What's new in Open Social?
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) is one of the most talked about shifts in the web. Why wouldn’t they be? They are the reason we can finally install web apps on our phone. The good news is that Open Social has also implemented a type of PWA called push notifications. Let’s see what they could mean for your community and how to best use them.
Just for clarification:
‘Progressive Web App’ is an umbrella term used to describe certain (mobile) web experiences that compete with app experiences. They bring features we expect from (mobile) apps to the (mobile) browser.
You’re probably already familiar with push notifications on your smartphone. Mobile applications often ask to send you updates and news. The same is actually possible from your web browser by using push notifications.
It sounds a bit like pop-ups, right? However, unlike pop-ups, push notifications can reach you anywhere, anytime - even when you don’t have that website open in a browser. That’s why they are pretty popular and are used by many companies, including Netflix, NASA, and Twitter - to name a few!
Why not just use an app for notifications? Good question. It’s a lot easier to write a single app that works with all applications and can send notifications than to write and maintain code for every platform that needs an app. All your browser really needs is permission to access your location and to send push notifications.
The Key Advantages
We implemented push notifications in Open Social with the purpose of bringing your members closer to the community platform.
Do push notification really work? It’s been found that push notifications have a high click-through rate. When they are implemented, case studies have shown that there can be up to a 15-25% increase in clicks. That’s a lot!
They are various advantages of using push notifications for your online community:
- Easy to reach. People spend a lot of time in their browser so reaching them there with important information is not a bad idea. And you can reach them at any time.
- Deliver important information. You can use push notifications to deliver personalized and important information to your members about community updates such as new features, events, guidelines, etc.
- Works across all devices. You can reach your customers on any platform that they are on, especially mobile!
- Easy to implement. Push notifications are pretty much frictionless. They have no download time and members are prompted to add the community to the home screen when they are on the platform.
Now that you know how push notifications benefit your community, we’re going to explain how they work in Open Social.
Here’s how it works
Push notifications are actually quite easy to implement, from both a member and community manager perspective.
A community member will land on the community as a normal web page in a browser. As the member explores the community, they will get promoted to enable push notifications. Once the member say yes then Voila! They will be able to stay up to date with all the community activities.
Members can enable or disable the push notifications on their settings page at a later stage as well.
N.B. Push notifications are also sent to members for the same activities that trigger a notification email (e.g. another user likes their event).
As a community manager, you need to enable this feature for your community through the Social PWA settings page. The settings are pretty flexible and are adjustable for names, icons, and colors.
The push notifications work on all devices except for iOS devices (mobile and tablet) and the Safari browser (desktop), which doesn’t support push notifications via the browser yet.
Read more about this feature on our resource center.
Push notifications FTW
Push notifications essentially bring the community to your members. Keeping your members engaged and motivating them to return can be a lot of work sometimes. By using the right features, such as PWA, you can bring members back with little work from your side.
Open Social has various features that help make your community the best it can be. We don't only offer standard features such as events, groups, and discussions, but we also welcome customers to suggest features that they would like to add to their community. Instead of risking the ideas and feedback of customers disappearing into a digital sea, we use a roadmap tool to collect and prioritize suggestions. Learn more about it here!