As it says in the Queen song, “Another one bites the dust.” In this case, the “one” meaning a major push notification platform and this time it’s Xtify. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard news like this. Back in 2016, we got the announcement Facebook would be shuttering their popular push notification platform Parse. Then, as soon as 2017 rolled around, January, to be specific, we got the same message from IBM. They announced they would be closing their Xtify push notification service on January 10, 2018.
So what’s the big deal with push? Aren’t they just like emails? No, not exactly. Think of push notifications as laser targeted messages for users of an app. How targeted? How about a 50% higher open rate with a push message than a traditional email blast. Yeah. They’re that good. And not only are push notifications a great way to reach your app users, but, they’re also awesome at keeping app users engaged. A study by Urban Airship (also in our list below) has shown that mobile app retention rates are up to 10 times as much for users who frequently receive push messages.
Push notifications are here to stay and with the constantly changing market, we wanted to use this post as a chance to present you with some of the best push notification platform alternatives to Xtify. We’ve rounded up some of the major players in the market, but there are always new companies springing up in this hotly contested field. If we missed your favorite, be sure to leave a comment below.
Let’s get started….
Kumulos has been our favourite platform for a while and gets the best of the best vote from us here. They offer a platform that’s easy to set up, easy to use and it fits very well with how we work at Waracle. Kumulos full system re-branding and customer portal feature lets you easily offer customers a Push Notification dashboard where they log into to run push notification campaigns, view results etc. It has all the features you need, like Campaign Automation, Geofencing, Channel and Segmentation targeting, automated push as well rich push features like deep linking, URL support, emojis and silent push.
Kumulos pricing starts at $50 per month per app. Prices are dependant on the total number of push subscribers, which means you’re only paying for users that are actually using the service. Which can add up in the long run.
Carnival offers three main channels for user engagement: push messaging, in-app notifications and an easily customizable message stream. Carnival is easy to set up and get going with apps. They also feature a simple drag and drop interface so anyone, not just coders, can get an app up and running in minutes. They also have an easy setup wizard for automatic integration with analytics platforms like Adobe Analytics, Amplitude, Flurry, Google Analytics, and Mixpanel. The main focus for Carnival is on ecommerce/retail businesses who are looking for personalized rich messaging beyond just a standard push message.
As of 2017, Carnival no longer carries their pricing on their web site, but we hear that pricing starts from around £250 a month and goes up depending on the number of Monthly Active Users.
Follow Carnival on Twitter.
As with other companies in our roundup, Urban Airship offers push notifications, analytics, and in-app messages. What’s unique to Urban Airship, however, is their digital wallet feature that integrates directly with Apple Pay and Google Wallet. This allows retailers to offer coupons, deals and loyalty cards through their apps to keep customers coming back. As with Kumulos, Urban Airship offers a web based interface where push messages can be input by clients directly, segment them by location, platform or preference. Another of Urban Airship’s unique features is their “Customer Churn Prediction”, which uses machine learning to forecast which users are apt to abandon an app, displays the results in real time and offers automated messaging to users to engage interest – stopping churn before it even starts.
Urban Airship produced this video case study that shows how they assisted Dinda, a Brazilian based clothing retailer, to drive revenue by 60%
The Basic Plan, which does include support, starts at $99/month for up to 10,000 addressable users. Beyond that, the Essential Plan ($149/month) and the Comprehensive Plan ($349/month) are tiered price according to the number of addressable users.
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If there’s one thing that Streethawk is about – it’s deep linking. Deep linking is the idea that, when you share a link with someone on a mobile device, the link will open in the relevant app, rather than just a web browser. This leads to a better user experience. In fact, Streethawk reports that apps can lose up to 70% of their users after 3 days of installation without deep linking. Streethawk has three main products: Engage, Deeplinks and Pontzi. Deeplinks is their deep linking engagement platform, Pntzi is for A/B testing and analytics and Engage is their mobile app engagement and notifications platform. Within Engage, there are a number of configurable push notification services, including segmentation, geo-fencing and their iBeacon functionality. Currently, Streethawk supports iOS, Android, PhoneGap, Xamarin and Web applications and integrates with analytics platforms such as Mixpanel, Flurry, Mailgun and Segment.io, with more functionality on the way.
Here’s a quick demo walkthrough of Streethawk in action.
There’s no pricing information available on the Streethawk website, so if you’re interested in pricing plans with Streethawk, the best option seems to be to contact them directly.
Follow Streethawk on Twitter.
QuickBlox is free for up to 20,000 monthly users and unlimited push notifications. The catch, however, is that push notifications are throttled to 20 per second. Each instance is hosted on a shared cloud server. For most small apps, this might be enough, but for enterprise scale you’ll want to check out QuickBlox higher tier options. The higher tiers offer more throughput and a dedicated instance, but you’re going to have to pay for it. From $599/month for up to 200,000 active users all the way up to $2,399/month for an unlimited plan.
Although the video is a few years old, this is a good runthrough of the QuickBlox platform and how it works with Push Notifications.
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Localytics is a full featured, rich push notification platform that supports Android, Apple, Windows, Apple TV and web apps, Once the Localytics SDKs are installed into your app, the product is easily accessed through a thoughtfully designed web GUI. Localytics breaks their product down into three main areas: Discover, which gives you user analytics on your app; Engage, the push messaging interface; and Optimize, where you can track the success of your push campaigns. As with the rest of the providers we’ve listed in this article, the Localytics push platform has everything you’d expect in a push notification platform: segmented targeting of users, in-app notifications, and geofencing. Two new twists developed by Localtyics on the push notification are an “App Inbox”, which allows personalized messages to be sent to a user’s inbox directly inside an app, and remarketing, which ties into a Facebook ads account so Localytics users can target audiences with personal ads on their Facebook feeds. Whew. Yeah, there’s a whole lot going on with Localytics, which can sometimes feel daunting. The site has great documentation and a number of quick start guides to help users get going but, overall, Localytics might be a bit overkill for anything less than enterprise level apps.
No pricing information available on the Localytics site.
CEO & Co-Founder Raj Aggarwal hosts this video that explains some of the philosophy behind the company and its platform.
Follow Localytics on Twitter.
Xtify might be gone but, as you can see from our list above, there are plenty of alternatives to Xtify and their push services on the market today. The choice will ultimately rely on what’s best for your app and your audience.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your app audience and increase app engagement, push notifications is one of your best bets. And if you’re looking to incorporate push notifications into your next app or project – why not give Waracle a call? We promise we won’t….(excuse the pun) push you away. </span