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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
COPPA and GDPR Compliant
OpenBack is fully COPPA and GDPR compliant while maintaining the ability to message users and personalise content.
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:
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).
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
.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.
Can you remove notifications?
All messages can be set to automatically expire, the expiration time can be set based on an amount of time after the notification is delivered, UTC time or device time.
Does OpenBack support large icons?
For an In-App Video Message, what types of video file are supported?
Ultimately the user's device must support whatever movie file type is contained on the source URL that is added to the Dashboard. We recommend using
.mp4 with H264 encoding as they are widely supported formats.
How to have a notification which when clicked opens a new web page as a webview of directly in the phone's browser?
You can configure a notification to open any web page either in a web view (in front of your app) or directly in the browser. You may want to load a web page in the phone's browser if the web page wants to take advantage of an auth (which uses an auth providers cookie), for example, Facebook. That auth wouldn't be available from a web view.
To have a notification open a browser with the link, at step 2 of Create/Edit a message, choose a Smart Notification as the Message Type and URL as the Notification type and include the web link in the the deeplink field.
To have a notification open as a web view with the link, at Step 2 of credit/edit a message, choose an In-App Message and enter the link there.
Can a notification link straight to another mobile app?
For Android, just put the Play Store web address/URL into the Notification URL field. If the app is already installed on the device, OpenBack automatically deeplinks to the mobile app locally on the device. If the app isn't already installed, it will bring the user to the play store to download it.
Deeplinks - how do they work with OpenBack?
Deeplinks to particular places of your mobile app are supported out of the box. In the URL field for notifications just include the deeplink from the URL scheme setup inside your mobile app. The URL scheme is defined by the developers of your app and will looking something like OpenBackAPP://openback/
Is my message shown on the lockscreen for iOS?
If the user has allowed your notifications to be shown on the lockscreen, then they will be - and it will display the app name and content. Bear in mind, the notification title isn't shown until the user views the notification from inside the notification center.
Once installed, can I send a message to all users?
Once the OpenBack SDKs are integrated into an app and released to the app store, the user needs to complete the update to the latest version of the app on their device and run it.
How can I send a video in a notification?
There are several options for using notifications to send users a video. You can see our guide here.
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
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:
- Exact location
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.
I can't see my app on the View Apps page?
If you can't see an app that you have recently created on the apps page, check that you have Demo Mode disabled. If Demo Mode is disabled and you're still seeing this issue, try refreshing the page or contacting email@example.com
Examples of User Info - Custom Values
This section outlines the most commonly used custom values which can be used to segment your audience, target specific users or be used to personalize the content of notifications. They are setup during integration of the OpenBack SDK into your app – iOS here – Android here.
Active values segment your users based on their general activity within your app. These values are effective for interacting with your most active and consistent users.
|Money Spent in-app||Segments your users by how much money they've spent in-app.|
|Real Time Location||Segments your users by their current location.|
|Purchased Product||Segments your users by a certain product they purchase.|
|Total Purchases||Segments your users by the amount of purchases they've made.|
|X Money Spent in last Y Days||Segments your users by the amount of money spent in a certain timeframe.|
|X Product Purchased in last Y Days||Segments your users by a certain product they purchased in the last number of days.|
|X Sessions in last Y Days||Segments your users by how many times they've used the app within a timeframe.|
New Users values are used to specifically target new users. These help in ensuring a new user will return to the app and become a loyal user.
|Install Date||Segments your users by when they installed the app.|
|First Made Purchase||Segments your users by when they made their first purchase.|
|First Purchase Product||Segments your users by what their first purchase was.|
Marketing values segment your users based on their previous interactions with your messages. These values are effective for reaching out to large numbers of your users without spamming them.
|Last Engaged with Message||Segments your users by when they last engaged with a message.|
|Last Received Any Message||Segments your users by when they last received a message.|
|Last Received Notification Message||Segments your users by when they last received a notification.|
Re-Engagement (Less Active)
Re-Engagement values segment your users based on their response to marketing or your app. It targets users who are relatively inactive within your app.
|Clicked or Interacted||Segments your users by when they last clicked or interacted with a notification.|
|Conversion from Message||Segments your users by whether or not they have been converted by a message.|
|Never Received a Message||Segments your users by whether or not they have ever received a message.|
Winback values segment your least active or lost users. These can be used to target users that have moved away from the app in order to bring them back.
|Last Purchased Product||Segments your users by what they last purchased.|
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.
What if I'm already using a notification provider other than Firebase?
You may have already implemented an SDK that also provides push notification services. These external SDKs can have a priority set on their notification handling service. We recommend using a custom notification handler class and setting a priority level. See more on this here
Can you read the notification payload information?
You can send extra information alongside the Smart Push payload which can then be read and used within your app.
Can you update notifications without notifying the user?
Yes you can. If a user receives a message and doesn't interact with it, then the message can be updated. Updating the message content in the OpenBack Dashboard will change the content on the user's device without notifying the user again.
When is a new user registered?
A new user is registered to OpenBack the first time that the SDK is run, this is usually on startup of a freshly installed app. If a user uninstalls and then reinstalls your app, they will be again registered as a new user.
Sometimes a user can be remembered after an uninstall due to the OS back up functions. We suggest you disable this with the code below
My notification icon doesn't look right?
There can be different reasons for why your Android notification isn't appearing correctly.
To guarantee that your notification icon works across multiple versions of Android, the following checks must be made:
- Make sure to add each size of icon.
- Verify that the proper alpha channel is added.
- Check that the icon transparency is properly set.
- If the icon appears as a solid square, the icon image has been set correctly but was not generated with an appropriate transparency.
We recommend using the Android Asset Studio to generate your app's notification icon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.