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Push Advertising: What Is It and How Does It Work [Ultimate Advertiser’s Guide]

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Previously used by leading global brands only as a content delivery channel, Push notifications are now a premium advertising tool. Developed by PropellerAds specifically to accommodate the needs of advertisers, Push advertising allows you to reach clients and potential customers directly, avoiding intermediaries like banners or social media.

Launched in 2018, Push ads have now become one of the favorite ad formats among media buyers — so it was time when we introduced an updated guide with all the new features included.

This is an updated version of the article published on January 18, 2018.

What is Push Traffic and Push Notifications?

Push notifications are alerts that pop up on a user’s PC or mobile device and show a short text, an image, and buttons that motivate take prompt action. Push traffic is simply the users who agreed to receive these alerts.

Now, a couple of push advertising examples. Here is how a standard web push notification looks:

propellerads push advertising example1

And this is a standard Android push notification:

propellerads push advertising example2

But how does push advertising work, where does push traffic come from, what are push notification ads, and why is it worth your time and money, after all?

What Do Push Notifications Ads Consist of?

Classic Push notifications ads look a bit differently depending on a browser or device. For example, Android push notifications differ from iPhone notifications, and mobile push notifications differ from desktop push notifications.

However, they all have four common components: a landscape banner, a push notification image, title, and buttons.

We’ll show them in the example of PropellerAds push notifications:

propellerads push advertising guide elements
  • Landscape banner (360×240 – max 720KB). The main image describes the message of your notification. Taking the main attention, it must be the brightest element of the creative. This image is visible to Android and Windows users — so you’ll need to play around with the other customizable parts of your notifications when targeting MacOS.
  • Icon image (192 x 192px – max 200KB). This smaller image of your push message, available for all browsers and operating systems. For example, it can be a cute selfie for a Social app or a shield for a VPN offer. 
  • Title (up to 30 characters). The main message of your push notification, which must make it clear: what are you offering?
  • Description (up to 40 characters). A message containing the most important details about your offer.
  • Buttons. Accept/Decline buttons that allow users to check out or skip your offer. 

At PropellerAds, you can add more details to your push notifications creatives — and make them shine above the rest. Here is how an upgraded push ad may look:

propellerads push advertising guide extra elements

Here is what we added:

  • Push Badges (Choice from 30 badge options). These small icons replace a standard badge you see on web push notifications and can immensely boost your CTRs — we have proof!
  • Custom Button Text (Up to 15 characters). Why go with a standard copy when you can customize it and make it look as native as possible? 

Where Does Push Traffic Come From?

Okay, and who are all these people who will see all these icons, titles, and buttons? 

Push traffic are users who willingly agreed to receive push notifications at one or several websites. It means that they don’t mind the ads and are very likely to convert.

This is how it works in detail:

  1. 1. A publisher (a website owner) enables the push notifications format from their side. A user visits this publisher’s website and sees a pop-up subscription request window — something like this:
propellerads push advertising opt in
  1. 2. If a user doesn’t want to subscribe, they just click ‘No, thanks, ’ and that’s it — no pressure! If they agree, they begin receiving push notifications from this site. Some of these push alerts contain ads.
  1. 3. When a user receives a push ad with your offer and gets interested, they click on the notification and are taken to your offer’s pre-lander or landing page. 

Push Advertising Advantages

We already mentioned one: push traffic exclusively consists of users who choose to receive notifications. This is what gives push notification ads a so-called ‘non-intrusive nature’ — you don’t torture anyone with messages they never asked for. 

But that’s not all! Here are the other benefits of push advertising.

  • Push is less fraud-vulnerable than most of the common formats

The user knowingly agrees to receive push notifications and has to subscribe to a website’s notifications. Clearly, Push messages are interactive, requiring more complicated actions from users.

Even though none ad format can be called totally fraud-free, Push advertising is known as a harder nut for cheaters – not all bots are sophisticated enough to mimic human behavior successfully, which increases your ad safety. Besides, PropellerAds’ anti-fraud systems ensure double protection from bot and other unwanted traffic.

To maintain the non-intrusive nature of push notifications, customers receive only a limited number of notifications a day with an option to unsubscribe at any given moment. These factors ensure high-quality traffic and authentic audiences for your campaigns.

  • Exceptional reach and performance

Your message appears right on the user’s device or browser, ensuring maximum viewability and a very high Click-Through Rate (CTR) compared to more conventional ad formats.

One of the most amazing features of push notifications is that they are delivered to the user even when he is not browsing the website, driving exceptional reach and efficiency for every push notification campaign you launch.

