Reach your email channel with email notifications — HTML or plain-text emails you can send to registered users from the API or dashboard. You can also create templates for your email notifications.

Email notifications can be sent to your mobile, web, and email audiences from a single API. You can combine information gained from all three channels under a single named user. Send triggered, one-to-one notification emails, e.g., account creation, shipping notification, nurture, etc. Features include:

  • Segmenting and targeting users, including named users
  • Email registration and unsubscribe capabilities
  • Aggregate dashboards for real-time updates
  • Performance Analytics support to view send and deliverability metrics
  • Real-Time Data Streaming support to send deliverability metrics to a central data lake

Use Cases

  • Multi-channel Transactional Messaging

    • Urgent transactional message directed to multiple channels, e.g., send notification via both push and email
  • Notification style email

    • Promotional blast messaging: great for Retail, Sports/Entertainment, and Travel verticals
    • Breaking news alerts for the Media industry
    • Promotional mobile wallet delivery, such as coupons and loyalty cards
  • Priority Channel

    • Allow users to set their preferred delivery channel as email for certain types of messaging, so as not to alert them on multiple channels, e.g., Mobile App channel, Web channel, for the same content

Industry examples:

  • Retail: Send an email for app re-acquisition if a user churns, onboarding, coupon and loyalty pass delivery, and more.
  • Media: Send highly-segmented news updates.
  • Travel and Hospitality: Send boarding passes, day of travel updates, and reservation reminders.

Email Notifications and Sending Methods

Email notifications behave as any other email received in a recipient's inbox, and according to their design specifications. They can be based on a template, or you can provide HTML when you create the message. If you choose to provide HTML, the only restriction is a 250k size limit.

You can also enter a text-only version for email clients that do not render HTML. Messages are commercial by default but may be flagged as transactional. Commercial messages include an unsubscribe link, while transactional emails have the option to be sent without the unsubscribe link, in accordance with CAN-SPAM regulations. See Commercial vs. Transactional below.

You can send email notifications either individually or combined with other channels. You can also send email notifications via Automation A set of conditions that your audience must meet before they receive a message. . Both methods are available from the dashboard and API.


You can personalize your email notifications with templates. First you create the template, including merge fields into which the user-specific data will be populated when sending your message. You can then use the dashboard or API to send a message based on your template.

Configuration and Requirements

  1. Contact Airship Support or Sales to provision your project for email notifications.
  2. Add your customers' email addresses to your project so you can send to them. Follow the steps in: Email: User Registration. You also have the option to register new users and send them a message at the same time:

Talk to your Airship account manager if you want to enable BCC capabilities and send blind copies (BCC) of your transactional emails.

Commercial vs. Transactional

An email can contain three different types of information:

  • Commercial content: Advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose.

  • Transactional (or relationship) content: Facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction, or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction.

Commercial Content

If the message contains only commercial content, its primary purpose is commercial, and it must comply with the requirements of CAN-SPAM. If it contains only transactional or relationship content, its primary purpose is transactional or relationship. In that case, it may not contain false or misleading routing information, but is otherwise exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Transactional Content

The primary purpose of an email is transactional or relationship if it consists only of content that:

  1. Facilitates or confirms a commercial transaction that the recipient already has agreed to;
  2. Gives warranty, recall, safety, or security information about a product or service;
  3. Gives information about a change in terms or features or account balance information regarding a membership, subscription, account, loan, or other ongoing commercial relationship;
  4. Provides information about an employment relationship or employee benefits; or
  5. Delivers goods or services as part of a transaction that the recipient already has agreed to.

Mixed Content

It’s common for email sent by businesses to mix commercial content and transactional or relationship content. When an email contains both kinds of content, the primary purpose of the message is the deciding factor. Here’s how to make that determination:

If a recipient reasonably interpreting the subject line would likely conclude that the message contains an advertisement or promotion for a commercial product or service, or if the message’s transactional or relationship content does not appear mainly at the beginning of the message, the primary purpose of the message is commercial.

So, when a message contains both kinds of content – commercial and transactional or relationship – if the subject line would lead the recipient to think it’s a commercial message, it’s a commercial message for CAN-SPAM purposes. Similarly, if the bulk of the transactional or relationship part of the message doesn’t appear at the beginning, it’s a commercial message under the CAN-SPAM Act.

For more information, see the FTC's CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business.

Opt-in and Opt-out Requirements for email

Commercial Emails

  • Require date of consent to subscribe (register) an email address to the commercial email list.

  • Require an unsubscribe link in the email content.

  • Customers who unsubscribe from commercial emails will still be registered to receive transactional emails (unless they unsubscribe from a transactional email as well).

Transactional Emails

  • Date of consent to register an email address to receive transactional emails is optional. If no consent date is included and the user has opted out of transactional type emails from your brand, then they will not be able to receive any in the future. If they need to be re-registered to receive these emails, then their date of consent is required and must be later than their opt out date.

  • Unsubscribe links are not required for transactional email messages, and in most cases we do not recommend including one.

Business-critical Emails

  • There are some cases where a brand would like to include an unsubscribe link on a type of transactional email but will still need to send business-critical emails, such as order confirmations or password reset emails. In these cases, the opt-out can be overridden and sent regardless of unsubscribe status (for commercial or transactional).

  • Business-critical emails should never include an unsubscribe link.

Bounce Handling

  • Airship automatically opts-out addresses that hard-bounce from a brand’s list. Hard bounces are represented in events with bounce_class values of 10, 30, or 90. These users will no longer receive emails from the brand, including business-critical emails.

  • While other bounce_class values do not opt users out of emails, repeatedly sending messages to bounced email addresses will hurt a brand’s IP reputation and should be avoided.

  • If a brand has an email address that previously hard-bounced, but the inbox’s issue has been resolved, the brand can submit a Support request to “unbounce” the address.

Spam Complaints

  • Some end users will not want to receive any emails from your brand at all, and will show this by hitting the Spam button in their inbox. When this occurs, Airship will remove the email address from your list, mark the email channel as a spam complaint, and never deliver to it again.

Change of Address

  • If a customer has changed their email address in a brand’s system, you can update the Airship record using the change of address API. This will update the email address while maintaining the channel id, named user, and any tag information added for that channel.

Compliance Event API

  • Maintaining clean mailing lists is important - not only for Airship, but for your brand as well. You can use the free Compliance Event API to stream send, unsubscribe, bounce, and spam complaint events. These events should be processed and properly handled on your end on a regular basis.

Email Resources