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Complete Guide To Push Ads (2021)

Complete Guide To Push Ads (2021)


Time to talk push!

Push advertising is using push notifications as a method of delivering promotional content directly to a user’s device in the form of a push ad. Push ads since it started has become one of the hottest new advertising formats available. This highly-engaging format climbed to the top because of its visibility, high engagement, and most importantly, its exceptional performance.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about push ads from what they are to the ins and outs of creating profitable push campaigns. By the end of it, you should walk away feeling like an absolute push pro.

What are push ads and how they work

Before we dive into how to advertise with push ads, let’s cover the basics and break down what they are and how they work.

What are push ads

Push ads are a relatively new ad format that appears on a user’s device similar to an alert or device notification. Push ads or web push notifications ads allow advertisers to send, or push, their promotions directly to the user’s device in a non-intrusive way. Push ads are very unique because users must opt-in to receive them resulting in a much more engaged audience.

Push ads vs push notifications

Now everyone should have seen a push notification before.  They are device alerts sent by the operating system or by applications to notify the user of some important event. They have been around since the start of the millennium and can be seen on every device and OS. They have become a fundamental way in how we interact with applications and driving user engagement and activity.

Push ads are adapted form of webpush which allows websites to send the same kind of push notification alerts via the browser application. These websites can use webpush to drive more traffic back to their website or alert users to any noteworthy updates. They can also choose to monetize it by selling this alert to advertisers making it a push ad.

It is important to note that because some operating systems don’t allow webpush, which means it impossible to send push ads to them. The principal example of this is apple. Neither iOS nor macOS allows webpush making it impossible to send push ads to apple devices.  

Subscription-based model

Push ads are radically different than traditional ads because of their subscription-based model. Unlike other ads, users must subscribe to receive push notifications from a website before they can ever receive any push notifications. The subscription process goes as follows:

  1. A user is prompted when entering a website with an option to block or allow push notifications from one of our publisher’s websites.
  2. When the user subscribes to receive push notifications he is added to our subscriber base.
  3. Once subscripted, a user can receive push notifications with your ads, even when they are not browsing the internet.
  4. The push ad is sent directly to the user’s device appearing like a device notification.

These opt-in prompts appear differently between different browsers. The accessibility of the opt-in prompts greatly affects the rate of subscriptions resulting in fewer subscribers from browsers like firefox that make it more complicated to subscribe.

This subscription-based model means the audiences are genuinely interested in receiving promotional content from the site which translates to higher engagement levels with higher CTRs and conversions rates.

The format specifics

The fundamental structure Push notifications ads are comprised of 4 main parts:

On mobile and tablet devices, the push notification first appears with only the icon, title, and description.  The big image is an interactive feature that is revealed if a user swipes rather than clicks on the ad. This means that for mobile, the icon and title play the most important rules in CTR. For desktops, however, the big image is shown immediately with the rest of the ad making it impacts on CTR much more significant than on mobile devices.

What makes push ads so effective

Since its start, Push ads have dominated the affiliate and advertising industry because of its’ unmatched performance. The nature of the ad format has given it many advantages over other ad formats like display and pop ads. The alert-style ad brings in much higher avg CTRs and conversions rates because of its high visibility and discrete style. Furthermore, it’s the only ad that you have to subscribe to leading to more engaged audiences.

A fraud-free form of traffic

Unlike with other formats, fraudulent or bot-traffic in push is very uncommon. The subscription-model of push ads makes it impractical and technically difficult for bots to subscribe to receive push notifications. The most common form of fraud in push is actually using other ad formats and selling them as “push”. Furthermore at Pushground, we analyze all our traffic using Opticks’ anti-fraud solutions to prevent any fraudulent traffic.

Attention-grabbing format

The nature of the push ad format gives it immense ad visibility while still in a non-intrusive way.  The ad appears directly on the user’s screen yet does not block any view or function on the device. This attention-grabbing quality has helped push ads become one of the most effective ad formats out there.

More engaged users

Because every user must opt-in to receive push notifications before ever seeing them, uninterested users are naturally filtered out. This has resulted in audiences with much higher CTRs and CR.  A 2020 report by smartinsights shows the average CTR for google display ads is just 0.05%, whereas, in our push ad trends report, we found an avg ctr of 0.58%. Push ads had an avg CTR of almost 10 times higher than that of Google.

Wide reach

Available for most devices and in every country, push ads give advertisers the ability to reach a diverse global audience. Furthermore, push ads can be sent directly to users’ devices at any time rather than just when they are browsing the internet.  This is a huge advantage compared to other ad formats because there is no limit to when you can reach your audience. This also makes dayparting extremely effective because you can target your audience at the most optimal times.

