How Facebook, Instagram, And Other Social Platform Engage Their Users with Push  Notifications

How Facebook, Instagram, And Other Social Platform Engage Their Users with Push Notifications

A push message is the best way to add value to the user journey. Properly planned and analyzed push messages can not only improve the loyalty for the brand but also drive more sales which is the ultimate goal of any business.

Luka Nikolić
Luka Nikolić

A notification is a message which pops up on the device of the user based on certain events. Notifications that show up while you are using a web application or website are known as bold text. Whereas the notifications that can pop up at any time on your browser, whether you are actively using the website or not, are known as Push Notifications.

Social Media websites give you the option to switch push notifications on or off. When you log in to a website on your browser, for example, Chrome, you see a popup that asks if you want to enable send Notifications or not. That prompt is referring to push notifications: notifications that you will receive on your desktop even if you are not using the website. In this era of digitization, push-notification is an exciting marketing tool for many businesses. Even for businesses that use social media marketing for publicizing their product/service, push notifications to give a boost to customer engagement. If properly strategized, push notifications can bring you a lot of traffic, and potential revenue.

But be warned, if this feature is overused, it may spam the user with annoying pop-ups. And the user will eventually turn off push notifications from the browser settings. Timely and relevant push notifications tend to be more persuasive, and effective. Push notifications are not only used for marketing tactics but also used to enhance the user's experience. For instance, Uber uses push notifications not only for promotions but also to share important information regarding fares, traffic flow, and alternative routes. All these push notifications enhance Uber's overall user experience and add value to the push message.

Facebook, Instagram, And Other Social Platforms

Let's take a look at how some of the giant and well-liked social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter strategize their push notifications.


Facebook is the most extensively used social media platform with a user base of millions. By default, on Facebook, all the push notifications are on. The end-user will receive notifications about a new friend request, a new message, a friend's birthday, and on every new comment or likes on their posts. But the question arises here, does the user want to be notified about a friend's birthday? Is it necessary to get the notification about the new comment on a post the user previously commented on? Probably not. But it isn't an easy question to answer. You might want to get all notifications from some family member or close friend, and you might not want to receive a notification every time a distant relative goes on vacation.

Constant pings can be irritating for casual Facebook users but for Facebook addicts, these constant push notifications are engaging. Facebook is continuously working on the customization of the push notifications according to their user's types and needs.

In the Facebook application, there is a setting panel that makes it easy for its users to turn on push notifications according to their preferences. Over time, Facebook has worked hard to improve the quality of push messages. After a series of tests, Facebook made an innovation in sending push messages, that being that Facebook bunches up similar notifications into a single message. If two or three friends have a birthday on the same day, it will show only one push notification. This approach not only improved the user experience but also made the push notifications useful because there was more information tied to one push notification.


Instagram uses push notifications to notify the users, usually about new followers, likes, and comments on their pictures. It also maintains customization options in the settings of push notification. It allows users to set notifications according to their preferences. Influencers on Instagram also use this feature now to maximize their reach by coming live on IGTV and it also provides them live interaction and feedback. From a business perspective, a push notification is sent to end-users once a seller comes live, resulting in more reach and that is what Instagram succeeded in capitalizing on. Being a part of Facebook Inc, Instagram used push notifications to similar effect as Facebook does. They have managed to find a formula where the push notifications are not too frequent, yet when a notification is sent to the user, he is intrigued by the content and more often than not, comes back to the website to check what is going on. In these cases, one push notification leads to a few minutes, sometimes hours, of scrolling and activity which is beneficial for the business.

Other social media platforms

Other than Facebook and Instagram, there are many other social interacting sites like Twitter, Pinterest, etc. which uses this push notification feature:


Twitter is a platform that heavily depends on live updates and news. When it comes to push notifications, twitter has worked hard and now gives more freedom to its users in terms of Push notifications. In Twitter's push notifications, the user isn't only notified but also they can interact with the application by using a Push Message. With the expansion of every push notification, there are some options available for the users to interact with, for instance, a user can follow the new follower, they can even write some tweets to the followers, etc. Twitter also provides various customization options in push notification settings, such as the type of notifications users want to receive or what frequency of notifications users want.

Pinterest and Snapchat

Pinterest notifications are also customizable from the setting panel of the application. The users can get notified about pin likes to re-pins. The users can also choose push notifications according to their needs from the application's settings. As far as Snapchat is concerned, it is the only app that does not have the push notification. It only notifies the user about the sent snap. After analyzing how Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are using push notifications to enhance their user engagement, one must consider the best strategies and recommended practices to enhance business engagement. Some of them are:

How Push Notifications Can Boost Engagement for Businesses

As we know, push notification is an effective way to update end-users or clients. It can be used as:

  • Push notifications can redirect clients and consumers to social media accounts of your business.
  • Special offers, promotions, and services of the brand can be sent via push notifications.
  • In e-commerce websites, push notifications can be used to restore idle carts.

So, a better strategy to increase user engagement is to be focused on value instead of spamming the user cell phones with irrelevant messages. Focused push notifications will ultimately boost the reach.


In this modern era, personalization is crucial in standing out as a unique business. Businesses that personalize push notifications for their consumers are getting high sales and user engagement. For instance, a clothing brand that sends personalized sale promotion messages to its users based on analysis of user's buying history, gender, preferences, age, and choice not only achieves their sales goals but also gets high user engagement and brand loyalty. As it decreases the hassle for the customer.

Avoid Pitfalls

Some pitfalls should be avoided:

  • Do not send generic push notifications in bulk batches because this approach will irritate the user.
  • Do not send low-value messages to the users in the middle of the night. This approach will disturb the comfort level of the customers.
  • Do not spam the user's phones with trivial push messages.

Best Practices

Like any marketing strategy, there are also some best practices for push notifications:

  • Take into consideration the target demographic.
  • Send personalized push messages according to the user's search history, gender, or age.
  • Use geo-targeting tools.
  • Choose suitable timings for maximum engagement.
  • Sync the push messages with other marketing channels of business.

Tips for Engaging Push Notifications

The usage data of the user is a good way to judge his/her preferences. By utilizing relevant data key values such as age, location, likes, dislikes, etc. any brand can fine-tune the content of their push notifications. Fine-tuning of push messages is a good approach to target a specific customer base.

Naturally, human beings want instant indulgence, the same goes with push notifications. So, it should be taken care of that only relevant content is provided in push notifications because the user will be expecting something valuable. Before delivering a push message, make sure it should be worthwhile and gives real value to the consumers or users.

The most important thing is to select a rich and interactive format to push messages. As technology is advancing, there are many buttons and media types are available within push notifications. These can easily make the content engaging and rich.

Final Thoughts

Without adapting to newer marketing tactics and tools, no business can flourish. To increase the customer base, it's now necessary to incorporate new tools. Applications that didn't pay heed to the change occurring around them usually get obsolete easily, which is evident from Facebook taking over Orkut.

A push message is the best way to add value to the user journey. Properly planned and analyzed push messages can not only improve the loyalty for the brand but also drive more sales which is the ultimate goal of any business.