What is in-app messaging?

In-app messages are delivered to the customer while they are using the app. This means you are connecting with your audience at the perfect time; when they have already decided to engage with your brand.

It’s an incredibly useful channel, serving a wide variety of use cases (as we’ll see later in this article).

And unlike push notifications, they are not bound by the formatting restrictions imposed by the browser provider and operating systems. This means you can be more creative with the appearance of the message, using either pre-built templates or even building your own with HTML.

From mobile banners, or “toasts”, to full-screen takeovers, in-app messages allow you to engage app users in whatever way you think is right for your brand and audience.

And the best part of all? They are not permission-based, meaning you can send them to everyone who has your app!

The (lifetime) value of in-app messaging

In-app messages are more than simply a nice add-on. They are a vital means of extending the lifetime value of your user base through relevant and rewarding experiences.

For essential messages, they also have an advantage over emails; there’s no danger of them ending up in a spam folder!

From a welcome series designed to exhibit your app’s most useful and profitable features to sales promotions targeting VIPs and even cart recovery campaigns, they have huge scope to offer you immediate ROI.

One of our clients, a sports betting and gaming brand, has used them to drive a 35% increase in purchases made through their app.

Who can send and receive in-app messages?

Getting started with in-app messaging is relatively easy. Following deployment of the Xtremepush SDK to your app (requires minimal developer support), you can start sending messages to your entire user base. 

No opt-in is needed. And both Android and iOS devices support this channel. 

Best practices for in-app messaging

As it’s coming from your app and not an operating system (as with push notifications) there is no character limit for an in-app message. You are also free to play around with the format.

When it comes to the style you have three options; banner, fullscreen or a custom design.


This is a thin, alert-style message, suitable for subtle and short messages. You can choose for it to appear at the top, bottom or middle of the screen. If you’re wondering how to make a banner, you can easily create using various design tools and templates available online.

Three variations of in-app message banner



Obviously, this means the message will take up the entire screen. This is perfect for when you have some really great imagery to strengthen your message and/or you want to capture the user’s complete attention.

JPEG, PNG and even animated GIF files are all supported.


If someone on your team is comfortable with writing HTML code then you are also free to create your own unique layout and design.

Finally, then you can decide on the orientation of the message, either portrait, landscape or responsive (meaning it changes depending on the orientation of the device itself).

You can read more about the creative guidelines for an in-app message here.

Real-time, event-triggered customer engagement

Depending on the purpose of the message, and the goal you are trying to achieve, campaigns can, broadly speaking, be triggered in two ways;

  • The opening of the app
  • An in-app event

In this first instance, you might have an important message to deliver to all users (a new feature, for example, or a flash sale). This would be delivered as soon as the app is opened to ensure everyone sees it.

When it comes to a specific event-trigger, however, there is a wide range of options and use cases. These campaigns are more than likely going to be connected to a particular page view.

You can also set the number of times a given event must occur before the message is sent. If a user opens the app three times, for example, but does not get beyond the log-in page then you might want to send a message directing them towards an FAQ or trouble-shooting page.

Segmentation and personalised marketing

We always emphasise the importance of segmentation when you are creating a campaign. This advice applies to all of your digital customer engagement channels.

An example of an in-app message sent by a sports betting brand

When it comes to in-app engagement, you’re likely to be looking at segments based on their previous in-app and purchase behaviour in addition to other typical attributes like gender and location.

For example, you might want to promote a new line of women’s shoes to app users that have previously bought some item of womenswear, or even just viewed products in that category.

If you wanted to encourage app users to create a profile you could segment users based on their account status and deliver an in-app campaign that contains an incentive to do so. This could be something like free shipping for a period of time or a discount on their first purchase.

And alongside the segmentation, you’ll want to include personalised details such as the user’s name.

The Xtremepush platform makes all of this easy, tracking each user’s in-app and cross-channel activity so that you can create relevant and engaging campaigns.

Use cases and best in-app message examples

Cart abandonment campaigns

Every vertical suffers its fair share of abandoned carts, but eCommerce brands get it the worst! In-app campaigns can be used to recover these sales with compelling imagery and personalised content.

A cart abandonment campaign delivered via in-app message

Extend session time

Trigger a message to be delivered at the average session time and keep more of your users in the app for longer. You might use it to promote similar content based on each individual’s browsing history or suggest a new product that they haven’t viewed yet.

Onboard new app users

70% of people who download an app are dormant within a week, never to return to it.

A well-thought-out series of messages can help you communicate the value of your app and highlight it’s most useful features and pages.

Using in-app messages to onboard new app users

Price-drop campaigns

Target app users who have favourited certain products, or added them to their wishlist, with a price-drop alert delivered while they are in the app and perfectly placed to buy.

Increase opt-ins for iOS push notifications

As iOS app users need to give their permission to be sent push notifications, brands are always looking for new opportunities to persuade them.In-app messaging is an excellent way to express to users who are yet to opt-in, and even those have previously declined, the value of giving consent.

Using in-app messages to increase opt-ins for push notifications

Increase account registrations

As we mentioned earlier, in-app campaigns are often used to persuade users to create accounts, or even to trouble-shoot issues that users are having when trying to log-in. 

We’ve helped our banking clients to increase the number of registered app users by up to 10% in this way.

example from taken from a retail banking client

Getting started

If you’re interested in exploring the potential this channel offers then get in touch with us today and we can schedule a demo.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the complete digital engagement platform, purpose-built for multichannel marketing. It empowers brands to deliver personalised, relevant and real-time messages across email, web browser, mobile app, sms and social messengers.

The platform is completely modular and combines enterprise-grade analytics with a full suite of campaign and automation tools. This provides brands with accessible and actionable data, enabling them to unify the silos, create dynamic customer experiences and execute core business goals at speed and scale.

Xtrempush was named in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms. Read that report here.