What are push and in-app notifications?

Push and in-app notifications are like cousins. Just about similar, but also quite different.

They share some common traits, such as being able to engage and inform users and providing control for the user. But it stops there because there are a number of key differences that should be taken into consideration when deciding which type of notification to use.

Push notifications are messages sent to a user on their device, even when they’re not actively using a businesses’ app.

In-App notifications are sent through the businesses’ app, and only when the user has opened the app and is interacting within that.

Push notifications usually try to capture the attention of the user and lures them back into using the app, while in-app notifications help the user navigate through the app to get the full blown benefits available to them.

In addition to that, push notifications typically offer limited interaction options, while in-app notifications can provide more detailed and interactive options. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on what the brand intends to achieve as well as what the user wants to imbibe.

I found some really interesting trivia about push notifications that makes this channel of communication so much more intriguing!

  • Did you know that the open rate of push notifications is 50% higher than that of email marketing?! Also, click rate by 7 times, and retention rates by 93%!
  • Tuesday is the best day to get a juicy push reaction rate.
  • 40% of users interact with the app within one hour of getting a notification.
  • Adding actionable CTAs can boost push notification campaign outcomes by 40+%

How do push notifications differ from in-app notifications?


Which notification should you choose for your business? Push, or in-app?

It’s Sophie’s choice, really!

Ideally, a mix of both, depending on the needs of your business, and the kind of app you have built. The approximate formula to use would be to check your engagement rate and then see where it needs a pull-up, and accordingly, deploy a mode of communication there that will rake in better numbers. They each have pros and cons of engaging, but as long as you’re able to segment the notifications and send meaningful communications, then this table below might help you choose the distribution between the two.


It’s also important to keep in mind that push or in-app notifications, particularly when overdone, can rapidly become a negative experience for the user if it isn’t regulated smartly. Here are some common mistakes you could potentially avoid, to chalk up a fail-proof, successful plan.

Some use cases for push notifications

  • Abandoned shopping carts
  • Payment confirmations and failures
  • App abandoners
  • Time-sensitive alerts and reminders
  • Flash sales, discounts

Some use cases for in-app notifications

  • Opt-in request for push notifications
  • In-app purchases
  • Features and upgrades
  • Feedback requests
  • Transactional progress
  • Personalized promotions

Examples of push notifications

Push Notifications
Push Notifications for gaming
Push Notifications that push for urgency

Examples of in-app notifications

In-App notifications
In-App Notifications

To sum it up, push notifications and in-app notifications both serve different purposes and are used in vastly different ways. Both can be effective in engaging and informing users, and the choice between the two will depend on the specific needs and goals of the app and its users.

What are you more inclined towards? Tell me in the comments below, and why!

See you in the next,

Team Fyno