Why We Added New Push Notification Features

by | Mar 7, 2017


Our dashboard had unlimited push notifications from day 1, but the function was really simple: Write a message, hit send, and everyone will get your push notification.

One of our users, Chiefy, was building an app to reduce election fraud in Ghana called Decision Defender. On the day of the election, Chiefy wanted the ability to send different messages to voters depending on their polling location. The easiest mobile solution would be segmented push notifications.

We were already collecting polling data from users, as well as additional demographic data via Facebook. To implement targeting, we combined the incoming demographic data with the capabilities of Firebase (the Google Cloud product we use for push notifications) by building filters using Javascript that parsed through incoming user data to tell Firebase where each notification should go.

We built these features into every Hatch dashboard. That meant that any user that was collecting user data (through Facebook login or otherwise) would be able to send targeted push notifications.

That’s the beauty of Hatch— if we build a cool feature for one user, it’s deployed for all users.

A couple weeks later, the creators of the Whole Truth Booth, a video storytelling app, asked for delayed push notifications. They wanted to be able to schedule a push notification to go out at a later time or date. We made that happen by building a delay function to the Firebase API call using some simple Javascript. Basically, the push notification sits at Hatch until the time comes to tell Firebase to send the push notification.

Now any Hatch user can select a specific time for their push notification to be sent. Since implementing that feature, we’re seeing that many of our users want to schedule their push notifications well in advance.

There are other app-specific push features we’ve enabled over time, like automatic push notifications when users receive in-app messages, when they’ve received comments on their posts, or when an item they’ve posted has been purchased.

We’re still building out new push notifications features based on user feedback. We’re most curious to get more feedback on what behavior-based segmenting users want to see. For example, do people want to target push notifications to users that haven’t been active for a few days? Or to users that open the app repeatedly but never post?

Point is: We’re still building out push functionality. Stay tuned for more.

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