Risk-free pricing model

At pushground, we offer a risk-free pricing model, CPC. CPC stands for cost per click which means you only pay for the clicks to your lander.  This pricing model is very advantageous to advertisers because they don’t end up paying to show ads to uninterested users. To see a full list of our CPC rates by country check out our CPC rates page.

Push ad limitations

Just like everything else, push ads have their disadvantages and to be able to use them effectively, you must know their limitations.

No iOS or macOS devices

Push ads’ biggest hindrance is from a technical limitation from webpush that, as we said before, prohibits them on some operating systems. The most notable of these are iOS and macOS the principle operating systems use on apple devices. In other words, you can not send a push ad to and iPhone or Macbook which cuts out a large portion of devices, especially in tier 1 countries like the United States and France.  Fortunately, you can reach these audiences with a similar format called in-page push that appears similar to a push ad yet through a separate technical mechanism.

Limited demographic and interest-based targeting

Push subscriber lists do not include any personal or private data relating to demographic information like age, gender, interests. This means you are unable to target using these dimensions as you can with social media ads. There is, however, many other ways to narrow down and refine your targeting. At Pushground, we offer 18 specific targeting options including location, device type, language, and more. You can find a full list of our available targeting options in our FAQ.

Growing competition

Since its start, push ads have only grown in popularity. Their lucrative and profitable reputation has continued to lead more advertisers to the format. As a result, the competition in push ads has seen consistent growth. This extra competition has led to an increase in ad fatigue and banner blindness making it harder for advertisers to reach such profitable targets.

No direct linking

Unlike other formats push ads don’t come with enough context to make direct linking effective. In other words, push ad campaigns perform best when they are sent to a landing page rather than directly to the offer. Furthermore, we have found that using pre-landers leads to a further increase in performance.  The bottom line is that push ads don’t prepare users enough to directly convert and that you need to prep them further with landing pages and pre-landers to get the best results.

A push ad networks role

Push ad networks are an essential part of push advertising and having the right network can help increase the profitability of your campaigns.  Push ad networks aggregate thousands or tens of push subscriber lists to provide the advertiser with all the traffic they need. While it is important to have sufficient traffic volumes, it’s more important that they provide top-quality traffic from reputable sources. By filtering out fraudulent and poor quality traffic, ad networks make it easier for advertisers to run profitable campaigns and limiting budget waste on campaign optimization.

It is also the responsibility of ad networks to provide the easiest way for advertisers to target and optimize their campaigns. At Pushground, not only do we provide some of the narrowest targeting options available, but we also segment our traffic to make testing new campaigns on or scaling proven campaigns as easy as clicking a button.

Ad networks along with trackers should make it easy to quickly test and find the best-converting creatives and campaigns. The faster you can test something, the less money you will end up burning on the test leading to increased profitability of the campaign. Pushground offers robust automation solutions to campaign optimization allowing you to test faster and more effectively.

Best performing verticals

push ad top verticals

Push ads work for a wide selection of verticals allowing advertisers to go down any road they want. Normally the offers and verticals that work best are those that appeal to a wide audience. Because there is no demographic targeting, it is much harder to run profitable campaigns with a very narrow target audience. A big advantage with push ads is that they allow some verticals like gambling, sweepstakes, and crypto trading which are restricted on social media networks and google ads.

Some of our top verticals are:

  • Crypto and Finance
  • Sweepstakes and coupons
  • Dating
  • Gambling, Casinos & Betting
  • Health and beauty
  • e-Commerce
  • Mobile games and subscriptions
  • News and entertainment

To see a list of prohibited products and services, check out our campaign restrictions

Steps to creating a profitable push campaign

Now comes the fun part, How to make money with push ads.  We will walk you through the entire process of creating profitable push campaigns from scratch.  

Finding offers

Before you can ever run a campaign you first need to have an offer to run or a product or service to advertise.  Now you may be working as part of an in-house advertising team promoting your business, in which case this would not be relevant. If you are however an affiliate acting as advertisers for hire, you would need to find an offer that works for push.

To find an offer or affiliate program, there are a few roads you can go down. You could first look for direct affiliate programs meaning the offer is the product or service of the company you are working with. This route normally has the best rates meaning you get paid more per conversion but it comes with more limited conditions.  This can also become a pain when you have to work with many different companies with different regulations.

Another option could be going to CPA networks that work as a middleman providing offers to affiliates from a variety of companies looking to advertise. From here, affiliates have a much larger pool of offers and programs to choose from and often better conditions but take a piece of the pie.

Here are some of our favorite CPA Networks:

One of the easiest ways to find CPA offers is by using offer aggregators. They provide a quick and easy way to compare multiple CPA networks and offers. Offer aggregators, as the name suggests, collect and compile thousands of offers from various affiliate networks and programs allowing you to search by vertical, country, payout, and more.

