Why Should You Implement Push Notifications with Ionic?

August 9, 2020

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Push notifications are a powerful marketing tool every business owner needs and wants to have in their mobile app. Implementing it with Ionic offers even higher value: accelerated development process and easy access to native device’s features. Learn more about this powerful combination and its benefits.

What Are Push Notifications?

A push notification is a short message that appears on a mobile device, looking like a text message or a mobile alert. App publishers can send them to users who have installed their app, at any time, whether or not the app is open. Each platform supports push notifications. They are an easy way to speak directly to your app’s users.

Push notifications have the power to boost user engagement, providing valuable and convenient content. They can, for example, inform about weather or traffic conditions, but also send promotions or coupons. That makes them a powerful direct marketing tool. Push notifications are also easy to personalize if we use the right tools (more on that later).

Push notifications in terms of business can be used to:

  • increase sales by promoting an offer,
  • increase user engagement by reminding to use your app, sending relevant content, etc.,
  • improve the customer experience with personalized messages.

Push notifications strategy can be powerful, but we also need to bear in mind that too many messages or irrelevant messages will most probably end with a user deleting our app. Also, users can switch push notifications off. Therefore, app publishers need to be sure that messages they send provide value, to prevent users from switching push notifications off. 


Using Geolocation with Push Notifications

Push notifications have additional potential for offline businesses. Using geolocation, business owners can send notifications to app’s users who are near their store and attract them with a promotion or coupon. Brands like Uber or Sephora use this strategy to increase revenue. 


What Do Push Notifications Need to Work?

To be able to send push notifications to the ones that have installed your app, you need to create an app server or set up the cloud environment. For your users to receive notifications, your app has to be registered and configured with a Push Notification Service Provider. From our experience, the best tool for that is Firebase Cloud Messaging.

Source: FCM Architectural Overview


Firebase Cloud Messaging

FCM is a free cross-platform messaging solution that facilitates the communication between a mobile app and an app server. It allows you to send messages to user’s devices across a variety of platforms. They can be sent individually, to groups, or all your users. With FCM, push notifications are easy to customize and personalize.

FCM significantly facilitates the configuration of sending push notifications to mobile apps. Apple has its own APNS but using it is not necessary to run push notifications on iOS devices – FCM covers that, too. To use FCM with iOS, you only need to upload your APNS certificate.


Pro tip from our Developers:

Remember about renewing your certificates for iOS, because they can expire.

With FCM, it’s easy to integrate the Firebase Cloud environment instead of creating an app server. FCM is also connected with Google Analytics for Firebase which allows you to easily track engagement and conversion.


Cross-platform App Development with Ionic

Ionic is a frontend framework for cross-platform app development, that allows developers to create one code with well-known technologies (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) and easily adjust it to Android and iOS platforms. We can also easily create a web app from the same code. 

The advantage of the Ionic Framework is that developers can access all native device’s capabilities and hardware features. On the backend, Ionic uses Apache Cordova. Cordova serves as a bridge to native code and provides over 200 plugins. Plugins allow developers to access various features of the device’s operating system: camera, geolocation, bluetooth, battery, and many others.

Creating a mobile app with Ionic is fast and easy. Ionic is framework-agnostic, so you can use it with Angular, React, Vue, or no framework at all. Thanks to web components, Ionic apps are fast. CSS and JavaScript are used to create a proper UI and the native look of an application. Ionic offers many ready-to-use components and themes which adapt to different platforms. It speeds up the development.


Why Implement Push Notifications with Ionic and Firebase?

Clients want to have push notifications in their apps because it allows them to contact their app’s users directly. For e-commerce businesses, push notifications are a more powerful marketing tool than e-mail marketing. Combining them with Ionic, you not only speed up the development but also get access to native device’s features. What is more, you can create mobile apps using web technologies, a framework you already know, and leverage from web components that make the development easier and improve an app’s performance. 

Ionic is easy to integrate with Firebase and Firebase Cloud Messaging, which allows you to enable push notifications quickly. You can benefit from Firebase to easily set up the cloud environment for your app. This solution can be extremely useful for MVP development.

We implemented push notifications with Ionic and Firebase Cloud Messaging in a few projects and we highly recommend this solution.


What Do You Need to Start?

  1. An app server or cloud environment on which you will create, target and send notifications.
  2. An iOS, Android or web client app to receive messages.
  3. A Push Notification Service Provider, like Firebase Cloud Messaging to enable communication between an app and an app server.
  4. A valid certificate if you want to also serve iOS through FCM.

Pro tip from our developers:

While implementing push notifications into your app, remember, that users receive notifications even when they have your app off. Often, your notification will encourage them to launch it. Make sure your app launches properly after a user taps a push notification.

If we’ve convinced you, here’s a video that explains exactly how to implement push notifications with Ionic and Firebase step by step: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_P1Q0vhOHs

And if you have any questions, send us a message at hello@appstronauts.co.

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