  • Boosts your user acquisition efforts

We have a feature for precise demographic and interest targeting – PropellerAds Audiences. With its help, you can choose the relevant user groups by interests, age, and gender to ensure that the right eyes will see your offers. 

Unlike most of the available in the market for push notifications services, PropellerAds has a full range of push notifications options, allowing you to target users on every platform and device, including web and mobile push notifications.

Note: Classic Push notifications are not currently available for iPhone users — but you can scale your campaign with In-Page Push: notifications that don’t require an opt-in and working like very native banners:

What is In-Page Push?

  • Engaged audience and higher retention

Push notifications are, in essence, a new generation of native ads, being native not just to the website content but native to user interests. With push advertising, you are getting an audience that is genuinely interested in the product you present.

Push ads are also a great way to remind existing clients of your product or services. It’s been proved that regularly sending targeted notifications increases the retention rate by 39%.

  • Unique customization options and instant delivery

 Over a million messages can be sent almost instantly to an audience worldwide. The speed of delivery is enhanced with advanced customization options: you can select when your user would see the message (it’s important, especially if we are talking about special offers, crucial sporting events, or different time zones), and add visuals and emoji.

How to Earn With Push Advertising

Now, the most exciting part: money! How can you make the most out of push notifications traffic advantages and activate the revenue flow?

Who Can Earn with Push Traffic?

Push notifications are a universal ad format that works with any type of products, services, and CPA offers. It opens broad possibilities for content promotion, whether an offer, announcement, website update, or brand awareness campaign.

Here are some content ideas for your push notifications:

  •      Special offers and promos
  •      News and content updates
  •      Alerts based on geolocation
  •     eCommerce updates: sales & discounts announcements
  •      Downloadables: eBooks, checklists, templates
  •      Mobile app promos to increase installs
  •      Freebies (like sweepstakes, etc.)

If you want to make push notifications a part of your media buying experience, the next section is for you.

Best Verticals for Push Notification Advertising

Push advertising is pretty universal when it comes to affiliate marketing and media buying. However, some niches make an especially perfect match with this format. What are they? Here is the list:

Overall, you can try Push advertising for any verticals — with the right targeting settings and creatives, they can strike any niche.

Examples of Successful Push Ads Verticals

You don’t need to take it all for granted — here is the list of case studies that prove how efficiently push notifications work with some specific verticals.

And here are more case studies with Push and other formats — don’t miss out!

How to Buy Push Notification Traffic in 2023

Now you are inspired enough to start your push notifications campaign. But how to reach the best audience? In the next part of our guide, we will show you how to choose a traffic source and launch your push campaign.

How to Сhoose your Push Ads Traffic Source

The easiest way is to work with a high-quality push notifications ad network — so how to pick one? 

We prepared a checklist to help you choose from best push ad networks.

Features to look for in a Push advertising network:

Traffic Quality – relevant highly-converting users
Push Customization Options – special features to make your push creatives visible and clickable
Targeting features – extra settings to attract the most interested audience
Choice of bidding models – various pricing models based on clicks or impressions depending on your goals
Optimization opportunities – extra settings to boost your push campaign’s performance
Settings Convenience – an easy-to-use personal account where you set your campaigns
Community – users who are happy to network and share the experience
Customer Service – responsive and polite managers always around to help

Where to Buy Push Traffic in 2024? Best Push Traffic Sources 

You can safely tick every point of this checklist if you pick PropellerAds as your push notifications network. As the first traffic source ever to introduce push notifications, we know the ropes of delivering top-notch traffic via these small native alerts.

Here is what you get when you create your PropellerAds push advertising campaign:

Features to look for:What you get with PropellerAds:
Traffic QualityOnly brand-safe traffic sources with real users — and here is some proof: case studies in our blog and our Follow-Along contest
Push Customization OptionsEmojis, Push Ads Badges, Customized Button Texts
Targeting featuresTargeting by demographics, interests, and user activity
Choice of bidding modelsCPC, CPA Goal, SmartCPC, CPM
Optimization opportunitiesAuto-optimization, rule-based optimization, multiformat campaigns
Settings ConvenienceIntuitive and user-friendly self-service platform
CommunityTelegram Chat with fellow marketers and monthly giveaways
Customer ServiceProfessional and helpful customer support 24/7 

How to Create a Push Advertising Campaign?

