Intro to Messages


A message is content you create to notify and inform your users.

Key Terms

A workflow is a method of creating messages via the dashboard. Workflows are defined by what you can include and control:

  • Message types
  • Delivery
  • Automation

Message Types

There are several message types. The different message types are defined by how they are experienced by the user. Some message types support Automation of delivery or display based on triggers. See the descriptions and additional information in Message and Workflow Types.

  • Push notification

    • Silent push notification
    • Web push notification
  • In-app message
  • Message Center
  • Apple News notification
  • Email notification
  • SMS notification


A message can be sent to all of an app's or website's users, a section of users, defined test user groups, or to lists of users.

Learn more in How Messages Work: Your Audience.

Behavior and Appearance

When you create a message, you can determine various aspects of the message depending on message type. The most basic appearance division is whether the message is text only or styled. Within styled messages are various options to control colors, include media and buttons, and designate what actions occur when a user interacts with the message.

The display of a message varies per message type, based on:

  • Display format: The visual format of the message.
  • Display timing: When the message appears.
  • Display location: Where the message appears.

Display Format

Mobile and Web

Styled messages are banner, modal, or fullscreen.

  • Banner messages appear at the top or bottom of your screen, sliding up from the bottom of the screen, or down from the top. They are designed to be less obtrusive to users than modal or fullscreen messages, by taking only a portion of the screen and not fully interrupting the user from their current task. Example uses include informational messages, news alerts, or promotions that do not deserve a full user interruption.

  • Modal messages take over the user’s screen, compelling the user to interact with them. Modals are typically used to prompt users to reply to a question or make a quick decision. The message window is smaller than the full width of the screen, superimposed on the app with a translucent background, assuring the user that the interruption is temporary.

  • Fullscreen messages are similar to modal messages but take over the entire screen, providing more real estate for your message.


Email notifications are based on a templates. If created from the dashboard, there are three layouts to choose from, or you can provide your own HTML when creating email templates via the API. You may also enter a text-only version for email clients that do not render HTML.

Display Timing

The display timing of a message varies per message type, but messages typically become available to recipients:

  • Push notification: Upon receipt.

    • Silent push notification: Not displayed.
    • Web push notification: Upon receipt, as long as the browser is open..
  • In-app message: Upon opening the app.
  • Message Center: Available in the app's Message Center.
  • Apple News notification: Upon receipt.
  • Email notification: Upon opening the message.
  • SMS notification: Upon receipt.

You can choose to send a message immediately, schedule its delivery for a certain date and time, or send at Optimal Time. Scheduled messages may also be delivered per time zone.


Automation is the delivery or display of a message when certain conditions have been met.

  • Event triggers determine what event must occur before your message will send. These messages may be sent immediately, scheduled, or sent during an available window.

  • Display triggers determine what must occur before your app will display a message. In-App Automation workflow only.

    The In-App Automation workflow does not have delivery settings. The messages are instead stored on the user’s device then displayed according to the triggers you define.

Display Location

Message alerts are handled natively per platform and according to user preferences. The display location of the full message content varies per message type:

  • Push notification: Any screen on a mobile device.

    • Silent push notification: Not displayed.
    • Web push notification: A desktop/laptop's top right or bottom left corner.
  • In-app message: Within an app only.
  • Message Center: Within an app's Message Center inbox.
  • Apple News notification: Any screen on a mobile device.
  • Email notification: The recipient's email inbox.
  • SMS notification: The recipient device's native SMS client.

See descriptions and links to detailed documentation for each in Message and Workflow Types.


Message Center, Email, and SMS are persistent message types. Even if the alerts for these messages are dismissed, the message content can still be viewed in the app's Message Center, email inbox, or the device's native SMS client until the message is deleted by its recipient.

For all other message types, once the message is dismissed, it cannot be retrieved to be viewed again. A message's linked content, e.g., a web link, deep link, an Apple News story, remains available as determined by the source host.


Create message templates with variables that you can populate at send time, making sure that your messages are always pertinent and interesting. Email notifications should always be created with a template. See:

Creating Messages

To get messages to your users, you need:

Learn more in How messages and passes work. The Engage Getting Started Guide walks you through the whole process.


Try sending messages now, using our 1st Flight app. No development required!