Google in particular has been throwing its weight behind initiatives that bring greater parity between apps and the web, like Android Instant Apps, which lets users stream app content without having to install an app; allowing apps to show up in search results; and enabling web push on Chrome for Android, which gives mobile web push experiences a decidedly app-like feel sans the actual app. (Google didn’t respond to an interview request.)
While Google and Mozilla and taking an open web approach, Apple allows Safari web push on desktop, but not on the mobile web.
That’s by design, Deglin said. Apple wants people to download apps because the App Store has been a cash cow, with more than 100 billion apps downloaded since 2008 when the store first launched.
Apple’s contribution to cross-platform notifications has largely been cosmetic. As part of its recent iOS 10 release, Apple rolled out rich notifications that allow developers to jazz up their push with images, GIFs, video and audio.
Last week, millennial news publisher Mic began using rich notifications in iOS 10 powered by OneSignal, which lets users play videos and preview stories directly on their lock screen.
“Mic has taken a POV that push and the low-friction consumption it enables will be the next major format for news,” said Mic’s chief strategy officer, Cory Haik. “Along with the engaging visual, the goal of our app is to provide awareness. … Personalized, rich notifications is exactly the right platform because it allows us to give the user news they actually care about, fast.”
Notifications play a central role in Mic’s engagement strategy.
“The heart of notifications is entertainment with information [and] the design must mirror that, but interaction is key,” Haik said. “Direct-to-consumer channels are a very meaningful way to connect with our audience and we see this highly visual, mobile-first storytelling format as a powerful part of the future of news.”