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FAQs

Why OpenBack?

Competitive Advantage

OpenBack's hybrid approach to delivering notifications enables apps to target users using real-time contextual data such as locations or user information, leverage enterprise ready Client APIs and maintain a keen eye on message metrics.

Marketer Friendly

Easily create, manage and track notifications from anywhere through our OpenBack dashboards. We give you the controls to personalize messages, add content, change message types, preset limits and add contextual triggers.

Advanced Features

OpenBack comes standard with features you won't find anywhere else including: 30+ contextual trigger groups, multiple message types, post delivery control, A/B testing, multi app management, intelligent routing, and message tracking metrics.

Enterprise Ready Support

OpenBack provides a single instance and available APIs for delivering messages to any Android or iOS device developed on any environment including: Windows, PhoneGap, Cordova, Titanium, Xamarin and Unity.

Platform Reliability

OpenBack guarantees the proper on-time delivery of every message. Send an instant notification or schedule a recurring one, the smart notification can still fire even if users are out of data connection or offline, as messages are pre-cached within the device.

Easy Integration

OpenBack offers a quick implementation and has the resources available to make sure you're supported from start to finish. The lightweight SDKs can be integrated within seconds.

Improving Engagement & Retention

Smart Notifications enable marketers to communicate to app users with messages that add value to the product or service offerings. They are used to keep users engaged with the app and remind them to come back again; leading to less user churn and great Lifetime values (LTV).

Analytics & Metrics

What is Data Polling?

Every time the Message Monitor checks if the triggers have been met, this data can be stored, and then polled, or sent back, to the OBE for future analysis and reporting.

The polling schedule can be changed in the dashboard, under Apps - or it can be turned off completely. Once data is polled back, it is no longer stored locally in the OpenBack SDK within your app.

How frequently does the number of app installs update?

The frequency at which the dashboard pulls in data from your apps is based on the polling frequency set in your App Settings. This is defaulted to 12 hours. This is also how often the data from your message campaigns will be updated.

Message Types & Settings

Is there any chance a customer that has our app installed gets too many messages?

There are global limits for each app (iOS and Android are separate) which means you can limit the maximum number of messages any customer that has your app installed gets from all OpenBack messages over several time periods.

What is User Level Messaging?

User level messaging is where particular messages just go to some of users who have your app installed. This is used in situations including:

  1. Using Control Groups (where a group of users never get any messages, so you can tell the uplift from all your OpenBack messages before rolling it out to everyone).

  2. If you are using Custom Backend triggers, where specific data is passed into OpenBack for specific users.

How do Control Groups work?

A control group is a group of users who don't get any of the messages setup on OpenBack. The remaining group who do get messages are called the Variant. Control groups are specific to each mobile app and so apply to all messages for that mobile app. The users in these groups don't change for each message.

The size of the control group is defined as a % of the total number of apps installed and is setup in the App Settings menu, and are defined when the OpenBack SDK is first added to your mobile app. When you setup each message, you can decide whether the Control group is excluded from getting the notifications relating to this message or not.

What is the difference between a push notification and a local notification?

There are two types of mobile app notifications:

  • Push notifications: These are messages sent from the cloud or a server somewhere to a particular app on a particular device using either Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) or Apple Push Notifications Service (APNs) or both. Often companies and their systems and apps will use intermediaries to send the push notifications out through FCM and APNs.

  • Local Notifications: OpenBack doesn't use push notifications to send notifications, we believe that each install of your app should decide when a notification is shown to the user and as such we send all notifications to the user locally. We call these Local Notifications.

Push Notifications and Local Notifications are identical from the users perspective. The underlying technology and platform to do local notifications, and make them flexible and easy to use for any mobile app is at the core of OpenBack's proprietary platform.

What are messaging limits?

These limits are set on a level for each mobile app, separately for iOS and Android apps. The limits can be set for rolling daily, weekly, monthly and yearly periods.

Once the messages setup for those app installs reach the limits within that period, no more messages will be delivered, and they are discarded as they are triggered.

What is an In-App Message?

An in-app message is a proprietary message type created by OpenBack to enable you to display more flexible content options to your app users. An in-app message can be a URL, image, video, app install or any HTML5. For an image or video, the URL must be a direct link to the content which you are hosting by your own means. For video, only .mp4 and .avi are supported currently.

For Android an in-app message is completely independent of notifications and the user giving permission to accepted notifications, and can be displayed anytime irrespective of whether the app is running or not.

For iOS the in-app message is only displayed to the user after they have clicked on a notification, and as such require user permission for notifications.

How do recurring messages work?

Details on the recurring message settings are found here. The Min Time Between Delivery and Min Time Between Interactions settings will respect whichever setting comes first.

