Digital Marketing, Thought Leaders

The Google Notification Feature & How to Adapt Your Brand

October 14, 2020

by Aaron Chichioco

CCO & Web Designer, Design Doxa

Google Chrome’s quieter permissions UI poses new challenges to businesses that use push notifications as part of their digital marketing strategy. This article discusses how brands can mitigate the effects of the Chrome update and continue to reap the benefits of push marketing.

Push notifications are messages that appear on websites and mobile devices via an alert bubble. They can pop up at any time — users don’t have to be logged into a website or app to receive them.

How the New Notification Feature Works and How You Can Adapt:

  1. How do push notifications work?
  2. By the numbers: benefits of push notifications for businesses
  3. Integrating push notifications on websites powered by AMP technology
  4. Google cracks down on push notifications with quieter permission UI
  5. Conditions for blocking push notifications
  6. 5 ways you can adapt to the silent permissions
  7. Adapt to Chrome’s push notifications UI successfully

How Do Push Notifications Work?

Push notifications are used to achieve a variety of marketing goals. Some ways businesses use push notifications are:

  • Inform users about new products or services
  • Ask users to subscribe to receive new content or website/app updates
  • Let users know about special offers and events

By the Numbers: Benefits of Push Notifications for Businesses

Push notifications can be used to boost conversions, retain customers, and encourage purchases.

85% of e-commerce users enable push notifcfations

Unlike emails that can be caught in spam filters or left unread, push notifications allow brands to speak directly to consumers. What’s more, it reminds consumers of their offerings even when they’re not actively using their app or website.

Push notifications improve user retention

  • 65% of users open an app again within 30 days from when push notifications are enabled.
  • 48% of mobile app users made an in-store purchase after receiving a push notification.

 48% of mobile users make instore purchases

The benefits apply to all types of businesses, whether it’s a local lash business with a website or an online retailer with an e-commerce store. 

Average CTR of web push notifications 

  • Automated web push campaigns can increase click-through rates (CTR) by up to 15%.
  • 9% of publishers increase traffic through the use of web push.

Integrating Push Notifications on Websites Powered by AMP Technology

Websites powered by AMP technology load quickly on desktop and mobile devices. The reduced load time helps improve Google search rankings

AMP logo


Businesses can incorporate push notifications into their content strategy to get the most out of their increased user traffic. With push notifications, they won’t miss an opportunity to engage with users and drive repeat visits.

However, brands should be careful not to send too many. According to Upland Software, sending 6 to 10 pushes per week can drive 31.1% of users away from an app.

Content and context are also important. Users are more likely to allow push notifications if they are delivered at the right time and contain information relevant to their preferences and needs. Otherwise, users will view push notifications as a nuisance.

The first step to benefitting from push notifications is getting users to opt-in. However, brands will face some difficulty in this area once the quieter permissions update to Google Chrome has been rolled out to all users.

Google Cracks Down on Push Notifications with Quieter Permission UI

Google released the 80th version of the Chrome web browser in February, and it came with several changes. One highly significant change involves push notifications. 

With the new “quieter messaging UI,” Google aims to deliver an improved user experience by making push notifications less obtrusive. 

This update is expected to reduce the amount of push notification spam that users receive. At the same time, it still allows legitimate websites to push content to users.

Google will automatically roll out the change to users that regularly refuse push notification requests. 

However, users who don’t want to wait can opt-in manually by choosing “use quieter messaging” in Chrome’s Notifications settings. Users who choose this option will no longer receive notification requests in the form of alert bubbles or pop-ups. 

Instead, notification requests will be hidden under an icon in the address bar. Users will have the option to view the request if they wish to. Websites that fit certain criteria will also have their push notifications automatically blocked.

Conditions for Blocking Push Notifications

With the update, Chrome will automatically block notifications from sites with low push opt-in rates. Also, websites can have their push notifications blocked by default if they:

  • Provide irrelevant notifications
  • Deliver an excessive number of notifications
  • Use push notifications to deliver malware or for other deceptive purposes

5 Ways You Can Adapt to the Silent Permissions

Businesses can expect to have their opt-in and engagement rates decrease once the new Chrome feature has been fully implemented. However, they can still benefit from the power of push notifications by changing their approach and making notifications more timely and contextual.

Here are some ways brands can update their marketing and blogging strategies to reduce their chances of being automatically blocked by Chrome and increase the odds of users opting into their push notifications.

1. Provide the Benefit

A soft ask opt-in is a request for push notifications that appears before the hard ask or the default browser-based or app-based push notifications prompt. The soft ask can be customized to convey why the user should allow push notifications.  

Soft asks can be more effective than hard asks in securing permissions as they provide users with reasons to opt-in. They give context and allow businesses to incorporate value propositions.

B2B companies that offer free trials to their marketing tools and resources can let users know about this perk by customizing their soft ask messaging. If you provide subscribers with exclusive content, let them know right away. Frontloading benefits via soft asks gives users an incentive to opt-in.

Users are more likely to enable notifications that provide them with a clear benefit based on their preferences and consumer profile. For instance, websites can use location-based notifications to deliver deals that are likely to appeal to users in a particular area. 

This method relies on user data and permission to use their location information. When a user is in a specified area, it triggers a push notification that notifies them of local special promos, events, or business service offers.  

If the user refuses the soft ask, you can send another permission request later on. The benefits are twofold: the first refusal won’t be counted against you by Google and you get the chance to send another prompt and engage with the customer at a later stage.

2. Provide Options

A preference center is a place within your website or app that allows users to modify their interactions. By having the ability to customize notification settings, users have more control over the amount and type of notifications they receive.

Preference centers provide unsatisfied users with options other than opting out. For instance, users like your content but are unhappy with the notification blasts they get following each visit. By providing the ability to reduce the number of notifications they receive, you improve their user experience and encourage return visits.

3. Ask When the Time is Right

Most websites trigger push notifications the moment a user visits them. According to Google, websites that ask users to sign up when they first arrive on the site have very low acceptance rates.

Push notifications triggered by a visit, especially those that block part of the page, can be annoying to users in a hurry to access the information they need. As a result, users often quickly refuse notifications.

One way to prevent this is by asking users to subscribe at relevant points of their journey. For instance, imagine that a user has just finished reading a blog on your website. Your site can then provide a push notification asking them to subscribe for updates on future posts.

4. Test and Refine Opt-in Prompts

Businesses should follow best practices and A/B test push notifications using some of the many tools available online. Google recommends using Chrome Canary, a Chrome version explicitly meant for developers, to test push notification flow with the quieter notification permission UI. 

Keep track of KPIs and study what your best-performing competitors’ push notification strategies are. Over time, you’ll be able to determine the timing, tone, and benefits that work best to push users toward accepting your opt-in prompts.   

5. Offer Rewards for Opting-in

Rewarding users drives engagement, increases sales, and boosts loyalty. Digital marketing agencies can utilize push notifications to inform customers of seasonal sales, discounts, and access to exclusive tools and resources. 

According to an Upland Software report, a special offer based on user preferences is the most requested type of push notification. 

Adapt to Chrome’s Push Notifications UI Successfully

Push notifications are an effective way to reach users and keep them engaged. While the Google Chrome update poses new difficulties to businesses that utilize push marketing, these challenges are far from impossible. 

By making changes to the timeliness, content, personalization, and relevance of their push notifications, businesses can still get the results they aim for.  

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