June 15, 2020 Faith Arias

Updates to Push Notifications by Google Chrome 80

For anyone working with push notifications out there, Google Chrome 80 comes with some important changes. First of all, Google Chrome 80 will make push notifications ‘quieter’, as Google calls them. This means that the prompts that ask users to opt in will not be as urgent as they used to be. Second, notification triggers may also get a bit of an overhaul.

Making opt-in prompts quieter.
If you have followed the development of Chrome updates in the past, then this will probably not be a surprise. Google has experimented with quieting down push notifications in previous versions, and the new features have been fully implemented now. By making notifications quieter, Google is hoping to improve everyone’s user experience. Specifically, the new, quieter prompts will be relevant three situations.

The first one is based on the websites themselves. If the opt-in rates of your website are already low, then Google Chrome will automatically apply the quiet opt-in prompt for your website. This measure is specifically targeted at websites that are using abusive push notifications for the wrong reasons. Do not expect this to be an immediate switch, though, as Google highlights that the gathering of website data is still ongoing.

Second, Google applies quiet push notifications based on user behavior. If a user shows to be averse to push notifications by frequently denying them, then the quieter opt-in prompt will be automatically applied to them.

Finally, users can also manually switch on quiet notifications through their settings.

What to do?
PushPros has always been working to create the best possible push-notification experience. Since Google Chrome 80 primarily targets notifications that receive a low number of opt-ins and users who habitually decline opt-ins, the vast majority of PushPros notification campaigns are not being greatly affected by these changes. However, for anyone who wants to stay proactive about the changes in how Google Chrome handles push notifications, there are a few things that can be done.

One of the most effective ways to prevent low opt-in rates on your website is to enable a custom opt-in prompt. This way, you can pretty much filter out users who were probably going to decline your native push notification, as they will decline the custom opt-in prompt. Only users who accept your custom opt-in prompt will then see your native push notification. Since these users already agreed to your custom prompt, they are far more likely to also agree to your native one. To increase the chances of opt-ins, always provide as much information about what the opt-in will mean to the user as possible.

Sometimes, the likelihood of a user opting into your prompt changes depending on when the prompt is being displayed. To determine when your push notifications are shown, you can apply custom logic that changes the default setting of displaying push notifications immediately on-site visit to depend on different user actions. Using JavaScript, you can time when the notification should appear. Alternatively, notifications can also activate based on a user scrolling down a portion of your page, or after a user has viewed a certain number of your pages. Since the effectiveness of these options will depend largely on understanding your audience, PushPros always makes sure to tailor notifications specifically to users that are likely to visit your site.

Of course, it can still happen that your site is switched to a quiet prompt by Google Chrome. You can unenroll from quiet push notifications by increasing your opt-in rates, which you can influence by improving how you target your opt-in prompts. Google decides whether or not to enable quiet opt-ins purely based on your usage statistics, so already making small changes to your opt-in rates can have a big impact on how your site is being classified.

More upcoming features: Notification triggers.
Google is also currently working on a feature that will make notification triggers a lot more powerful. Currently, if you introduce custom logic to your push notification as described above, it can still happen that the notifications do not appear at the right time. For example, if the user is in airplane mode, does not have an internet connection or simply uses your site while in low battery mode, notifications often do not show. This can be a problem, especially since the timing of push notifications is one of the most critical factors in determining the opt-in rates.

Well, as soon as Google rolls out the new notification triggers system, these problems could be a thing of the past. The new system would schedule your push notifications via the device’s operating system, so that notifications can be delivered entirely independent from network connection or other factors.

Final thoughts.
All in all, the new quiet notifications of Google Chrome have the potential to do wonders for user experience and help the effectiveness of push notifications by filtering out many of the annoying and even abusive ones. It will also provide an incentive for content providers to increase the quality of their push notifications, further improving user experience. It will be exciting to see how the potential improvements to notification triggers will work with this, as the improvements are set to make push notifications an even more effective marketing tool.