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Smart Push Explained

What are Smart Notifications?

Smart Notifications are a hybrid form of mobile notifications; combining both push and local notification technology into one message type. They pop up on user's devices and can be delivered directly from the app publisher. Smart Notifications allow you to use real-time device data points and machine learning as triggers to optimize the delivery of messages to each user.

Every notification gives marketers maximum control over delivery (before and after), while considering the message rate limits and display settings to improve the user experience. Smart Notifications are completely customizable and can be sent in the form of a standard notification, or they can include pre-cached rich media like images, videos and HTML content. Smart Notifications are here to improve interactions with your mobile app and drive more customers through the funnel, resulting in higher engagement and retention rates.

Dynamically update notification content with Smart Push

One of the benefits of OpenBack is the ability to dynamically update notifications. You can change the content of a notification on the fly by updating the message in the OpenBack Dashboard. If the user has not yet interacted with the notification, the OpenBack SDK is able to pull away the notification and replace it with the new content.

Dynamic Updates

How can I use Smart Notifications for my App?

Smart Notifications can be used for a variety of different purposes within your app, depending on what type of app you have. Generally, notifications can be broken down into 4 separate categories, each with a unique purpose, including:

  • Transactional Notifications - A category of push notifications whose purpose is to notify or inform specific users following some sort of action which has previously taken place within the app. Examples of transactional notifications are alerts to complete a purchase, reminder that an event is occurring, or statuses of a recent subscription.

  • System Notifications - System dialogue notifications are sent directly from Android or Apple to alert users of recent changes or updates, to request personal data or for requesting permissions at the launch of an app. These will only be visible in the form of text and will always require an action which must be performed.

  • Instant Notifications - Push notifications are instant, clickable messages that appear directly on users' mobile devices. They can be send in real-time or scheduled in advance at just about any time. Even if the app is closed, the notification will still reach users, prompting them to open back the app.

  • Recurring/Scheduled Notifications - Similar to instant notifications, these notifications are created once and can re-deliver the same message to app users over a specific time frame. An example would be to deliver the same message about an upcoming sporting match in the 3 weeks leading up to kickoff.

Examples per App Categories:

  • Ride Booking Confirmation - Deliver a notification to book a new ride when users arrive at the airport and swipe to unlock their device.

  • Complete Shopping Cart Order - Encourage a user to finish purchasing an item in his/her shopping cart. Target the message when they are at home, in the evening on a weekend.

  • Breaking News Alert - Deliver breaking news when it happens to users who have subscribed to specific types of content or whose devices are in a specific region or language.

  • In-App Message: New Content - Send a video that plays a 10 second trailer for an upcoming TV show, when users are at home, connected to wifi and have good battery life.

  • Locate nearest Bank/ATM - Deliver when users have searched for a bank within the past day; and when they've just unlocked device.

Message Types & Settings

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 .avi & .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.

Trigger Specific FAQs

What is the difference between Location & Locale triggers?

The location trigger has 4 options:


  • For iOS, this uses location services (requires user to grant permission).
  • For Android this is available without needing user permission to track their location, as it uses the current country according to the mobile network.

Exact Location

  • For iOS and Android this requires the user to give permission to track their location.


  • This uses machine learning for each user over 14 days to approximate when they are at home.


  • This uses machine learning for each user over 14 days to approximate when they are at work.

In many cases, mobile apps don't request permission to use the current location for the user (or the user declines to give permission). In these cases, to target an iOS user in a particular country, we recommend using the locale trigger which will target users based on the country selected in the phone settings.

How does the App Trigger group work?

The Apps Trigger means that a message can be triggered based on what other mobile apps are installed or not installed on the users device. The list of Apps that are inputs to the trigger are defined at an app level in the App Settings area.

For iOS the list of apps must be defined before the OpenBack SDK is provided to you to install in your app given iOS limitations. Android apps can be edited at any time.

Dashboard & Analytics

How does OpenBack handle different timezones for reporting?

OpenBack uses advanced data techniques and automatically adjusts for all time zones based on the timezone of the user's device when the notification is delivered/interacted with. For example, if you look at data on notifications clicked for the 14th February, it includes all users in the US and all users UK that clicked on a notification in their respective timezones.

Exporting Data

How do I export reporting data?

You can export data in various formats from the bottom of the View Messages menu. You need flash enabled in your browser for the options to appear. For more detail reporting exports talk to the team to discuss using the OpenBack Client API's reporting endpoints to export user, message and notification data.

What is the Customer Data Feed?

This is where you want the Triggers (and as such the Message) to use data available on your backend systems. This is easy to setup, just get in touch with us here.

Integration Questions

We have more than 1 app, can we add them?

Yes - multiple apps, across multiple mobile OS's can be added into the same dashboard.

How big are the OpenBack libraries, what will they add to size of my app when installed?

The Android SDK, which is an AAR file, is a tiny 230 KB. The iOS SDK, which is a framework, is about 240 KB (after compression and for a specific device). Given how frameworks operate for iOS, the compressed framework itself is 4.7 MB, and then automatically reduces down radically depending on the specific mobile device architecture (i386, x32_64, armv7, armv7s and arm64) and bitcode support (app thinning, which allows to only retain the required architecture). This is typically much smaller than traditional push notification brokers.

OpenBack Engine/Platform/SDK Questions

What is the OpenBack Engine (OBE)?

The OpenBack Engine or OBE is the core global platform that controls all aspects of the platform. This includes the Dashboard, the OpenBack UI, and how every mobile app with the OpenBack SDK install works and stays up to date with the latest messages and data gathered. It also handles customer data feeds, online message types such as SMS and email as well as outbound data feeds, should a customer require those.

How many apps installs can OpenBack scale back to?

The OpenBack platform has no natural limit, given its unique proprietary architecture.

How secure is the OpenBack platform?

The core platform is hosted on infrastructure that meets an unparalleled broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, such as ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, FedRAMP, SOC 1 and SOC 2,PCI DSS Level 1 as well as country-specific standards including Australia CCSL, UK G-Cloud, and Singapore MTCS.

The hosting was also the first to adopt the uniform international code of practice for cloud privacy, ISO/IEC 27018, which governs the processing of personal information by cloud service providers (CSPs). All data transfers between the OBE and each mobile app uses HTTPS/SSL and URL signing for extra security.