How To Use Push Notification for Black Friday Campaigns

Black Friday, which has in recent years picked up a serious amount of popularity in South Africa, is just around the corner.  If you haven’t already started pushing your Black Friday marketing campaign, time is fast running out.

With push notifications becoming increasingly popular as a channel to engage with subscribers, they are an effective and valuable marketing tool for businesses, and a simple way for you to drive your Black Friday campaign.

What Are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are short messages that are received front and centre by popping up on a user’s mobile phone or desktop device via their chosen web browser. This is regardless of whether or not the related app or website is open. They convey real-time updates, transactional messages, reminders and more.

Push notifications are a powerful marketing tool to help your business stay in contact with your customers and relay valuable, interesting or “must-know” information about your brand and products. Obviously, to remain compliant messages can only be sent to customers who have agreed that you can contact them by opting in, downloading your app, or other methods.

Push Notifications vs SMS

There are similarities between push notifications and text messages in that both go directly to a user’s phone and look similar on the lock screen. However, they are quite different from one another.

  • Push notifications via an app are free for users to receive and respond to
  • A text message will open on the user’s messaging app, while a push notification will take the user to the app that sent the message
  • Many users associate SMS promotional content with spam, especially when getting messages from random numbers.
  • Push notifications via apps make clear that the message is from the app the user installed so they know exactly who sent it
  • Users feel more in control as they can opt-in and opt-out or mute push notifications


Push notifications give your business the freedom and flexibility to automate notifications based on user behaviours. You can also segment your users to ensure that the content you send is personalised, relevant and timely, thus keeping your subscribers always in the know.

As good as push notifications are, it’s important not to go overboard when using this method. Too much of a good thing, right? Frustrated customers may mute or opt out leaving you with a tarnished brand image.

How to Create Effective Push Notifications for Black Friday Campaigns

A well-crafted push notification is a gateway to igniting engagement. While a poorly designed campaign will be seen as spam and is a one-way ticket to losing their listening ear.

  • Unless it’s relevant, don’t just send the same message to all your subscribers to your app. Messages with more personalised content that speaks to an audience have been shown to have significantly higher engagement than non-personalised content. Make sure your push notifications add value rather than becoming annoying or disruptive and give users information they can act on that will benefit them.
  • To make sure your push notifications will get the highest click rate, stay under a 10-word limit. This works best because the actual number of words visible on a mobile screen varies by smartphone screen size and if your push notification gets cut off on the lock screen, it becomes detrimental to your conversation.
  • Another reason why you need your push notifications to appear fully on your lock screen is that iOS and Android devices handle notifications differently. With an Android device, the notification stays on the lock screen until the user takes action and either opens the notification to read it or manually clears it. With an iOS device, notifications automatically disappear after the user unlocks their phone, even if they don’t open the app to read the message.
  • Think of writing an effective push notification like writing the subject for an email. In a few words and without sounding spammy, you need to capture attention, provoke interest and convince the receiver to open your app to find out more.

Quite a tough gig that may take a bit of trial and error! Try to remember these salient points:

  • Cut the fluff. Keep it short and succinct.
  • Get to the point quickly
  • Be clear in communicating the goal
  • Be persuasive, and offer rewards or value.
  • Make it awesome or creative.

eCommerce App example:  “Black Friday Only: You get 50% off selected sportswear”

USSD Push Messages, Short Codes and Bulk SMS for Black Friday Campaigns

Another method to communicate with your customers and subscribers is through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). Some examples of USSD include “please call me” messages,  recharging data or voice call bundles on your mobile phone or how you receive an OTP when making a banking transaction.  Many people find this method of communication less invasive when compared to a phone call.

If you want to send personalised, time-sensitive messages that are accessible on all devices and stand the best chance of being opened and responded to, this is the way to go.

USSD Push messages also known as NI USSD are used to “push a message” onto a customer to bring them a service. These can be delivered in the same way as an SMS but allow the user to interact and browse the menu by making selections i.e. request balance enquiries, enter competitions and get reminders.

USSD Pull messages are used to “pull in” a customer to make use of a service through a message gateway. This option uses USSD shortcodes. For example, dialling *100 could lead your customer to a menu of products to purchase or useful information they can engage with.

USSD is a cheap method of communication, can be automated and puts the focus on your message or campaign. It is also not restricted by the type of mobile phone a customer has as long as they have access to a GSM network.

Used well, SMS is another versatile, secure and cost-effective medium that can be used effectively and personalised for marketing, surveys and competitions. Bulk SMS allows you to reach your customers and subscribers at scale.

Harness the Power of Push Notifications

Push notifications are not just confined to mobile device apps. Businesses can use a web push, desktop notification and USSD with shortcodes as well. Depending on who you’ll be targeting with each notification, it’s useful to keep in mind that you can use an OS push notification service to target both your app and your website.

If used and crafted well, push notifications can play an important role in your business growth and brand popularity. They can create new users, build a loyal customer base, promote new products or offers, prompt continuous customer engagement, get customer feedback and drive repeat purchases.

Contact the Cellfind Business Team for advice and pricing options on how your business can use the power of push notifications to drive a successful Black Friday campaign.


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