chat.

Maybe you want feedback about a specific feature or to invite your customers to ask questions, for example. Your check-up messages should definitely be chats.

Choose the delivery style for a chat

When you’re sending a very short message, or you need an answer from your customers fast, be sure to deliver your chat in full. 

For longer messages, or when you don’t need a response right away, you should send your chat as: 

  • A badge (which shows the unread message count).
  • Or as a snippet (which shows the first few words of your message).

For example, you can send a message that offers people help choosing a product as a snippet. Then your website visitors can open your message at a time that suits them.

Pro tip: To entice people to open a snippet, make the first few words engaging and indicate what your message is about. Try leading with a question you know your customers want answered.

Want your users to take action? Send a note.

Choose a note when you want your customers to take a specific action. Maybe you want them to read a help article, watch a how-to video or create their first project, for example. It’s likely that most of your onboarding messages will be notes.

Choose the delivery style for a note

When something is very important and you want your customers to take action right away, deliver your note in ‘full’. We recommend sending less pressing notes as badges or snippets.

For example, if you’re inviting your customers to check out your docs site, you can send your note as a badge.

Have a longer story to tell? Send a post.

A post gives you more room to play with, so it’s useful for telling a longer story that really matters to you. Maybe you want to walk your users through a guide, announce a new price plan or promote an important new feature, for example. They’re also great for product updates that require longer text, or large images and video.

Pro tip: A post takes over your customer’s full screen but they won’t see the full story straight away. Your message should entice them to scroll down and find out more.

Subtle notifications work best for posts

Full posts take over your customer’s screen entirely and immediately. Only use them for very important announcements, when you definitely want to interrupt customers. For less pressing announcements, we recommend notifying your customers with a snippet or a badge.  

Test different notifications to see what works best

Depending on the content of your message and the audience you're targeting, different notifications will work better at different times. You can optimize each message by A/B testing two options, then choosing the one that works best. For example, you might see whether more customers take action on an onboarding message sent as a note, when it's delivered as a snippet or in full.

When to use reactions

When you don’t have time to manage a ton of text replies, let your customers reply to messages with fun and expressive reactions instead (available on our Messages Pro plan). Messages that encourage action pair best with reactions rather than text responses as your customers can focus on your call to action, rather than replying to your message.

Intercom in-app messages on mobile

In-app messages work the same for your iOS and Android app. Here’s how they look on mobile:

Let Answer bot respond when your customers reply

If you use Answer bot to resolve common questions, you can let it respond when customers reply to your auto messages, and attempt to resolve the conversation automatically.

On step 4 "Set a follow-up", switch this toggle to "On" to let Answer bot respond:

What’s next?

Now that you know what message types, notifications and reply types to choose, it’s time to create helpful and relevant message content that truly engages your customers. 

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