Concept: Interactive Push Notifications with Gmail

Push notifications are being used in so many novel different ways. As Google’s Progressive Web Apps become more popular, the barrier to entry to being able to broadcast notifications to a user’s phone is getting lower and the possibilities for new interactions.

Progressive Web App Notifications

There are countless new possibilities for push notifications on a phone where a user doesn’t have your native app installed. Many mobile web experiences have existed almost exclusively in the browser, until now. An app install is no longer required to get onto a user’s home screen and interact with them, and the onboarding process is so familiar — you may have already seen it in chrome web.

Product Hunt uses Notifications to push out new posts in your browser

Here are some examples from The Guardian’s PWA push notifications during Brexit. They offer the user an interaction — greater value and more desirable than being taken into an app onto a different task. These notifications do not disrupt the user’s current activities.

The Guardian’s Interactive Brexit Polls with Instant Results

Even eCommerce is making advances into this notification space. Global eCommerce brands like Jumia in Africa and eXtra Electronics in the Middle East are boosting sales with Progressive Web App notifications. Jumia boosted their conversion rate 9x by sending push notifications to abandoned carts, and eXtra boosted web sales by over 100%.

Allow notifications? Users already already doing it and responding to brands

Interactive Notifications in Gmail

Google can take this a step further. My phone recently updated to Android 7.0 Nougat, and with that came the new notifications view. You can see now that the presentation between the notification actions and information sections have more contrast than ever.

Here is a gmail notification for an email I got from Quickbooks — this easily could have been replaced with a simple poll. What if any email could have these simple replies built right in?

Insert a Call to Action right in the notifications panel for more seamless conversions

The Downsides? This may be hard to manage with multiple emails coming in at a time. This also would open the doors for spammers to enter into a user’s phone and start serving endless notifications.

This could be solved by an opt-in service, powered by Google Now. They already are delivering you information such as flights, package shipping, etc. directly from your email — why not start pulling other types of data like polling and simple surveys? I am already an avid user of their Google Opinion Rewards, it’s time to bridge the two. You could swipe into your Google now view, and enable interactive notifications for further updates on the topic.

Since emails are universal and responsive, there wouldn’t be a huge jump to adopt this. You cannot rely on your Call to Action to be in a user’s notification bar when the user may be opening the email on their desktop. These interactive notifications would just begin as an added layer.

These could also be another way that Google AdWords enters Gmail. Use these surveys and questionnaires as a paid addition to your email served only to mobile-users on the go. Google AdWords already has a lot of premium features attached to Search Engine listings that organic results do not have — who’s to say that direct email marketing won’t be the next direction for the AdWords platform.

Originally published at on September 21, 2016.