Last update: May 2021

6 mins to read - 2020/10/07

Content Tutorial: Writing Push Notifications That Shine

It can be difficult to write stellar content when you have a limited number of characters to do it in. This is why it’s worthwhile hiring a quality content writer, someone who is capable of communicating information in a concise and engaging manner. But for aspiring content writers, read on for a quick tutorial on how to approach push notifications, those trickiest pieces of micro-marketing.

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content tutorial for push notifications

Writing Content for Push Notifications That Really Connect

It goes without saying that high-quality content means free of spelling and grammar errors. However, good content also encompasses value, tone, and relevance of your notification. And this can differ on a user-to-user basis. After all, engagement is a two-way street. One well-placed, personalized push notification will get more results than a flood of generic nonsense.

For example, which of these 3 notifications would you, a player of hit space-pirate mobile game Worm Blasterz, rather receive over the course of a day?

  1. Hey, blaster! A rare and elusive White Worm was spotted near the Gemini Nebula… enter warp speed to catch it before the bounty hunters do!

  2. Running low on worm fodder? Take this 50 star-dollar bonus to stock up next time you enter a galactic canteen!

  3. A space smuggler has challenged you to a duel! Whoever blasts 40 worms first gets a piece of a treasure map. Do you accept?


  1. Your friend Android674 has blasted 800 worms… try to break their record!

  2. Your friend Jedi_xo has blasted 1,000 worms… try to break their record!

  3. Your friend Bucket_of_bolts has blasted 6,500 worms… try to break their record!

Making a Human Connection 

With a market flooded with comparable services and competing marketing, a human touch and a personalized tone can make all the difference. In the push to provide authentic experiences to users, it’s crucial to let them know you are paying attention to their preferences. Impress on them that you are mindful of what types of notifications are most beneficial to them.

This means combining both machine learning and human data analysis to understand the context behind user behaviors and choices. Personalize notifications based on basic data – such as the user’s name, age, gender, and so on. Then add finer touches with more complex, changing data, such as:

  • location
  • interests
  • preferences
  • user lifecycle
  • calendar, etc.

You can leverage these data points to anticipate users’ needs at scale, and then follow through. Obviously, these needs are always changing. So a next-gen mobile marketing campaign will need a platform that can evolve along with your user base.

A good rule of thumb is to treat your push notification campaign like a conversation. Address your user by name. Speaking to your user on a first-name basis tells them you’ve done your homework. You’re looking for an authentic connection, and you won’t flood them with bland content and generic notifications. Next, reference the immediate context that’s prompting the notification. Make them feel seen and understood, and then invite them to take further action.

Writing Content that Expresses Empathy and Emotion in Notifications

Marketing studies have shown that consumers – particularly Millennials and Gen Z – place a high value on empathetic and specifically curated content. Having grown up with a supersaturation of generic marketing, younger user demographics tend to be alienated by content that doesn’t strike them as human, organic, and natural. Research by Forrester Consulting has found that the base point for human interaction with a brand has risen 5% since 2018. This is according to how natural, considerate, and personal users considered the tone of the brand communication.

Users download apps to socialize, make their lives easier and more enjoyable. Notifications should reflect that preference. Write clear and straightforward (i.e. no industry jargon, no style over substance) content in your push notifications. Try to have fun with it. Communicate the way an actual person would. Tailor the tone of your content to match the app’s purpose. For example, a financial app should maintain a polite and professional tone. The user demographic for financial apps will likely be Generation X and older, who may expect a no-nonsense approach. However, a travel or eCommerce app would have more leeway to take on a more informal tone with users. 

For example, see how Amazon tailored the following purchase confirmation to speak to the buyer of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray. No data analytics was needed – this just involved a spark of creativity and the ability to gauge that a Star Wars fan would enjoy a Star Wars reference.

Image Source: @Bubble1615 on Twitter

Writing Engaging Content for Gaming App Push Notifications

Gaming apps have the most freedom of all for quirky, engaging content, and in many cases push notifications can work as extensions of gameplay. 

Try to write your push notifications in the voice of one of the characters, or the overall atmosphere of the game. If you want to invite a player of your F2P Western-themed RPG to drop some money on cosmetic add-ons for their character, try:

“Howdy, stranger! I hear you’re fixin’ to trade in that peashooter of yours. Drop by and see me at the General Store sometime.”

Then add a deep link to the retail page in your app. 

But what if your user base is mainly comprised of millennials and Generation Z? Studies have shown that showcasing your sense of humor could be your best bet. Try to get your users laughing, or speak to them with viral memes. If you hit the right chord with your user base, you might even end up going viral yourself, as was the case with Simon Circles.

mobile gaming simon circles content push notification

Emotional Language and Emojis

Use of emotional language has shown to result in higher rates of CTR as well. Try to use words that appeal to a desire or goal of your users. For example, if you’re a travel app, try to use words like “holiday,” “vacation,” “paradise,” and “adventure.”

An eCommerce app can instill in users a sense of urgency, using words like “opportunity,” “exclusive,” “last chance,” and “today only.” Combine this with language that will make the user feel like using your app is a way of rewarding themselves: “luxury,” “gift,” “treat yourself,” “enjoy” and so on.

Try peppering your notification with a few well-placed emojis. And don’t be afraid to express emotion yourself. Take the emoji-peppered content of the following notification from Buzzfeed News:

emojis rich content push notification buzzfeed news
Image Source: @Alplicable on Twitter

Use language that ties back to the crux of your app. Depending on what your relationship with users is like, puns, jokes, or wordplay can help boost the sense of enjoyment they associate with your app. For example, the push notification below for Candy Crush expertly combines a play on the word “sweet” with the emotional language of “Time’s running out!” to remind users of the fun and excitement of playing the game.

emotional content candy crush push notification

The bottom line is you want to position yourself as your user’s friend. So the goal is to engage in natural and positive language. For example, which reminder from a personal fitness app is a user likely to find more inspirational?

“You haven’t been keeping up with your daily fitness routine. Come back and log your workout now!”


“Ready to get active and feel amazing? It’s time to log your daily workout!”


When done correctly, a dynamic push notification campaign can be your greatest asset in engaging users. Genuine, well-written, original content is a must-have for notifications that speak directly to your users. Achieve this, and you’ll cultivate a long-term relationship across all stages of the life-cycle. In addition to that, you’ll see boosts in click-through rate (CTR), app growth and additional revenue. 

Write stellar content, then leverage user data to personalize notifications and send them at the right moment for the user. A/B test all of your notifications, and perform data analysis on your campaign results to optimize your connection with your user base. Ultimately, you want to transform raw data on the device’s end into an improved user experience, which translates to higher engagement and revenues on the app’s end. 

OpenBack provides the optimal platform to achieve this. Push notifications are a central function of a multichannel marketing campaign, and should work in tandem with all stages of app development. Most of all, we intend to return user experience to its central role in the design of push campaigns. User engagement is the driving force behind the app ecosystem. So if you want to build a killer app make sure you are being open and authentic in your communications. And always make sure you put the user first – every time!

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