Here are some of our favorite offer aggregators:

Creating profitable creatives

As with most ads, push creatives play an important role in determining the success of your campaign. At the top of your funnel,  creatives are your first contact you make with your audience and a poor creative could drive away many potential converters. Because of this, it is essential that you continue to test out new creatives to find the ones that perform best.

Icons and images

The icon and big image often attract the most attention and can be the determining factor in whether or not the user clicks on your ad. The images should drive not only trust in the users but also curiosity and excitement. We always recommend testing multiple versions of the same photo to see which colors, patterns, and styles convert the best. It is important to always try to keep your designs simple to avoid distracting users with complicated details.


Being able to provide strong enticing text for your title and description is crucial to creating a successful push notification ad. A user only spends just a couple of seconds on the ad to determine if they are interested in the offer or not.  This means your title must be clear, to-the-point, and most importantly, intriguing.  It is a common best practice to use emojis in the title and description to attract extra attention. You can also use headline emotional analyzers like sharethrough to quantify the emotional value of your headlines and find the most powerful titles.

A/B test with multiple creatives

At Pushground, you can add up to 10 different creatives to each campaign allowing you to run complex A/B tests aka split tests. Because it’s always hard to tell which variation of a creative will perform best, we always recommend having at least 3-5 active campaigns. Furthermore, you can enable auto-optimization by creative so that traffic is distributed automatically to the best performing creatives allowing you to A/B test more easily and effectively.

Ad fatigue

Ad fatigue or banner blindness is a term that refers to a drop in audience interest and engagement over time. In other words, when someone gets accustomed to seeing the same ad, they are less likely to click on it. This phenomenon often leads to a drop in performance in push campaigns over time. You can easily combat this by replacing the overused creatives with some new original creatives. Ad fatigue becomes more pronounced when your target audience size is small or your daily spend is high.

Spy Tools

Continuing to come up with new creative ideas can become harder than you think. Although originality is a key driver of success, you might find yourself sometimes lacking time or inspiration in which case using spy tools can be very useful. Spy tools allow you to see the ads of your competitors as well as some insights into their performance. This allows you to see what is working and what isn’t which can help save you a lot of time and money. Even though it’s very easy to just copy the best performing creatives, we recommend that you use spy tools more for inspiration and always try to create your own unique variations thus preventing banner blindness and ad fatigue.  Some of the most popular spy tools for push are adplexity, anstrex, and spypush.

Setting a test budget

Before testing a new campaign, every advertiser must set up a test budget to determine how much they will spend. Even though it’s not the most exciting step, putting in some effort to set the correct test budget could help you save a lot in the long run.

If you set your budget too low, you run the risk of pausing any potentially profitable campaigns too soon but on the other hand, setting too high could lead to excessive ad spend on unprofitable campaigns.  In our ultimate media buying template, we walk you through creating a dynamic test budget that tells you exactly how much to spend before cutting your test budget on failing campaigns.

CPC cost model

Pushground works on the CPC cost model which means advertisers only have to pay when someone clicks on their ad.  This takes away a lot of risks to the advertiser allowing them to not have to worry about showing their ad to uninterested users because they won’t end up paying anything. By using CPC, you only pay to show your ad to the users interested enough to click on the ad. At Pushground, we offer CPC rates starting from $0.001.

Successfully track conversions

Without conversions tracking, you would not be able to see where your conversions are coming from.  Conversion tracking is primarily done through the S2S postback which is a signal from the advertiser’s servers back to pushground signaling a conversion. Setting it up properly is essential to track conversions, CPA, and ROI yet because of its technical detail, it is often the most confusing and challenging part of setting up your first campaign. We break the entire process down in our postback setup guide.

Although you can track and analyze all your data through Pushground’s platform, a lot of advertisers still end up using third-party trackers to track their data.  Third-party trackers allow you to easily track your campaigns across multiple traffic sources as well as easily test and optimize various landing pages. Although it is an extra cost, if you are running lots of campaigns it could save you a lot of time. Pushground is already integrated with over 10 different affiliate trackers including trackers like Voluum, Redtrack, bemob, landingtrack, and more.

Testing and optimization

Testing and optimization are the bread and butter of push advertising, and without them, you would never be able to grow your profits. Optimization is simply just the process of improving which can be applied to everything from bidding and campaign targeting to landing pages and ad creatives.

The process of optimizing a push ad campaign can be broken down into a few simple steps:

  1. Gather sufficient data
  2. Check your bid
  3. Optimize your creatives, pre-landers, and landing pages
  4. Optimize your placements and settings
  5. Segment your campaigns by performance

Step 1: Gather sufficient data. Gathering sufficient data my sound like the easiest item on the list but the truth is that it is sometimes hard to determine exactly how much data is sufficient. For most cases, we recommend the following

  1. Starting your bid optimization after you have spent more than $3
  2. Starting optimizing your creatives after you have spent between 1-2x your payout
  3. Starting to optimize your landing page after at least 10 conversions
  4. Start optimizing placements after you have spent more than 3x your payout

Step 2: Check your bid. Once you are able to optimize your bid, you will want to ensure that you are biding at the proper level by checking your win rate. Normally, you will want to have a win rate of around 30%-40%. Anything lower could mean that you are missing too many opportunities while anything higher would mean you are overpaying for the traffic.

