Both are permission-based marketing methods but there are some important differences
It’s important to understand the key differences between email and web notifications so that you can develop the best strategy for getting in front of your customers and keeping them engaged with your site. Email and push notifications are similar in that you are sending information to customers who have asked for your content. But to help you understand the differences, we’ve put together a chart highlighting some of the key differences between email and web push notifications.
|Web Push Notifications||Email Marketing|
|Permission||The permission chain for web push notifications is much stronger than for emails. Permission is given explicitly when a user visits a website and signs up for web notifications. They can unsubscribe (block) notifications at any time.||Often harder to trace back to the original signup, email addresses are a common marketing tactic. They reside in a customer database, and the initial place where the visitor opted in can become fuzzy—especially as marketing initiatives grow and change.|
|Visibility||High visibility—they pop up almost immediately on a user’s screen or upon login if a user isn’t on their device when the notification is sent.||They are seen only when a user logs into their email account and can also be lost in a sea of other emails in a user’s inbox.|
With standardized layouts and design, you know almost exactly how they’ll look on a user’s device.
|Because different email clients have different HTML support, rendering can be inconsistent.|
|Artwork Flexibility||Standardized layouts means less creative flexibility. All browsers and devices support a small picture, a headline, light copy, and a link. Chrome does allow you to define additional actions, but not many.||Emails provide a lot of creative flexibility. Each email is like a small webpage so you can show off your best artwork and messaging. Of course, the downside is that you’re limited by email client support for different HTML.|
|Timing and A/B Testing||Can be timed, A/B tested, and set up to deliver drip series.||Can be timed, A/B tested, and set up to deliver drip series.|
|Reach||Web push notifications are supported by Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari on Macs and PCs. As far as devices go, they’re supported by Android devices but are not supported by Apple’s mobile devices.||Email is supported on all desktops and phones through a variety of email clients.|
Based on these key differences, there are some suggested uses for web push notifications vs. email.
How to Use Web push notifications
Web push notifications are best used for new, updated, or time-sensitive products, content, and promotions. For example, if you just pushed out a new feature or blog post, if your ecommerce store has a popular item back in stock, or you’re having a flash sale, these are all great opportunities to use web push notifications. Because of the immediacy of web notifications, your subscribers will see the relative information almost immediately on their desktop. Learn more about which industries and situations call for using web push notifications.
How to Use Email
Email gives you more flexibility with artwork and messaging, where you can go deeper on a particular subject. Email is good for non-time-sensitive information, creative messages, and emails with multiple links. For example, if you have a newsletter with links to multiple blog posts, email might be the best option to engage with your audiences.
Both channels—email and web push notifications—are part of a great marketing distribution strategy and can work seamlessly together to deliver the right messages to the right customers. As with any channel, testing goes a long way to help you determine where your messages fit best.