There are two ways you can send push notifications to customers through Intercom; Push Messages or Push Notifications. Here we explain each: 

  • You can send a push message. This is a message that allows you to deep link to a specific page in your mobile app so it’s useful for directing customers to a particular feature, for example. 
  • Or you can send a push notification to notify customers that you have sent them an in-app message. This is useful for starting a conversation with customers or when you need more space to get your message across than a push message allows. 

To enable both options, you’ll first need to configure your push notifications to work with your iOS and Android app. And to create a push message you’ll need to update to a minimum SDK v.1.1.16 for Android or to a minimum SDK v.2.3.17 for iOS. As we regularly improve our features, we recommend updating to the latest SDK version.

How push messages work 

A push message is a message you can send to customers that links customers to a specific page in your mobile app without having to start a conversation. When a customer clicks on your push message they’ll land directly on that page. This encourages customers to focus their attention entirely on your call to action. 

iOS push message example: 

Android push message example:

Why send a push message? 

Push messages are perfect for announcing new features or sending promotional offers as you can deep link customers directly to that feature or landing page. They’re also great for re-engaging inactive users and bringing them back to your mobile app. You can even send messages to users based on actions they’ve taken inside your app. For example, you can set up a push message about your new photo sharing feature to send right after your customer uploads a photo for the first time. To do this, you’ll first need to create an event in Intercom

You can also set a goal for each push message to help you measure its success. For example, you can set a goal to track who and how many customers used your photo sharing feature after getting that message. And you can check your stats to see how many customers opened your message too.

How to send push messages 

When you’re creating a manual or auto message, just select ‘Push’ as your channel.

Then choose where you would like your customers to see your message first (on an Android or iOS device). If you have both an iOS and Android app, you can send your message to both your iOS and Android customers. Just click ‘All devices.’ 

Next, choose your audience. 

In the ‘Write your message’ section, enter your iOS and Android URIs. Your URI is the page you would like to direct customers to after clicking your message (chat to your developer to get one of these for the page you want to link to). 

Give your message a title and write your message. Remember that your customers will read your message on a mobile device so keep it short, snappy and to the point. 

If you’d like your automated push message to send at exactly the right time for your customers, you can add a delivery window. 

Note: Delivery windows are only enabled for automatic push messages and emails. Manual push messages don't have this. 

Important information: 

  • Unlike our other message types, you can’t add images, video or HTML blocks to your push messages. You can only use plain text. This helps keep your message short and personal which is perfect for mobile. 
  • You can make your message even more personal by adding personalized variables that automatically pull in your users’ first name, company name or even an event that you’ve created. For example, your message can pull in and display the number of times your customer has uploaded a photo. 
  • Push messages encourage customers to take action, rather than chat. So your customers can’t reply to a push message.

How push notifications work 

You can send mobile push notifications to your users if you would like to notify them that they have received an in-app message. All push notifications link directly to an in-app message. Once you've configured push notifications to work with your iOS or Android app, mobile push notifications are automatically sent to users for all your replies to conversations. Customers can also reply to in-app messages you send through push notifications. 

Messages are counted as Sent once a push notification is sent, and marked as Seen when a user opens the in-app message.

Example iOS push notification:

Example Android push notification:

Manual messages

Push notifications are turned on by default for manual messages to fewer than 10 people, and are sent right away. You can choose whether a manual message should include a push notification. Once you select your channel and where you'd like your message to appear, you'll see this option. 

Auto messages

You can also send push notifications for in-app auto-messages, however they are turned off by default. These notifications are sent as soon as users meet the criteria you set in your message, even if they're not logged in. So you can use an in-app message with a push notification as a way to re-engage users who have stopped using your app. Note that push notifications are turned off by default for all new auto messages. 

Android notification channels

With the release of Android O push notifications require notification channels. We have split Intercom notifications into three notification channels:

Actions - When you send a push message from Intercom to your customers
New chats - When you send an in-app message with "notify mobile app users with a push notification" checked
Chat replies - When you reply to a customer in the Intercom messenger

Your users can go to notification settings and turn off individual channels now, rather than having to disable all push notifications.

Note: this does not affect iOS notifications.

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