Send and Track Push Messages

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Manage MobilePush contacts.
  • Create a MobilePush message.
  • Run a report on performance.

Key Components of MobilePush

Simone Wright, digital marketer for Scott’s Restaurant and Bar, has implemented MobilePush and has received a successful test notification. Woo hoo! She’s ready to use MobilePush to create and send messages. Let’s break down two key components of MobilePush: the who (your contacts), and the what (your message). 

Who Are You Sending To?

When a contact downloads your app and enables notifications, they are automatically opted in to receive notifications from Marketing Cloud. If a contact key has not been established for that user, a random ID will be assigned as the contact key. You can also directly import customers who have previously opted into push notifications. 


Learn more about the importance of contact keys in the module Mobile Contact Management.

Once your contacts are in Marketing Cloud, you can see mobile app subscriber information by navigating to MobilePush contacts from either the MobilePush Overview tab or Contact Builder. 

Segmented Audiences

To send more personalized messages, you can use your subscriber information to segment and target audiences using lists or data extensions. Filtered lists (which we covered in the first unit) are great for simple, one-time sends, but for more advanced segmentation—or journeys created in Journey Builder—it’s better to use data extensions to create your MobilePush audiences. In order to send messages with MobilePush, a data extension must include these fields: Contact Key, Platform, System Token, Device ID. Also, be sure the selection Is Sendable is checked when creating a new data extension. You can add these fields to an existing data extension or create a separate data extension for MobilePush subscribers. 

MobilePush Opt-Outs

Opt-outs for MobilePush are determined by downloads and notifications. That means, if a customer downloads your app, but doesn’t enable notifications, they won’t receive your push notifications and messages. And if a contact deletes your app or disables notifications for your app on their device, they are considered opted out.


MobilePush updates a subscriber’s status immediately after it receives notification from Apple or Google of the customer’s opt-out.

What Are You Sending?

Simone is ready to create her first MobilePush message to let customers know about a new burger discount. She has a couple options to create notifications in Marketing Cloud: Directly in MobilePush, in Content Builder (learn how in the module Content Builder Features), or in Journey Builder (we cover this in the next unit). Let’s follow along as Simone creates a push notification from MobilePush. 

Select Template

  1. In the MobilePush Overview tab, Simone clicks the Create Message button.
  2. Next, she can select a template for her message.

Here are her template options, along with some examples of how she might use them.

Template Type
When to Use
Outbound Message
Send a push message to mobile devices based on demographic attributes.
  • Send a coupon based on stored customer information.
  • Alert customers of important changes like holiday hours or a new menu.
Location Entry Message
Send a push message to mobile devices that enter a specific geographic location.
  • Send a coupon when a customer is near a store to encourage them to come in.
Location Exit Message
Send a push message to mobile devices that leave a specific geographic location.
  • Thank a customer when they leave your store or restaurant.
Beacon Message
Trigger a push message on mobile devices based on proximity to a physical beacon location.
  • Similar to location-based messages, but you can be more specific. For example, send a bar-related coupon when someone is in the bar area of the restaurant versus the dining area.
Send a push message that persists.
  • Send important information like a restaurant closing notification.

3. For this campaign, Simone selects the Outbound message template and then clicks NextCreate Message screen in the MobilePush Overview tab with outbound template selected.

 Define Properties

  1. She adds a Message Name and selects the Scott’s app.
  2. Next, she needs to determine her Send Method. Define properties screen with Send Method highlighted, and schedule selected.Let’s review her send method options.
    Send Method
    Send personalized messages either immediately or at a specified time in the future.
    Similar to email, we recommend testing send time based on your message and the desired outcome. If you desire a response, test to see if subscribers respond better during business hours or in the evening.
    API Triggered
    Send messages in real time via REST API.
    Review the  developer documentation.
    Outbound Automation
    Send large campaigns as part of an automation in Automation Studio.
    Automation Studio is useful for sending high volume or high-throughput campaigns to subscribers.
  3. Simone selects Schedule for her send method.
  4. She then selects Alert. (Note: If she were using a landing page for this campaign, she would select Alert + CloudPage.)
  5. After reviewing her selections, she clicks Next.

Select Audience

  1. Now she needs to select an audience from either a list or a data extension. Select audience type dropdown menu with options to select a contact list or data extension.
  2. She selects Data Extension and then chooses a previously created DealAlerts data extension.
  3. She clicks Next.

Now, Simone is ready to create some content! 

Define Content

  1. She leaves interactive notifications at None and then adds a title and subtitle to her message.
  2. Next, she types the message, “This month’s special: 10% off all veggie burgers!” Define content screen with fields to add a title, subtitle, message, and add media. Plus, a preview of the mobile display.
  3. She also clicks the Add Media button to include a URL link to an image of the burger of the month.
  4. Then she confirms the remaining MobilePush Optional Settings.
  5. Once Simone has previewed her message on various screens, she clicks Next to review her send.

Using media in your push notifications can increase open rates significantly.

Review and Send

  1. On the summary screen, Simone reviews her message, audience name, audience list, delivery information, and advanced options. Send summary for a message named Scott’s monthly special, including the message content, audience, audience list count, delivery type, send date, and advanced options.
  2. Once ready, she clicks Send.

With that, Simone’s first message is sent to loyal Scott’s Bar and Restaurant mobile app users! 

How Did Your Message Do?

Now that Simone has sent her first message, she is eager to see how it performed. Good news: she has options. First, she checks out the standard report options by navigating to Analytics Builder, then Reports. From the catalog report page, she filters on MobilePush to see the ready-to-use reports available. Here’s some detail on her options.

Report Name
Additional Info
When to Use
Push Account Summary
Displays an account summary of MobilePush messages. Includes contact opt-ins, opt-outs, messages sent by type, tracking status, campaign info, and average time in the app.
General overview of sending performance.
Push Message Detail
Includes detailed tracking information for all push messages sent from a MobilePush account.
The tracking information includes message description and individual-level send status.
Overview of sending based on subscribers.
Push Message Summary
Includes the content and overall tracking information for all push messages sent through a specific app.
Includes information based on device, iOS and Android.
Overview of sending based on content.

Detail Extract Report

Have a large amount of sending data? You can also run a MobilePush Detail Extract to report on the status and response of your message. After completion, the data extract places a ZIP file with the analytics information on an FTP site that you choose. Here are the steps to set this up in your account.

  1. Navigate to Automation Studio to create a new automation.
  2. Select a starting source, Schedule.
  3. Drag a Data Extract activity to workflow and click Choose.
  4. Enter the name and file naming pattern. The name is case sensitive.
  5. Select the Mobile Push Detail Extract Report type. Don’t see this as an option? Reach out to your Marketing Cloud admin or log at ticket with support.
  6. Select the date range for the data you need.
  7. Enter the name of the app, campaign, message, and platform (iOS or Android). You can also leave these fields blank.
  8. Review and finish the extract.
  9. On the Activities screen, find the extract under Data Extract.
  10. Click dropdown arrownext to the extract and select Run Once or set the automation to automate this extract on a regular basis.
  11. Finally, add a File Transfer activity to move the output file to the location you choose.

Learn about file transfer activities in the module, Marketing Cloud Data Management.

It’s a good idea to review the extract report regularly so you can be sure everything is working properly. If you are seeing errors, check out this error message guide for possible reasons for responses. 

From contacts to messages to reporting, you have accomplished so much in this unit. And there’s more learning on the way—join us in the next unit to create a MobilePush activity in Journey Builder. 


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