Step 3: Optimize your creatives, pre-landers, and landing pages: To optimize ad creatives and landing pages, simply test different variations of each and to see what converts better. Once you find a variation that converts better than the rest, replace the worse performing variations with new variations of the better performing versions. Slowly you will be left with better and better converting ads and landing pages. Landing pages because they have more complexity naturally have more elements to be optimized including things like content, style, design, and page speed.

Step 4: Optimize your placements and settings. You will quickly find that not all placements and settings convert the same with your offer. Some will be better suited than others leading to better performance. To optimize this, just remove all the poor performing sources with a blacklist. You can quickly find which placements and settings our doing better on the campaign stats page.

Note: some funnels work better with some traffic sources and other funnels work better with other traffic sources. In these cases, it’s best to split the campaign so you have the best funnel for the traffic source.

Step 5: Segment your campaigns by performance. After you have filtered out all the non-profitable traffic sources and placements, you will see that again some placements will work better than others. You can create a new campaign with a whitelist of the best performing traffic and an increased bid in order to buy more of the high performing traffic you want without having to increase your spending for your entire campaign

Discover more about optimization in our step-by-step guide to optimization.

Using campaign automation

Luckily, a lot of the tedious time-consuming tasks mentioned above like cutting poor performing placements or ensuring you have the appropriate bid are all things that you can automate with campaign automation. Pushground offers two forums of campaign automation, auto-optimization by creativity and automatic rules.

As we mentioned above, auto-optimization by creativity would if enabled drive more traffic to the better performing creatives. This allows you to spend that time you would have spent on optimizing your campaigns on more important tasks like creating new creatives.

Automatic rules or rule-based optimization allows you to effortlessly adjust and optimize your campaigns based on dynamic if-then rules that you set. With this, you can create unique triggers that make automatic changes your campaigns. For example:

If a campaign has spent more than $20 with an ROI lower than -50% then pause the campaign.

If a supply ID has spent more than $5 with an ROI higher than 25% but a win rate of less than 25% in the last 24hr then increase the bid $0.003.

These automatic rules allow you to manage numerous campaigns with little effort. Apart from Pushground, you can also find similar campaign automation features in some trackers and tools like theOptimizer.

For a complete breakdown of campaign automation and some tried and tested winning automatic rules, head to our article on campaign automation.

Push ad growth hacks

Before getting started with push advertising, it would behoove you to learn some easy ways to quickly boost campaign performance. Below we have listed some of the best growth hacks to push advertising.

High bid low budget

When testing new campaigns, you should never start with a below avg bid. You will end up losing all the higher-quality traffic to the higher bidders and spending all your budget on the traffic that one else is bidding for, which generally is the case because the conversion rates and performance are lower. To prevent this from happening, we recommend starting with higher than avg bids and a low budget to limit your spending. This will help give you a more complete look at the traffic you are testing.

User freshness targeting

Of all the targeting parameters we offer, user freshness is one of the most important. User freshness it the time since a user has first subscribed to receive push notifications.  We have found it to have the strongest correlation with performance with fresher users having much higher CTR and conversion rates than older users. When running a campaign, limiting user freshness to the first couple of days will help you quickly target better quality traffic.

Ad rotation

Ad rotation is key to prolonged performance. Although it can be time-consuming, this simple task should not be forgotten by advertisers. Replacing your ads with newer ones helps decrease ad fatigue and extend the performance of your campaigns. We recommend replacing creatives every 3-5 days.

Use pre-landers

Pre-landers are popups that appear before your landing pages to prep users for your landing page so they are more likely to convert. Using a pre-landers can make a big difference in the conversions rates and the performance of a campaign and can sometimes be the difference between a profitable and unprofitable campaign.

Page load speed

A slow-loading page can be a huge deterrent in a push ad campaign. People never want to wait more than a couple of seconds to see a page, especially for an ad. In a case study by Google, they showed that 53% of mobile users leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This means that you could be missing over half your opportunities with a slow landing page.

Check out this article for more push ad growth hacks.

Final thoughts

To sum everything up, push ads have built a lucrative reputation because of its attention-grabbing format, high visibility, and wide reach. Because of its subscription-based model, push ads have much more engaged audiences resulting in higher CTRs, CRs, and ROIs. As a push network, we do everything we can to make sure you are equipped to run successful push ad campaigns. From high-quality traffic to robust auto-optimization, Pushground provides you with the tools you need to turn a profit. Register today at

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