4 Best Push Notification Services: Kumulos v Carnival v Urban Airship v Push Woosh

4 Best Push Notification Services: Kumulos v Carnival v Urban Airship v Push Woosh

3rd March 2015

Developing an awesome app is one thing. Engaging your audience is a different matter. Making sure you pick the best push notification services for your app will help a lot.  It’s estimated 80% of time spent using a smartphone is directly via an app. Your goal is to ensure your app is grabbing more eyeball time than your competitors. You establish a deep connection with your audience by engaging users via meaningful messages and content.

What is a push notification?

Push notifications are like giving your app a megaphone. They deliver targeted and compelling messaging to increase usage of your app. They’re permission based, so users have to actively opt-in before they receive messaging. Ensure your users first app experience explains why they should opt in for push messaging.

The benefits of using push notification

When used correctly push notifications represent a great channel by which to deliver meaningful content to your existing app users whenever you like. If you get this right in terms of strategy and planning you can increase app engagement by 300%. It’s worth investing significant effort during planning in order to maximise the impact of your campaign.

“Everything in your app should be delivered from the mindset of benefiting the audience”

Consider the rate at which people engage with your push notifications, which types of messages are most popular and the characteristics of your app users most susceptible to your push campaign. You should be considering these factors before you begin developing your app.

How To Optimise Your Push Notification Campaign

Optimising your targeted push messages is about understanding customer behaviour. It’s therefore essential to have a firm grasp on analytics. You need to become obsessed with the data in order to enhance your ongoing performance. There’s a million things you can do, but it’s essential to focus on stuff that adds real value to your UX. You can use purchase history and other data points to improve the features in your app. If you’re new to push, get something started quickly and optimise as you go based on relentless data analysis and user feedback.

Here are the top 4 best push notification services:

We had Parse Push in our Top 4 best push notification service, but with FaceBook’s decision to pull down the shutters on that service we had to think again. Just as we were reviewing other push notification services, Kumulos, an mBaaS favorite of ours, launched their Push Notification service. The timing here couldn’t have been better.

 1.) Kumulos Push Notification

For us Kumulos Push Notification is our best of the best recommendation. It offers the best balance between ease of use, cost and functionality. It also offers a few features that you can’t currently get elsewhere.

We think this is a great solution for anyone else looking for a reliable, scalable solution whether they want to use it with their existing mobile backend or with Kumulos’ own BaaS. It comes with the option to run programmatic push messages where this fires off messages based on user behavior. And we particularly like their approach to segmented push notification campaigns where they let you select app users based on a range of criteria.

The interface is also very modern and a clean uncluttered look. It’s also a good fit for businesses like ours. This lets you brand the interface up in your own logo and color and then offer a login to customers so they can manage their own push campaigns and view the results.  We haven’t found any other service that lets you do that.

We like the fact that you have a choice of using the service stand alone or alongside their mBaaS. That really makes life a lot easier.

What we really like about the Kumulos Push Notification service is its simplicity. It’s really easy to set up. It also comes with in-built analytics that may not be the most comprehensive of all the push platforms out there, but give us the information that we need in an easy to use format.

Kumulos Push Notification Pricing:

For us this is where Kumulos scores big. It costs a fraction of the other push notification services out there. And we like the fact that it scales up without any hikes in price. This gives us cost predictability which is huge, especially if we are offering this as a service to our clients. You get unlimited number of push notification messages for a fixed price of $25 per app per month.

2.) Carnival

Carnival allows for push notifications, in-app messaging and a rich customizable message stream. It allows you to target and automate rich messages by user behavior, location and demographic.

It’s extremely easy to use with beautiful Carnival Documentation and a knowledgeable support team to help you get setup quickly. One of the coolest features of Carnival, is their auto-analytics integrations with major analytics providers like: Google, Flurry, Localytics and Mixpanel allowing you to import all the events you’re tracking in these platforms into their audience builder for targeting and automation.

Carnival seems to shine for ecommerce/retail, consumer businesses and loyalty apps where there’s a good use case for personalized and rich messaging beyond a basic push.

Carnival Pricing:
Carnival’s basic self service pricing starts at $250/month and roughly equates to between $0.007 – $0.01 per monthly active user. For larger clients their Pro pricing starts at $1250/month for 100,000 MAU including access to a customer success manager, and then enterprise (global brands or brick and mortars with large store numbers) is pricing on request.

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3.) Urban Airship

If you’re a deveoper or marketer new to the world of mobile app optimisation, this is also a decent place to start. Urban Airship uses a combination of analytics, engagement strategies and push notification features. It uses location, platform and preference to deliver tailored and engaging notifications to users. The toolkit provides an intuitive web based editor to schedule updates and preview them across different mobile operating systems. The ‘Mobile Relationship Management’ feature enables you to view detailed, contextual analytics reports on the success of your previous push endeavours, helping you optimise accordingly for future campaigns. ‘Wallet Studio’ integrates directly with Apple Pay and Google Wallet offering retailers the ability to store details around coupons, deals and loyalty cards.

Urban Airship Pricing

Every month you’re allowed up to 1 million pushes completely free. Beyond 1 million pushes every interaction costs $0.001. If you’re deploying rich content like images each push will cost $0.0025.

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4.) Push Woosh

If you’re looking for a push notification service that’s highly scalable and offers good value for money, Push Woosh is an excellent choice. The free version is awesome – and if you need to upgrade to the platinum level service you get some powerful enterprise features. The premium version provides code reviews, international languages and the ability to create remote API’s plus a lot more. It’s equipped to deal with 15 different platforms including iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry. It offers audience segmentation and the ability to schedule batches of push notifications.

Push Woosh Pricing

You can either pay annually or monthly. If you pay monthly the basic package for $60 per month and the platinum package is $375 per month. If you pay annually, you’ll save roughly 10%.

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The Bottom Line On Push Notifications

So we’ve looked at Kumulos, Carnival, Urban Airship and Push Woosh. Each has it’s own positive and negative points. Ultimately you have to choose the appropriate platform based upon the requirements of your mobile app project. But for now, the Kumulos platform is our favorite weapon of choice.


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