Interactive Notifications Primer

Interactive Notifications

iOS8, Android, and Amazon support push notifications with additional buttons for secondary, complementary actions, allowing users to interact with notifications from outside of the app. There are a number of common options for actions that are enabled by the Urban Airship SDK (5.0 or later). Additionally, you can define any number of custom interactions for a specific use case.

Interactive Notifications can drive the user to:

  • Take immediate, specific action

  • Make decisions or choices

  • Express preferences

Interactive notifications create up to 3 distinct action pathways per push: when the user taps on the push, and when they click on each additional button.

Each pathway can take advantage of Urban Airship’s Actions Framework to:

  • Direct the user to a destination: App Home Screen, Landing Page, Message Center Page, Deep Link, or URL.

  • Set a tag to mark the event, for retargeting manually or through an Automated Message.

  • Record a conversion event: each button tap is counted up and reported on in per-push reports, thanks to the new Conversion Events functionality.

Built-in Interactive Notifications

Urban Airship has pre-defined 37 Interactive Notification types to match the most common use cases that we have identified. Our SDK also includes translations for these buttons in several languages. In addition to text-based interactive notification types, Urban Airship also provides Emoji buttons. Use emojis to track user sentiment on a certain story or offer. To learn more, see our iOS and Android/Amazon documentation.

Share Action

We have provided a new action that drives users to share information when they swipe a push, click on an Interactive Notification button, or click on a button in a rich page. This action allows you to pass along separate sharing text, which can be different from the notification message and more suitable to social sharing. For example, the sharing text might include a shortened URL or hashtags, e.g. if posted to Twitter.

Using Interactive Notifications

First, make sure your app is using SDK 5.0 or later. If you are using an earlier SDK, see our SDK Migration Guides.

Once your app is on a supported version of the SDK, you can use either the API or Messsage Composer to send an Interactive Notification. For information on sending Interactive Notifications via the API, please see the API documentation.

Before you can start using Interactive Notifications in the Message Composer, you must enable the feature through Go. To do so, navigate to the Settings ยป Configuration menu, and set the Notification Buttons, Share Action toggle to ON:

By default, new apps have notification buttons enabled.

Once your settings are configured correctly, you may use an Engage composer to send an Interactive Notification.

Interaction Strategy: Think Ahead!

The 5.0.0 or later version of the Urban Airship SDK is required to use Interactive Notifications.

An Interactive Notification must exist as a predefined type (or “category,” in iOS) which defines the number of associated buttons and their characteristics. This type must be coded in the application build before being deployed to the App Store, so that a user’s app will be aware of the pathways for the interaction.

Practically speaking, this means that you must know which buttons to present and which labels they must have before preparing your app update.

Think through your use cases carefully before assigning the Interactive Notification type in your app update. If you want a custom action to occur, e.g., “Call Your Mother!,” you must register the custom type in the project beforehand.

As mentioned above, you may use any of the predefined common interactions or create a custom one. See Interactive Notifications for examples.

Each Interactive Notification has the following attributes:

  • Display Name - plain text name displayed in our UI

  • Type - alphanumeric identifier passed to device via push, aka the APNs “category” that triggers the correct interactive notification to be displayed

  • Description - text description displayed in our UI

  • 1-2 Buttons

    • Label - text field - for UI preview only, not passed via push. Button labels are hard-coded in the mobile app.

    • Foreground - boolean - if true the button has a foreground action, meaning it opens directly into the app or another destination. If false it runs a background action, meaning it executes some code behind the scenes and the notification simply disappears

    • Destructive - for UI preview only, not passed via push. Destructive buttons appear red on the device.

Custom Interactions

Urban Airship supports out-of-the box interactions and iOS 8, Android, and Amazon support custom interactions as well.

See the iOS and Android/Amazon interactive notification documentation for technical details on implementing custom interactions.