How To Create In-App Notifications Code-Free? [+Best Practices Included]

How To Create In-App Notifications Code-Free? [+Best Practices Included]

Are you using in-app notifications for your SaaS product?

When done right, in-app notifications can help you engage users, improve user retention, and reduce churn.

In this article, we will cover everything about in-app notifications. You’ll learn what they are, and some best practices on how to use them. In the end, you’ll know how to create in-app notifications code-free.

Without further ado, let’s get started.


  • In-app messaging is a type of message that is sent to users while they are active in the app.
  • You can leverage in-app messages to onboard new users, engage users, and reduce churn.
  • In-app notifications are intended for users who are currently using the app while push notifications alert users outside the app or nudge them to engage with your app.
  • There are different types of in-app messaging that you can use: Modals, Tooltips, Slideouts, Checklists, Notification banners, Hotspots, and Microsurveys.
  • Modals are great for welcoming new users, big feature releases, or announcements.
  • Tooltips can provide contextual help/information about a specific feature in your app and guide users on what to do next.
  • You can use slideouts to collect feedback, remind users to try one of your features, or send messages like a webinar announcement.
  • Checklists are great for onboarding, engaging users in your app, and listing all the key activation points that new users need to complete to see the actual value of your product.
  • Notification banners are great for announcements and feature promotions.
  • Hotspots are like tooltips but far less invasive. The idea behind hotspots is to subtly allow the user to discover clues at their own pace.
  • Microsurveys are great for collecting user feedback and customer data.
  • You can build amazing in-app notifications and product experiences with Userpilot.

What are in-app notifications?

In-app notifications, also known as in-app messages, are well-targeted messages that users can see when they are active in the app. Used properly, in-app notifications help users find what they’re exactly looking for thus increasing customer satisfaction.

Why are in-app notifications important?

In-app notifications are very effective at adding value by informing users of essential features, sharing important announcements, and guiding users throughout the customer journey. This is particularly useful because value-adding content can improve user experience, prolong session time, increase user retention and maximize the customer lifetime value.

You can also use in-app messages to successfully onboard new users, connect with power users who spend the most time in your app and collect customer feedback.

In-app notifications vs push notifications: What’s the difference?

In-app notifications are those messages you see when you are active in the app. On the other hand, push notifications do not require the app to be open – they are those messages you see on your lock screen or status bar.

Push notifications effectively bring users back to your app or persuade them to take a specific action, while in-app notifications keep users engaged.

In-app notifications vs push notifications
In-app notifications vs push notifications

What are the different types of in-app notifications?

Here’s a list of the different in-app notifications that you can use for your SaaS business. Pick the ones that are most suitable for your brand and audience.

  • Modals: Modals are in-app messages in the center of your device screen when you open an app, website, or a specific page in a mobile or desktop app. They are great for important updates, new features, or user onboarding flow.
  • Tooltips: Tooltips are in-app messages that describe some aspects of your site, either as a small popup or when the cursor hovers a feature. They provide contextual help and highlight key features as users interact with the app.
  • Slideouts: Slideouts are among the most popular in-app notifications. They are mainly used to show important notifications and collect customer feedback.
  • Checklists: Checklists are in-app, to-do lists that are invaluable for onboarding new users. With checklists, you can add essential tasks that users need to complete, drive engagement in your app, and provide users with all the resources they might need.
  • Notification banners: Notification banners are static in-app messages that show inside apps. Unlike modals that cover a large part of the interface, banners are less intrusive since they only cover a small part of the screen. This type of in-app notification is great for announcements.
  • Hotspots: Hotspots are something similar to tooltips but far less invasive. It is a UX/UI pattern that aims to draw users’ attention to a specific area or spot on the screen.
  • Micro Surveys: Microsurveys are in-app, short forms that enable you to collect user feedback and other valuable insights.

What are in-app notifications used for?

In-app notifications can be used for different purposes. Here are the most common use cases of them.

Let’s dive in.

Onboard new users

User onboarding is a critical point for any SaaS business because no one will use your product and reach the AHA moment if they don’t understand what your product exactly does. In other words, if you cannot provide a great onboarding experience, your users will churn.

A good onboarding process should start with a welcome screen to greet your new users and collect information to provide a personalized onboarding later.

Let’s have a look at the image below. See how Postfity uses a welcome screen to wave hello to their users and get them to know better.

Postfity welcome screen
Postfity welcome screen

In a nutshell, welcome screens do more than just greet new users; they can also encourage users to share more details about how they want to use your products so you can start the customer segmentation process early on.

Announce new features

If you launch a new feature but don’t notify your users about it, only a tiny portion of your customer base would find out on their own. Instead, you can use in-app notifications to announce new features, tell them how new features work, and drive feature adoption.

Depending on the feature type, you can create either a trigger-based tooltip or a pop-up modal to let your users know that a new feature is already available and why they should try it out.

