Message Actions

Actions are a powerful way to enhance the user experience of your app users. From a technology perspective, the Urban Airship Actions framework represents a big leap forward in the potential use cases surrounding mobile messaging.

Actions introduce a level of sophistication to mobile messaging previously unseen, and combined with other Urban Airship products and features such as Automation and Rich Pages, dramatically extend your ability to measure the interplay between your messaging strategy and user behavior.

An Action is a command, or in more complicated scenarios, a set of instructions, that you issue along with your message; the app will execute a given Action Type upon the completion of a given behavior.

With Actions, you gain much greater control of your users’ experience with your app, and can not only provide them with more relevant, specific app content, you can learn from their usage and continue to do so over time.

Actions in the Composers

When composing a Message, Automation, A/B Test, or Message Template, you must choose which Action occurs after a user taps or swipes your message.

  • Home Screen opens the app’s home screen.

  • Home Screen (combined) opens the app’s Home Screen for a Push Notification, and dismisses the In-App Message.

  • Dismiss Message dismisses the In-App Message.

  • Message Center opens a rich page that is saved in the user’s Message Center inbox.

  • Landing Page opens a rich page that appears until it is closed, and it is not stored in the user’s Message Center inbox.

  • Deep Link opens to a configured screen within your app or on the web.

  • Web Page opens to a web page or any valid-device level URL such as App Store or app protocol links.

  • Share prompts the user to share the message on social networks.

The Message Actions listed in a composer’s dropdown menu differ depending on which message type you choose, and if you choose to combine message types. Refer to each composer’s Content section for a specific list.

Rich Pages

Rich Pages include HTML, video, etc., and are created as part of message creation the workflow in the Message, Automation, and A/B Tests composers.

Rich Pages are used with the Action types Landing Page and Message Center, however Message Center is not available in A/B Tests.

From the mobile user perspective, the key difference between a rich page in Landing Pages and Message Center is the navigational chrome:

  • Landing Pages open as an overlay with a Close (X) button, which takes the user to the app’s home screen. A Landing Page is not persistent, i.e., does not remain available for later viewing within the Message Center UI. Example:
  • Message Center messages open in the Message Center context, which contains navigation back to the Message Center inbox. Example, with Inbox navigation:

Rich Content Editor documents how to create rich pages.

Actions from Rich Pages

Rich Pages can be configured with buttons that perform these Actions:

  • Deep Link
  • URL
  • Share

See Rich Content Editor: Action Links for set up instructions.

App Configuration and Requirements

Configuration options and requirements vary per Action. To get the latest SDK for your iOS, Android, or Amazon project, visit the appropriate Platform page.

Actions that do not require configuration, cannot be disabled from appearing in the composers, and do not have a minimum SDK:

Actions that require configuration, can be disabled from appearing in the composers, and have a minimum SDK:

The minimum SDK version is listed in the Settings » Configuration menu, along with an enable/disable toggle. See Settings: Configuration.

The Share Action is an exception to these two lists. It requires configuration, cannot be disabled from appearing in composers, and its minimum SDK is 4.0.

Action Types

View the Action Types as they appear in the message composers, along with the definition, options, and set up steps for each.

Home Screen

Home Screen opens the app’s home screen.

Home Screen (combined)

This action is available when you have combined a Push Notification and In-App Message.

Home Screen opens the app’s Home Screen for a Push Notification, and dismisses the In-App Message.

Dismiss Message

Dismiss Message dismisses the In-App Message.

Message Center

Message Center opens a rich page that is saved in the user’s Message Center inbox. See Rich Pages for more information and an example Message Center image.

Click the Create button to create a new Rich Page. Usage steps are in Rich Content Editor.

Landing Page

Landing Page opens a rich page that appears until it is closed, and it is not stored in the user’s Message Center inbox. See Rich Pages for more information and a example Landing Page image.

Click the Create button to create a new Rich Page. Usage steps are in Rich Content Editor.

The default behavior in the iOS SDK is to not display the Landing Page when the corresponding push notification is received while the app is in the foreground state. The logic behind this behavior is that you may not wish to interrupt or distract a user who is currently occupied with the app, only to ask them to visit a different part of the app.

If you need to display a Landing Page while the app is in the foreground state, replace the registry predicate associated with that action with one that allows foreground execution.

In the Urban Airship SDK, this relative state between what the app is doing now and how the action was invoked is known as a situation, or more properly,

  UASituation

. Other examples of situations besides foreground state include background push and app launched from push notification.

Please see the

  UA Action Arguments Class Reference

for more detail on the methods involved with this display behavior.

Deep Link opens to a configured screen within your app or on the web. The Deep Link must be preconfigured, then selected from this dropdown menu. See Settings: Configuration: Deep Links.

If you selected a Deep Link template, each template segment field will be available to fill in.

If no links have been predefined, you will see a link to the configuration settings, if you have sufficient privileges. If this option is not available, contact your Urban Airship administrator.

You can also provide a Deep Link from a Landing Page or Message Center rich page. See Rich Content Editor: Action Links: Deep Link for set up instructions.

Our Deep Link functionality supports URL templates, which expose a friendly interface to your users in our UI, while constructing the correct URL behind the scenes on the fly. You can specify substitution parameters by enclosing them in brackets. For example, if you want to define a Deep Link for a product page screen in your app (or on your mobile website), you can make the product ID number a substitution parameter. Here is an example URL:

http://yourcompany.com/products/{Product Id}

When you enter this URL in the Urban Airship interface, the form parses it and previews the form your users see in the Message Composer. It automatically identifies “Product Id” as the parameter name, and provides a field to substitute in the actual identifier. So if you had previously entered a product ID of 1872983490 for the above Product ID, the generated URL would be:

http://yourcompany.com/products/1872983490

The interface treats all values for each field as a string.

See Settings: Configuration: Deep Links.

Web Page

Web Page opens to a web page or any valid-device level URL such as App Store or app protocol links. The web page opens in the device’s default browser. Enter a URL.

You can also provide a Web Page URL from a Landing Page or Message Center rich page. See Rich Content Editor: Action Links: URL for set up instructions.

Share

Share prompts the user to share the message on social networks. Enter the text you would like to accompany the share, including any promotional information, shortened links, hashtags, etc.

You can prompt a user to Share in two additional places:

  1. A Landing Page or Message Center rich page. See Rich Content Editor: Action Links: Share for set up instructions.

  2. An Interactive Notification button. See the Content: Optional Features section in our composer documentation: