What Are The Best Practices For Testing Push Notifications?

Push notifications are one of the best features of our system, and allow you to communicate with your user base almost instantly!

We’re sure you’re excited to use this awesome feature in your app which is why we created this article with some best practices when testing out this feature. Before you begin to test push notifications in your app, we have a few pointers and suggestions:

  • Push notifications are one of the features that require your app to be fully published in the app stores.
  • Make sure you have generated the Google Firebase certificates for your app and have uploaded them to the App Dashboard. You can do this before your app is submitted, or after. If you decide to do this after your app is live, reach out to us so that we can submit a new Android build of your app. This will help ensure that notifications will work for the Android version of your app.
  • The iOS push notification certificates are generated for you by our team when we submit your app. They do expire every year, and you should get an email from Apple 30 days before they expire. When you get this message send it to us and we can update those certificates for you.

Now that you have some pointers, let’s go over what the best practices are when testing push notifications sent to All Users, Groups, and Custom Segments.

Best Practices When Sending Notifications To All Users

Notifications sent to All Users will be sent to everyone who have downloaded your app. We typically recommend that you use Notification Groups to test notifications, but if you want to test to make sure notifications are being sent to all of your users, the best way to do that is to send a test notification out to All Users.

Some of the best practices when sending test push notifications to All Users are:

Messages sent to all users will remain in the Notification History
Currently in our system you are unable to remove notifications sent to all users from the notification history, so make sure that the test messages you send are ones that you don’t mind others seeing.

Keep the messages short and sweet
There’s nothing that says that a test message needs to say something as generic as “THIS IS A TEST MESSAGE”. Since messages sent to all users are stored in the notification history that’s viewable in your app, you can use this as an opportunity to send out a test notification disguised as an encouraging message, or a thank you message to your users for downloading your app.

Don’t send a lot of messages in a short amount of time
When you’re testing notifications, don’t send out a bunch of test notifications in a short amount of time. This is true not only for when you’re testing notifications, but for whenever you’re sending out notifications period. Users don’t want to be bombarded with messages as they’ll be apt to consider them as spam and disable notifications for your app which is something you don’t want to happen.

Best Practices When Sending Notifications To A Notification Group

Notifications sent to a Notification Group will only be sent to users that have subscribed to that group. You will need to set up Notification Groups in the App Dashboard before you can begin sending notifications to them. If you would like to learn how to set these up we encourage you to check out our dedicated article on how to do so which you can find here.

You can create a “test” notification group in your app in order to test notifications, then once you’re done testing remove it from your app. Notifications will only be sent to users who have subscribed to that notification group.

Some of the best practices when sending test push notifications to a Notification Group are:

Using Notification Groups is our preferred method for testing notifications

While you are more than welcome to use Custom Segments or send a notification out to all users, we recommend using Notification Groups instead. It allows you to have a small group of test users on both Android and iOS to send your test notification out to without bugging the other users of your app.

Using Notification Groups allows you to test more targeted notifications

Since notifications sent to a Notification Group will only arrive on users who subscribed to that group, you can use Notification Groups to test more targeted notifications. Let’s say your app is for a school and you want to test notifications for just one grade level or class. You can set up Notification Groups that correspond with the grade levels or classes in your app and send a notification that’s specifically for that group of users.

You can remove the Notification Group and its Notification History at any time

One of the best things about Notification Groups is once you’re done with testing notifications you can completely remove your test Notification Group and its notification history from the app with ease. This is one of the main reasons why we recommend using Notification Groups when testing notifications because unlike notifications sent to All Users, when a group is deleted, so is its notification history.

Best Practices When Sending Notifications To A Custom Segment

Notifications sent to a Custom Segment of users are sent to a select (or custom) collection of users that you chose to send a notification to. Custom Segments will give you the most control over who receives the test notification, but depending on what you’re testing you may want to use Notification Groups instead.

Some of the best practices when sending test push notifications to a Custom Segment of users are:

Using Custom Segments gives you complete control over who the notification is sent to

With a Custom Segment, you can send a notification out to one user all the way to all but one user, it’s completely up to you. Using Custom Segments to test notifications will give you the most control over who will receive your test notification because you the app owner sets up the segment.

Users need to be logged-in to their in-app profiles in order to receive the notification

When you send out a test notification to a Custom Segment of users, in order for them to receive it they will need to be logged-in to their profile in the app. If they don’t already have an in-app profile, then they will need to create one and log-in to it.

Users are unable to see missed notifications sent to a Custom Segment in their Notification History

Another reason why users need to be logged-in to their in-app profile is because if a notification is sent to a Custom Segment of users and they don’t receive it when it was sent, or they’re not logged-in to their profile at the time, they won’t be able to see the notification in their Notification History. So keep this in mind when sending notifications, test notifications or otherwise, to Custom Segments.

Now that you’ve gone through this article you know what to expect when sending a test notification to All Users, a Notification Group, or a Custom Segment of users, and have some advice for testing notifications. We hope this information has been helpful!

Related Articles

In addition to this article, we recommend checking out the following related articles so that you have a better insight into how to use the system to its fullest advantage:

Still have questions? No problem! Reach out to us and we’d be happy to help :)

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