So you registered at PropellerAds and want to witness the power of push notifications ads. It’s time to launch your affiliate marketing ad campaign

Here is how you do it:

Step 1. Click the Create Campaign button on your account and choose the Push Notifications advertising format. You can automatically add a separate In-Page Push campaign, too — this will broaden your reach.

propellerads create push advertising campaign

Step 2. Choose a Pricing Model. You have the following options:

  • CPA Goal — for the most cost-effective spending
  • SmartCPC — for testing and scaling
  • CPC — when you want to pay for user engagement
  • CPM — for scaling with the best-converting creatives

Step 3.

Decide if you want PropellerAds traffic only or third-party traffic, as well (pick the Premium Zones option below to receive the most profitable flows):


Step 4. If you chose a click-based bidding model (CPC or SmartCPC), set Frequency/Capping. This option limits the number of times a single user sees your ads depending on how many times they click on them. 


The point is to catch the balance and show your ads a reasonable number of times without overwhelming a user. 

Step 5.  Pick the user activity level you want to target or include them all. Here is the difference between the three types:

  • High Activity: fresh users who have recently subscribed to push notifications and are interested in most ads they see. 
  • Medium Activity: users who have received push notifications ads for some time and are not as curious as before. However, this audience is bigger than the high-activity one.
  • Low Activity: the biggest audience that brings the highest volumes of traffic. Such users might be more selective when they decide which ads to click on — so you need to be more creative to engage them.

Note: High and Medium Activity usually bring the highest conversion rates, and it’s recommended to begin testing your campaign with these two groups. 

*This feature is available for all bidding models except SmartCPC.

Step 6. Select a desired bid and your campaign budget, set the GEO targeting, enable auto-optimization if you want — and proceed with other targeting settings to make your campaign really striking.


Note: Don’t select too many GEOs within a single campaign — especially if these GEOs come from different tiers. This will make it harder to find the right bid, as traffic price varies from tier to tier. Besides, each GEO might require specific creatives, CTAs, language, after all — so be careful when you combine several countries in one campaign.

Step 7. Set the special Audience targeting available for Push Notifications ads: we have ready audiences collected by age, gender, and interests. Besides, you can target your own audiences.


Step 8. To make your campaign more efficient, choose collecting audiences for future retargeting: 


Step 9 . Finally, creatives! Add the images and texts, and don’t forget about push badges. If you don’t know which badge to choose, our system can do this automatically:

Note: you can add up to eight creatives to your campaign, and this is a great opportunity for testing which one will get the most clicks and bring most conversions. We don’t recommend launching tests with a single creative — even if it seems perfectly clickable.

Ready? You are awesome — and your campaign will start soon after moderation.

How to Make Your Push Advertising Campaign Flawless

Your push advertising campaign is live — and we hope it collects thousands of clicks! Is there a way to make it even better?

How to Optimize Your Campaign?

Before you start kicking your settings around, make sure your campaign had enough time to show its potential. 

Depending on your chosen GEOs and bids, give it from 24 to 36 hours. 

After this testing time is over, you can evaluate your campaign’s performance and check the following:

  • GEOs and Platforms. What are the best-performing ones, e.g., bringing the most conversions? Find such slices (combinations of ad-zone, geo and OS) in your campaign, and continue running traffic with them. If you don’t see anything really profitable among your chosen targeting options, try testing other GEOs and platforms.
  • Bidding models. When your campaign is doing fine, you can try to create an additional one with another pricing model to scale. For example, you can perfectly add some fresh traffic to your SmartCPC Push Notifications ad campaign if you duplicate it using the CPAGoal or CPM models.
  • Rates. Found the best-performing zones? Add them to Whitelist, and increase the bids. Sometimes, it makes sense to increase the bids for the whole campaign, without focusing on particular zones.
  • Creatives. It’s time to check which of your creatives are the winner! Pick the one with the best performance and add it to a new campaign with increased bids using this gem.

How to Create High-Converting Push Ads?

Creatives matter much for your successful push advertising campaign. These messages must be catchy, bright, and irresistible to click. Don’t forget: users see plenty of banners and notifications  —  so make yours stand out. 

And here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. 1. Play around with landscape and icons. Make them bright and visible enough. We have ready icons for your push notifications ads — try them out!
  2. 2. Add Push Badges and customize the button texts. Don’t neglect this feature — it DOES boost performance.
  3. 3. A/B tests are a must. We remind you: you can upload up to eight creatives to your PropellerAds campaign and then pick the best-performing push ads.

To Sum Up

It seems you are now fully equipped with the knowledge to start your push campaign. Have any questions left? Here we answered some of the most popular ones:

Frequently Asked Questions about Push Traffic

So, the only thing left is to try Push Notifications right away!


Cannot wait to share your excitement about Push campaigns with fellow-affiliates? Join our Telegram chat then!


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