Web Push & Email – How To Determine When To Use Which Channel

On August 20, 2020
6min read
Ravi Trivedi CEO and Founder @PushEngage

In today’s world, we are connected with brands in more than one way. So, there is no single best tactic for reaching out to people. 

Business owners cannot just rely on one channel when communicating with audiences. You have to implement a multi-channel strategy to effectively reach out to prospects. 

Two marketing channels that are most commonly used in communicating & re-engaging users are – Web Push Notification & E-Mail.

It’s common to think that both accomplish the same goals. However, push notifications and emails have their own pros and cons. The question that comes to mind is: “How to know when to use which channel to engage users?” In this article, we will try to find out!

5 Elements to determine when to use which channel – Web Push Or E-Mail

Time Sensitive

E-mails are delivered to the inbox. To view the email, the user has to log in and then check the emails. 

In the case of web push notifications, they show up on a user’s device. This way, a visitor will receive push notifications even when they are not on the website.

There are times when you want to reach out to users instantly to share important news or a real-time update. That’s where push notifications typically come into play. 

For example, you are running a flash sale which is a time-bound event. So, you want users to come to your website before the flash sale expires.

You can send an email to update about the flash sale two or three days before. However, on the day of the sale, you need to instantly update the user about the sale. Similarly, if you are hosting a live class or webinar, send a push notification just before 5 or 10 minutes before.

Check out one live example that happened with Wicked Weasel. It was running a Facebook live stream which dropped multiple times due to technical difficulty. Once they were back, they needed to bring back customers to the event. Using web push, they were able to bring back users to the live call-in a timely manner. Here is the complete case study.

In cases where you need to reach out urgently, use Web Push Notifications.


In emails, you have the liberty to create long or short messages. However, in web push notifications, there is a limit to the number of characters. You will see that the notifications appearing on the websites are usually short alerts.

When you want to share about your new product release or monthly updates, send an email. Since these types of communications are usually long and e-mails are the best medium for it. Users can revisit their e-mails to know more about recent updates.

If you send notifications, then you have to create multiple notifications for each new update you have made in the last month. In case the user misses those notifications, they will never know about the recent releases.

Whenever sharing long content, it’s better to send emails rather than push notifications.


Many times visuals have more impact than text. If you are sharing information about new features or products with high-quality images then go for e-mail.

In Web Push Notification, you can add an image but only one. 

However, if visualization is important for delivering the message, then the email is a better choice in such cases.


What is the content of your communication? For any transactional or legal or anything that is mandated by law should be sent in an email. 

For example, if a customer has made a purchase, you can send push notification saying the purchase was a success. 

However, consider sending other details via email so that shoppers can come back to them anytime.

Similarly, if the user has created an account at your site, then all the details should be sent in an email like user id, account type and other things depending on your business.

Since push notifications cannot be saved and it gets lost once it expires or the user clicks it, the user cannot refer back to it. So, in such cases, E-mail is the best option to communicate with users.

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Campaign Objective

Before we create any marketing campaign, we define the objective. A simple analysis of the campaign objective can make it clear, which channel to use:

Ø  Does it have multiple action points or single-action points?

Ø  Do we have a separate landing page for the campaign?

Ø  Are we expecting instant action?

Push Notifications are good for a single point of action. 

For example, if you are running a sale, send a push notification. The objective is to get customers back to the site for the sale event. 

However, if you have multiple action points, then email is better. If you want the customer to fill out a form to claim a free gift, send an email.

For example, you are running a big sale event offering discounts on various categories. You want to build a landing page. For this case, it would be convenient to use one of the affordable landing page builders.

Eventually, you have created a landing page for the campaign, sending a push notification will be a better option. You can land the user directly on the landing page. In case you don’t have the landing page or there is a delay, send the deal details in an email. This way you do not have to send multiple push notifications for different offers. In a single email, you can share all the details of the campaign.

If you are expecting instant action from the user, send a web push notification. Users can simply click on notifications and take action. In case the campaign is more informative in nature, send an email where you are not expecting any instant action.


Are you worried about e-mail going to spam? Of course, you are. Check your email analytics to see if there is a dip in the performance of the campaign. If the performance has gone down, chances of your emails going to spam are high. Check with your technical team on how to stop emails going to spam

Inspect Your Emails

There are companies who buy email databases and then use that to send bulk emails. Since e-mails can be sent to anyone, even if they haven’t opted for it, the user may mark all such emails as spam. So, even if you are sending a genuine offer, it may land up in spam.

When it comes to web push notifications, there is no spam. Web Push Notification is a browser-based technology. Since the user doesn’t share any kind of personal information and hence the data cannot be shared. 

Web Push is a permission-based model. Unless the user allows, you cannot send push notifications. Push Notifications are delivered directly on the browser and are hard to miss. In case you are seeing low open rates, work on segmenting subscribers and sending targeted push notifications.

Till the time you get your email fixed for spam, use web push notifications. Never miss keeping your user engaged with your brand.

Lack Of Skilled Designer

Sending a well-designed email campaign requires skills. You need to create a quality copy and good images. Since e-mails are long-form; you need proofreading for the same. You can use the pre-defined templates; however, you still need to make critical changes.

In the case of web push notifications, the number of characters is limited to 50 to 60. You can easily craft a short title and description. 

However, you need to give due importance to the copy, but the effort needed in web push as compared to that in an e-mail is less. In web push, you can only add one image. You can either create one or can use license-free images. Once done, you can send it instantly. It doesn’t require high-end skills to send web push notifications.

Moreover, you need to have a good understanding not only about images but also other SEO factors. If you don’t have the availability to study it in-depth, you can rely on specialists who will do the job for you. Either way, the more you know, the better your results will be.

So, if you are a startup or lack design talent, use web push notifications. It’s an easier and quicker way to reach out to customers.


Both e-mails and push notifications are a great way to re-engage users. To get maximum benefits to use both in a complementary fashion. Few of the benefits of using both are:

Ø  If your emails are going to spam, send an exclusive coupon code via email. Send notifications immediately after sending the e-mail. Ask the user to check the emails to claim the offer. You can also suggest checking the spam folder. The more users move your emails to inbox, the better your future campaigns will perform.

Ø  You are working on lead generation for your product and have sent out an email. However, you can’t get readers to fill in the form. 

Create a form abandonment campaign in web push and start sending them to push notifications.

There are multiple ways to pair web push notifications with e-mails. However, keep in mind that spamming is a no-go regardless of the tool you choose. Users can easily mark your email as spam or block your push notifications. In such cases, you can never reach out to potential customers.

As long as you are moderate regarding the sending frequency and selective about your content, you’ll have no issues connecting to users both via push notifications and emails.

Article by Ravi Trivedi CEO and Founder @PushEngage

Ravi Trivedi is the CEO and founder of PushEngage. PushEngage is a leading platform for browser push notifications with customers in 150+ countries serving 3 billion monthly notifications. You can reach out to him on Twitter and Facebook.