Look at an example from Surfer:

Surfer using in-app notification to announce a new feature
Surfer using in-app notification to announce a new feature. Get a demo to see how you can create one like this

From the image above, you can see that Surfer used in-app messaging to announce a new feature available to users.

Users who are interested and want to learn more about “Unlimited NPL” can click on the “Learn More” button to get more information.

Drive account expansion

Account expansion allows companies to achieve revenue growth with upsells, cross-sells, and add-ons. You can use in-app notifications to convert free trials or freemium accounts into paying customers by showing users the right upgrade message when they reach the end of their trial.

For instance, FigJam uses in-app notifications to remind the users of their trial’s due date and contextually prompts users to upgrade.

Source: FigJam
Source: FigJam

Collect user feedback

Collecting customer feedback is essential if you want to see the friction points and improve the overall customer experience. Using NPS surveys, you can gather customer feedback and then act on it, as well as boost brand loyalty, and reduce churn.

Instead of sending emails that can get lost in the customers’ inbox, this type of in-app messaging can help you engage with users at the most relevant point of their user journey.

Here’s an example of an NPS survey created with Userpilot:

NPS Survey by Userpilot
NPS Survey by Userpilot

In-app notifications best practices

In-app notifications are really valuable and can help your SaaS product grow in different ways. But first, you need to know how to use them properly and what to avoid.

In this section, we will be talking about the best practices of in-app notifications. Ready?

Don’t send the same message to everyone

Customers, like businesses, are different, and you can’t treat them the same way. One huge mistake that many companies do is sending the same message to all their customers, especially during the onboarding phase.

Instead of blasting the same messages to all your new users, create different campaigns for different types of users.

Only send personalized messages to your users by segmenting your audience based on their interests and behaviors. For instance, you can send messages to your new users and help them discover the most relevant features for them.

You can also provide special offers and discounts to reward your active and engaged users. These personalized in-app messages will not only improve your user experience but also boost customer lifetime value.

Choose the right timing and don’t interrupt users’ workflow

You can have great messaging that’s ready for being sent but wrong timing can ruin everything. Customers can get frustrated and angry if they receive a message/alerts that disturb them and interrupt their workflow.

The best time to show in-app notifications is immediately after a trigger event like making a purchase, creating a profile, or contacting customer support. This way in-app messages will be contextual and timely.

Prompt users into action with a clear CTA

What do you want users to do immediately after seeing your notification? Ask yourself this question before creating and sending an in-app notification.

In-app notifications should guide users to a specific action. You should always use one CTA on your messages, so your users understand what steps they are supposed to take. Always be clear about what you expect and don’t use two CTAs in the same in-app notification. This can be confusing for customers leading to a bad user experience.

How to create in-app notifications with Userpilot?

Creating in-app notifications is not as hard as it seems, but it’s very tricky. There are lots of things to consider:

What type of message to use? Which flow works for what segment of users? What design will appeal to your users?

But the good news is that you won’t have to think much if you use a product growth and analytics platform like Userpilot.

Userpilot is a no-code tool that allows you to create in-app notifications, messages, etc. You can choose from a variety of options, like modals, tooltips, hotspots, slideouts, banners, etc.

Creating in-app notifications with Userpilot is easy in four simple steps. Here is how you can do it.

Create a flow

Creating flows with Userpilot is easy. But before you start building your first flow, you must ensure you have installed the Userpilot Chrome extension.

Once you’ve successfully installed with chrome extension, you can fire it up in one of two ways:

  • Go to the flows dashboard and click on the “Create New Flow” button on the top-right. Enter the URL where you want to create your flow and click on the “Create” button.
flows in Userpilot
Creating a flow with Userpilot
  • Click on the Userpilot builder in your browser’s extension bar.
Userpilot extension
Source: Userpilot

Once it’s fired up, the editor menu will pop up, and you can start building.

Choose the flow type

To create a new flow, hit “Create New Content” and move to the page on which you want to build the flow. Then, click “start here.” You can choose between flows and spotlight.

Next, you’ll see a page that shows the type of content you can create. Click on “create new content.” Once that is done, you’ll be able to go to the next step.

Userpilot flows
Source: Userpilot

Add UI pattern

In this step, you can choose from modals, slideouts, and tooltips to display your in-app notifications.

Userpilot UI patterns
Source: Userpilot

Adjust the text and settings

After choosing your UI pattern, write in your in-app notification text and adjust the settings accordingly. Once you finish designing your in-app notification, hit publish.

Userpilot modal settings
Source: Userpilot


In-app notifications have a lot of benefits and if implemented correctly, can boost your SaaS success.

There are a lot of variations of in-app notifications and you can choose the one that’s more relevant to your goals and use cases. You can also conduct A/B testing to compare the different types of in-app notifications. In this way, you can clearly see how the same segment reacts to different in-app messages and which one receives the highest engagement.

If you want to have better insights into how your users behave inside the app, collect feedback contextually, and reach out to your customers to improve engagement and boost customer success, then get a Userpilot Demo and get started right away.

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