Interactive Push Notifications Debut

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Urban Airship solution will free in-app marketers to move beyond the standard options of "open" or "ignore."

Urban Airship has introduced what it claims is the first cross-platform support for interactive communications via push notifications. The system, which also can embed widgets, is able to operate in iOS 8 and Android operating systems 4.3 and higher.

Urban Airship's pre-packaged solution offers up 13 button-enabled options for interactions within push messages. These include “shop now,” “remind me later,” “share,” and “download.” Users, however, can develop other options of their own.

“Up till now, when app users received push notifications, they had only one of two choices: swipe and open it or ignore it. If they ignored it because they were involved with something else, they often wouldn't remember it later,” says Corey Gault, Urban Airship's director of communications.

For marketers, Gault says the development opens up vast new possibilities for customer engagement. “This not only extends more control to the user, but it creates greater connectivity and intelligence to the marketer,” he says. “It will be easy to generate paths to engage users with the brand and learn more what individual customers care about. It's the next generation of direct response marketing through apps.”

Urban Airship's solution not so much takes advantage of proprietary technology as it does of evolving mobile technology. The introduction of interactive push comes just ahead of the expected September release of Apple's iOS 8 operating system, which will be able to handle the added capabilities and make the innovation instantly scalable for marketers.

Because Android owners use varying versions of the phone's operating system, interactive push won't be instantly scalable on the format. It can only run on the KitKat and latest generation Jelly Bean systems, which currently account for about 29% of Android devices in the marketplace, according to Google.

Urban Airship describes itself as a mobile relationship management company that delivers billions of push messages each month.

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