October 2014 Release


Custom Events

See the Custom Events Topic Guide for a complete overview of this new feature.

Custom Events let you track user activities and key conversions in your app, and tie them back to corresponding push messaging campaigns. An Event can be tracked anywhere in an app where specific user actions are critical to the success of your app. Some examples:

  • A retail app might record an event each time a user makes a purchase following a promotional message. (Did app revenue increase in response to a “Sale” notification?)

  • An entertainment app could record an event each time a user watches a video. (Are users consuming more content because of push notification?)

  • A news app might record an event each time a user shares a story on social media. (Is the content deep-linked from notifications relevant to users?)

Push Attribution Model

Push Attribution— “An event may be attributed to a notification in different ways depending on how the user interacted with the last notification sent to the device. It can be directly or indirectly attributed to a push notification, or be unattributed.”

In order to fully understand the efficacy of your messaging strategy, you must understand which events can or cannot be explained by notifications. In keeping with our long-standing view that notifications impact usage both directly and indirectly, we have applied similar a attribution methodology to Custom Events as we have previously to Push Influence.

Setting Up Custom Events

Custom Events require the 5.0 or later version of the Urban Airship SDK, and are supported on iOS, Android, and Amazon devices.

In addition to any Custom Events that are specifically set in your app’s project code, Urban Airship will automatically track Interactive Notification button taps as Custom Events.

Setting these events in an app is very similar to adding a tag. Below are some use cases with iOS and Android sample code. Event names must not exceed 255 characters or will be ignored. Event values must be between -231 and [231 - 1] else will cause an exception. Events are automatically batched and sent in the background to minimize battery consumption.

Here is an example of a Custom Event in its simplest form, in this case tracking the number of videos played when a user taps a Play button in an app:


// Create and name an event
UACustomEvent *event = [UACustomEvent eventWithName:@"played_video"];

// Then record it
[[UAirship shared].analytics addEvent:event]

See: iOS Custom Events for details on adding events to your project.

Android and Amazon

// Create and name an event
CustomEvent event = new CustomEvent.Builder("played_video").create();

// Then record it

See: Android/Amazon Custom Events for details on adding events to your project.

User Dashboard

Custom Events on the Message Report

If you have Custom Events set up in your app, you will now see events associated with a push notification on that notification’s Message Report. The table will appear at the bottom of the report, and detail events attributed to that push notification.

This table will show events directly or indirectly attributed to the push notification, and any value associated. The columns are sortable. Please see the Per Push Report documentation for more information.

Event Tracking Report

In addition to the Custom Events associated with a particular push notification on that notification’s Message Report, the new Event Tracking Report provides an overview of all of the Custom Events recorded from your app, as well as their associated values.

This report serves as a single visualization of the most important user activities happening in your app over a selected timeframe, along with the relationship between these activities and your push audience. The columns are sortable.

Interactive Notifications

The Message Composer now supports Interactive Notifications. You can choose from the 27 built-in interactive notification types provided by Urban Airship.

The main difference between a standared push notification and an interactive notification is the addition of buttons that prompt a user to take specific action outside of the app:

In the above example, selecting Shop Now may take you to the Woman’s sandals section of The Ship, while clicking Remind Me Later could trigger a reminder notifiication that will be sent after a delay.

To add buttons to a notification via the Message Composer, click Select notification buttons, under the Notification Buttons section:

After clicking Select notification buttons, you get a modal list of our built-in notification types:

Each row provides the name of the interactive notification type, a short description, and the button labels. Once you choose a notification type, you may attach actions to each of the relevant buttons.

Use of this feature requires that you have upgraded your app to our 5.0 SDK, available now both for iOS and Android/Amazon.

Custom Interactive Notifications

In addition to our pre-defined interactive notifications, you can now define and use custom notification types in the dashboard:

For a detailed look at creating your own interactive notifciation types, please see the dashboard documentation.

Composer Layout Updates

We streamlined our UI to accommodate notification buttons. Specifically, we compressed the actions section, providing a smaller button for “Add tags” and broke out Platform Options to a separate section. There are no functional changes to these features at this time.

Share Action

The share action requires use of our new SDK, 5.0 or above, available for iOS8, Android, and Amazon.

Last month, we introduced the share action to the API. This month we have enabled Share Action support in the dashboard via the Message Composer.

In the example of a Yes or No interactive notification below, a user’s interaction with the Yes option will take the user to the app via the experience you select. In the case of Share, the share functionality will be triggered and the share text that you define will populate that action.

After choosing the Share action, enter your text into the share text dialog like so:

See our Actions documentation for more information.

Removed RP User Page

The “Rich Push Users” page has been removed from the “Audience” tab in the left-hand navigation menu.

With the release of version 3 of the Urban Airship API and Channel identifiers, there is no reason to be concerned with, let alone manage Rich Push Users from the UI. If you rely on this feature, contact Urban Airship Support.


In September, we released a major update to our iOS SDK in order to support many of the new features in iOS 8. This month, we bring our Android and Amazon up to parity with that release. See: iOS 8 New Feature Roundup for details.

Updates to the 5.0 SDK on iOS, Android, and Amazon are required to take advantage of Interactive Notfications and Custom Events functionality. We highly recommend that you update to the latest version as soon as your development cycle permits.

Android/Amazon Combined SDK Release: 5.0

Android and Amazon apps are now supported via the same SDK bundle. This allows developers to deploy the same application binary to both the Google Play store and the Amazon App Store. Previously, our support for messaging via ADM (Amazon Device Messaging) required a separate version of our SDK (version 4.0).

  • Full feature parity with our 5.0.0 release for iOS includes:

    • *Interactive Notifications*— push notifications that enable users to take action, e.g., follow a story, set a preference, dismiss, etc. Each action can trigger Urban Airship Actions such as setting or removing tags, tracking custom events for reporting, etc.

    • *Built-in Interactive Notifications*— predefined interactive notification types, for the most common use cases— no additional development required. See Built-In Interactive Notification Types for complete reference.

    • Custom Interactive Notification Support - define your own interactive notifications that use the UA Actions framework, or your own custom code. See iOS Custom Interactive Notifications or Android/Amazon Custom Interactive Notifications for more detail on the implementation.

    • Share Action - Pass special sharing text along to e.g. Twitter, when user swipes a push or taps an interactive notification button. See Android/Amazon Share Actions and iOS Share Actions for details.

    • *Custom Events/Conversion Tracking*— report on key user activities. Interactive notification button clicks are counted by default and listed alongside Custom Events.

    • *Channels Support*— take advantage of the latest Urban Airship device identification standard, Channels . Now Android is up to speed with Amazon and iOS. See Channels Primer for the latest updates on Urban Airship Channels.