Program messaging channel: Push notification

Learn how to start using push notifications in your programs.


A push notification is a message that you send to your app users from the push notification node in the program builder.

When users receive a push notification, they see the message regardless of whether they are using the app at the time. As a result, you can be sure that your messages aren't lost in a spam filter, or buried in an inbox, increasing engagement.

You can use a push notification...

  • to send a welcome message to your contacts
  • with the abandoned cart module to send your contacts abandoned cart reminders
    To learn more about abandoned carts, check out the article Using abandoned cart.
  • with Dotdigital for Magento or Dotdigital for Magento 2 to send your contacts order confirmations

Before you start

Things you need to know:


iOS devices

On iOS devices, titles are displayed only in the Notification Center.

Create a push notification profile

A push notification profile lets Dotdigital know how to communicate with your app using Apple's APNS and Google's FCM push systems, as well as how to authorize a user for push.

You can have only one profile to set up to send push notifications to both Android and iOS devices.

Step 1: Create a push notification profile

To create a push notification profile:

  1. In Dotdigital, go to Settings > Channel management.
  2. Select NEW PROFILE.
  3. Under the heading New profile, enter the name of your app.
  4. Under Authentication, make a note of the values for each field.
    You must use these values to create a JSON Web Token (JWT) in your app and pass that token to our SDK to authorize the user for push.
  5. Now you need to configure your apps push systems. Depending on the operating systems you built your app for, enter your FCM details and your APNS credentials. Then come back here to complete the setup.
    To learn more, check out Step 2 in this section.
  6. Select SAVE.
  7. There will now be a value in the API space ID box. Make a note of this for your development team, and use it to initialize an SDK.

Step 2: (Android) Enter your FCM details

Our Android SDK uses Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) to send push notifications to your Android app users. You must enter some details about your Firebase project.

Top tip

Make this task easier by using two browser tabs. One for Dotdigital and one for the Firebase console.

  1. Open the Firebase console.
    If you don't have a Firebase project, you must create one.
  2. In the Firebase console, select the cog, then select Project settings.
  3. Select the General tab, and copy your package name.
  4. In Dotdigital, under the heading App system: Android, enter your package name into the name box.
  5. Go back to the Firebase console, select the Cloud Messaging tab, and copy your Server key.
  6. Go back to Dotdigital, under the heading App system: Android, enter your Server key into the Server key box.
  7. Select SAVE.

Step 2: (Apple) Enter your APNS details

Our iOS SDK uses the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) to send push notifications to your contacts. Therefore, you must configure your APNS token details for us to send pushes to your app. We use APNS tokens rather than APNS Certificates, as the tokens do not expire annually. You can find instructions for creating an APNS token in the Apple Developer Portal.

If you don't have an app ID with the Push Notifications service enabled, you must create one.

Top tip

Make this task easier by using two browser tabs. One for Dotdigital and one for the Apple Developer Portal.

  1. In your Apple Developer Portal, go to Certificates, IDs & Profiles.
  2. Select Keys > All, and then select the + button to create a new key.
  3. Enter an appropriate name for the key, ensure the Apple Push Notifications service (APNs) option is selected, and then select Create key.
  4. Download the key (.p8 file) and store it securely; also, copy the Key ID.
  5. In Dotdigital, under the heading App system: iOS, for Private key, select Choose file and upload your APNS Key file (.p8).
  6. For Key ID, enter the value of your APNS key's ID.
  7. For Team ID, enter the value of your team ID.
  8. Select SAVE.

Find your API space ID

You use the API space ID to initialise our mobile SDKs. The API space ID is displayed at the bottom of your push notification profile page.

Use the push notification node in a program

To use the push notification node in your program:

  1. While building a program, drag the Push notification node onto the canvas.
    To learn more about using program builder, check out the article Getting started with the program builder.
  2. Select the Push notification node to open the side panel.
  3. Enter a title and a message for your push notification. 
    A maximum of 160 characters can be displayed in a push notification message and title. Extra characters are replaced by an ellipsis.
  4. Expand the On tap drop-down menu, and choose what you want to happen when a user taps your notification.
    1. Opens app - Opens the app on the user’s home screen.
    2. Opens deep link - Opens the app at a deep link or your choice. You can then enter individual deep links (URLs) for iOS and Android users.
      To make use of this option, your app must support any deep links entered.

    3. Pass data - For more advanced users, this lets you pass custom JSON data to perform a custom action. You must enter JSON for iOS and Android.
      To make use of this option, your app must support receiving data via push and understand any data entered.

  5. Select APPLY.
    If you want to preview your message, select Preview.


To insert emojis into your message, copy and paste them from a website such as Emoji Keyboard 😎.


Viewing usage statistics for a push notification profile

Usage statistics display reports for your push notification profile.

  1. From your account settings, go to Channel management Push Notification
  2. Select your profile to open the profile page

This page displays the total number of message sends that have been attempted from this profile in the last seven days. If any messages were not sent, this page displays the error and the reason for the error.


Viewing more details about a statistic

Select the link under 'Pushes attempted in the last 7 days'. This link opens a page, which displays the following information:

  • The date the message send was attempted
  • The number of message sends that were attempted
  • The number of messages that were sent
  • The number of contacts that were not sent a message and the reason for it

You can filter the details by warnings, push message sends that were attempted, and push messages that were sent. You can also filter the details by date.

Please note: When a push message send is attempted, the message is added to a queue, which is managed by either Apple (APNS) or Google (FCM), depending on your app.

When a message leaves the queue, the message is sent to your contacts' devices.

There is no way to find out if a push message was delivered.

Viewing which contacts were sent messages, which contacts were delivered messages, and which contacts were not sent messages

Select the number under the 'Pushes attempted to send' column, the 'Pushes sent' column, or the 'Warning message' column.

Deleting or disabling a push notification profile

 Please note (before deleting or disabling a profile)

  • You can't delete or disable a profile that's in use in an active program
  • Deleting a profile deletes all usage statistics for that profile
  • Disabling a profile stops users from selecting the profile in a push notification node until you enable the profile again

To delete a push notification profile:

  1. From your account settings, go to Channel management > Push Notification
  2. Select the checkbox next to the name of the profile
  3. Select Delete

To disable a push notification profile:

  1. From your account settings, go to Channel management > Push Notification
  2. Select the name of the profile
  3. Select Disabled next to the 'Status' field
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