For example, if you set up a message with 15 max deliveries and 3 max interactions, the message will stop sending when either of those metrics are reached. Likewise, if you set up a message with a minimum of 1 day between deliveries and 1 week between interactions, the message will respect the interaction minimum as it is more important than the delivery minimum.

What is the difference between Global Messages and User Specific Messages?

A Global Message is one that is sent out to every app, and is then ready and waiting for the selected triggers to be met. A User Specific Message is one just sent out to a specific user's app only.

Integration Questions

How can I test on a single device?

Testing on a single device is super simple. When integrating the OpenBack SDK, set up a Custom Value to be used as a unique identifier. The steps for setting up a Custom Value can be found here for Android and here for iOS. To keep it simple, set the Custom Value 1 to be a user's email address.

Now that you've set up the Custom Trigger on the app side, you need to set it up on the dashboard. The steps to do so can be found here. For this simple test, create a Custom Value with the following fields:

  • Label - User Email
  • Operator Type - String
  • Default Operator - Equals
  • Default Value - This can be any value, just use user_email for simplicity

Now just create a simple campaign and set your email address to be the value for your new Audience Segment.

Does the Location trigger work without permissions?

Yes the Location trigger works without location permissions but it will work more accuractely with location permissions enabled. The Location trigger has four different options:

  • Country
  • Exact location
  • Home
  • Work

Each of these options will work without Location permissions enabled. We can do this through geofencing, location based on IP and various other methods.

OpenBack Platform (OBE) & SDKs

How often does the app check the triggers for each message?

The OpenBack SDK within each app checks the triggers based on a frequency as setup in the Apps menu, which can be changed anytime. We call this the Message Monitor.

It can either be based on a schedule, or event driven based on something the user or device does, or both.

My app has hundreds of millions of users, can OpenBack handle that sort of scale and number of users?

OpenBack’s patent pending architecture handles data loads using proprietary data processing approaches that significantly reduce the complexity of scaling. OpenBack’s platforms have been live tested to support over 2.4 billion mobile apps over a 24 hour period.

What is Night Time mode?

Prevent Night Time Messages - Night time mode is an app level setting that ensures that the app gets no messages from any message between 11pm and 6am, local device time.

Does OpenBack work when the user has my app shut?

Yes, OpenBack works even when the app is closed.

What is an Interaction?

An interaction is when the platform can tell for sure that someone has done something with whatever message they received, no matter what message type. It could be they clicked on the message, or in the case of a notification, dismissed it.

iOS Specific Questions

Does the OpenBack iOS SDK support iOS Provisional Authorization?

Yes, the OpenBack SDK handles all Provisional Push Notifications as long as the permissions are set properly by the developer.

As of iOS 12, notifications can be delivered quietly using Provisional Authorization before a user has given permission to receive notifications. When a notification is delivered quietly, it can only be seen in the iOS Notification Center, which the user accesses by swiping down from the top of their phone. They don't appear as banners or show up on the lock screen. As you might have guessed, quiet notifications also don’t make a sound.

Here is a guide that shows how to set up Provisional Authorization properly.

Does OpenBack record an iOS user's screen?

OpenBack does not record the user's screen on iOS.

Android Specific Questions

Are notifications delivered when a user's phone is in Do Not Disturb mode?

This does depend on the device, firmware and mobile OS, but in almost all cases the notifications are delivered, but without a sound or vibration.

Why is only 1 line of notification shown in the notification center?

Each Android version is different in how it displays and shows notifications. Some implementations of Android Lollipop, in particular, may truncate the notification title to fit on 1 line; whose length is then dependant on the device screen size and orientation.

The OpenBack dashboard prompts warnings if the content becomes so long it's likely to not be displayed properly across all devices.

Setting up ProGuard rules?

There is no need to set up ProGuard rules regarding the OpenBack SDK. These rules are set in the SDK and are included in your app upon building.

Issues

How do I know the OpenBack SDK is secure, safe and doesn’t collect unauthorised data from my app?

The OpenBack SDK adheres to best security practices by using the most up to date protocols and standards. OpenBack’s SDK and platform have been reviewed many times by independent organisations, and the SDK specifically has also been independently reviewed and rated by SafeSDK.com – more information on that review can be found here.

Does OpenBack drain the battery?

No it doesn't! In fact, a study was carried out by Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland which tested the amount of power consumed by the OpenBack SDK and other 3rd party push providers. OpenBack came out on top, beating other 3rd party push providers by a marginal difference. The results of these tests can be requested, simply email integrations@openback.com or ask about it in our live chat below.

My Messages Aren't Delivering?

All apps come with default message frequency limits which can sometimes be hit without the user being aware. These limits are set in place to reduce the possibility of too many messages being sent out to users. The defaults for these limits are currently:

  • Daily - 4 messages
  • Weekly - 10 messages
  • Monthly - 20 messages
  • Yearly - 300 messages

Message Frequency Limits do not effect Standard Push messages.