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As previously predicted, the marriage of responsive websites and push notifications is gaining momentum. Up until recently, brands that wanted to distribute prudent content via push notifications better have an app sitting on the smartphones of its target demographic. Why should marketers care about easy, browser-based push notifications for their content? Because push notifications have a 30x better opt-in rate than email. Google just took browser-based push notifications mainstream.

Here’s a snippet from Google’s press release this morning:

This release of Chrome for Android supports the new emerging web standard for push notifications, enabling users to opt in to allow a specific website to send them push notifications just like an installed native app. Over the coming weeks, mobile web users will be able to opt-in to receiving push notifications from early adopters including Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News. Roost and Mobify also provide services that make it easy for developers to integrate web-based push notifications into their site with minimal custom implementation work.

This effort is part of a larger Google project called Service Workers. The aim of Service Workers is to give developers the ability to enable native app functionality on websites. Since many brands build apps simply for the push notification functionality, it’s appropriate that this audience re-engagement mainstay would lead the news in Chrome’s latest release.

Here’s a demo of how the functionality works for content consumers on mobile with a desktop example below:

chrome push notificationChrome isn’t the first browser to provide an API for web-push notifications. Safari provided the ability with its release of OS X Mavericks over a year ago. But since Safari on desktop boasted a mere five percent browser market share, that release went largely unnoticed by web developers and content marketers.

Other Chromium browsers (e.g. Opera) are expected to follow later this year, incrementally increasing audience reach with each release. Firefox will follow late Q2 or early Q3.

The de-coupling of push notifications from mobile apps via Chrome is good news for marketers. Why? Because roughly 50 percent of web users experience the Internet within a Chrome browser.

For Relevance, specifically, 75 percent of our subscribers consume our content from a desktop. Chrome’s new capability coupled with Roost’s technology platform empowers us with the ability to push prudent content, not just to our subscribers’ mobile devices, but directly to most of their desktops as well.

And, as mentioned above, web-push is not simply a new tool for developers. Third party providers such as Roost were launched to make it easier for marketers to enable, optimize and measure this type of content distribution. They’ve even released two guides to help navigate this new Chrome update – Chrome Notification Integration Guide and the Chrome Notification User Guide.

Third party providers like Roost pull in APIs from multiple browsers (i.e. Chrome, Safari, and soon, Firefox) under one user dashboard while providing cross-browser analytics, A/B testing, geo-targeting, audience profiling, scheduling, and campaign setup and tracking.

For marketers and/or customer service folks, web-push capabilities can deliver the following:

  • Content distribution for content marketers, publishers, and media companies
  • Offer content consumers the ability to opt-in to specific author or topic notifications
  • Notifications to community members when someone responds to a comment or when engagement milestones (number of likes, comments, etc.) are hit
  • Product inventory/shipping notifications (product sold out, package shipped, new inventory just arrived, etc.)
  • Notifications to travelers when their flight arrives at the gate

The month of April has been full of Google mobile-geddon SEO predictions and EU anti-trust news. However, this little gem has been under the radar. Content marketers taking note of the SEO implications of Google’s mobile focus better take equal or greater consideration of its new content distribution capabilities.

For brands, ranking in the search engines is nice, but imagine having content distribution access to an opt-in audience that’s 30 times larger than an existing email database. That would give Relevance access to over 1.65 million subscribers with a few strokes of the keyboard. Browser-based push notifications look very promising for content marketers wishing to grow and capitalize on their audiences.

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