Optional Features

You can enable optional features during the Content and Delivery steps when creating or editing a Message, Automation, A/B Test, or Journey. Each feature’s purpose and settings are detailed here.

Feature availability is dependent on the message types and platforms you selected for your message.

Background Processing

The background processing option wakes the app and give it some running time to perform work, such as downloading content for future display. Data included in the push notification is available for background processing, e.g., to send URLs and then download that content. iOS only.

Badge

Update the recipient device’s app badge. A badge is the numeric display on an app icon that typically indicates the number of unread messages. The badge count can be used as an engagement strategy, notifying users about new content and driving them to open your app. iOS only.

By default messages automatically increment the badge number, but you can specify an exact number, e.g., +3, +12, -3.

Select Increment by 1 or Specify. Specify requires a value in the text field.

Buttons (App)

You can add buttons to App notifications to direct users to take specific actions. App notifications support one or two buttons, e.g., a single Watch Now button, or a Yes/No pair, and you associate each button with an ActionA configurable behavior that occurs when a user interacts with your message, e.g., opening a web page. . You can also add or remove a tag when the user taps a button.

Airship records button clicks to help you track how your audience engages with your messages. Airship records them as Custom EventsEvents that indicate that a user performed a predefined action, such as adding an item to a shopping cart, viewing a screen, or clicking an Unsubscribe button. Custom events can trigger automation and journeys. You can code them into your app or website, or send them to Airship from an external source using the custom event API. Custom events contain properties that you can use to personalize messages. with the name button--<BUTTON_ID>, where BUTTON_ID is either the button’s label or ID (when using the API). These events are included in Message Reports, Event Tracking, and Real-Time Data StreamingA service that delivers engagement events in real time via the Data Streaming API or an Airship partner integration. .

Airship provides 30+ predefined buttons, which have preset labels and actions. Some buttons support changing their associated actions.

You can also create custom buttons, which must be configured in your project before you can add them to a message. Custom buttons can be associated with Airship actions, or they can be associated with custom actions.

See Interactive Notifications for more information about buttons. See Custom Notification Buttons to add buttons to your project.
  1. Click Select buttons, then search for and select the buttons you want to add.
  2. (Optional and if available) Change the action associated with each button.
  3. (Optional) Set and/or remove tags when the user taps a button. Tags can help you track whether your users engage with, or dismiss, your notifications.
    1. Click Set a tag.
    2. Select Add or Remove, then search for tags that exist in the system, or create a new tag.
    3. (Optional) Click Set another tag and repeat the previous step.
     Tip

    Setting one or more tags when a user interacts with a message can help you track user interactions for follow-on retargeting campaigns. For example, if you set a tag responded-campaign1, you can target users bearing the responded-campaign1 tag with another message at a later date, knowing that they are active users. Alternatively, you can re-engage users with this tag using an automated message if they are inactive for a period of time.

Buttons (Web)

You can add buttons to Web notifications to direct users to take specific actions. Web notifications support one or two buttons, e.g., a single Opt in button, or a Yes/No pair, and you associate each button with an ActionA configurable behavior that occurs when a user interacts with your message, e.g., opening a web page. . You can also add or remove a tag when the user clicks a button.

Airship records button clicks to help you track how your audience engages with your messages. Airship records them as Custom EventsEvents that indicate that a user performed a predefined action, such as adding an item to a shopping cart, viewing a screen, or clicking an Unsubscribe button. Custom events can trigger automation and journeys. You can code them into your app or website, or send them to Airship from an external source using the custom event API. Custom events contain properties that you can use to personalize messages. with the name button--<BUTTON_ID>, where BUTTON_ID is either the button’s label or ID (when using the API). These events are included in Message Reports, Event Tracking, and Real-Time Data StreamingA service that delivers engagement events in real time via the Data Streaming API or an Airship partner integration. .

Airship provides 30+ predefined buttons, which have preset labels and actions. Some buttons support changing their associated actions.

You can also create custom buttons when you create a message, or within your project so you can reuse them for other messages. Custom buttons can be associated with Airship actions, or they can be associated with custom actions.

See Interactive Notifications for more information about buttons. See Custom Web Notification Buttons to add reusable buttons to your project.
  1. Click Select or add buttons.
  2. Select your buttons, or click Create Buttons to make your own custom buttons for this message. To add:
    1. Click Add buttons.
    2. Enter a label for the Primary button (normally affirmative) and an optional Secondary button (appears to the right of the primary button).
    3. Click Add buttons.
  3. Set an ActionA configurable behavior that occurs when a user interacts with your message, e.g., opening a web page. for each button.
  4. (Optional) Set and/or remove tags when the user taps a button. Tags can help you track whether your users engage with, or dismiss, your notifications.
    1. Click Set a tag.
    2. Select Add or Remove, then search for tags that exist in the system, or create a new tag.
    3. (Optional) Click Set another tag and repeat the previous step.
     Tip

    Setting one or more tags when a user interacts with a message can help you track user interactions for follow-on retargeting campaigns. For example, if you set a tag responded-campaign1, you can target users bearing the responded-campaign1 tag with another message at a later date, knowing that they are active users. Alternatively, you can re-engage users with this tag using an automated message if they are inactive for a period of time.

Campaign Categories

Campaign categories are labels that group messages of a similar type or messaging strategy for aggregate reporting. Campaigns help you track the efficacy of both your individual messages and a messaging campaign as a whole.

Enter a campaign category name, then click Add. Click the X next to any category to remove it. Category names have a 64-character maximum. Enter up to ten.

When adding a category defined in message limits, the category will display the message limit rules with an option to override the limit for this send. Click the check box next to “Ignore limit for this message” to override the limit for this category.

 Tip

Campaign categories are listed in the Message Detail section of Message Reports.

Collapse Key

A collapse key is an optional delivery feature that acts as a grouping and replacement mechanism for messages with the same value. The Collapse Key comes into play when a device is offline (e.g. airplane mode) or in doze mode; if multiple messages are available with the same collapse key value when a device comes back online, it will display only the most recent message and discard previous that have the same value. Android & Amazon only.

Enter the key in the text field.

Critical

Send the notification as a critical alert. Critical alerts are push notifications that play sounds and ignore the device’s Do Not Disturb mode and mute switch settings. This delivery feature is available for iOS 12 and later only and requires a special entitlement from Apple.

Use the slider to select the alert volume level. Volume can be specified at 10% increments.

 Note

  • Critical alerts require a special entitlement issued by Apple, If you do not have this entitlement, you will not see this option in the dashboard.

  • These notifications should contain information that require a user to take immediate action.

  • Critical Alerts must be allowed by a user on their device.

Custom Keys

Custom keys are additional key-value pairs in your push notification payload for use by custom code in your app. You can use custom keys to pass additional campaign identifiers for analytics, pass user information to the device, control the look and feel of the app, provide image links, etc.

By default, a custom key is sent to push notifications on all platforms, but you can choose platform-specific keys as well if your message is going out to more than one platform, e.g., one imageURL for iOS and another imageURL for Android.

Select a platform, then enter the key and value. Click Add Another for additional keys.

 Note

When sending a Message Center message created using the Interactive editor (or created using a template that was created using the Interactive editor), Custom Keys is in the Message Center Options section in the composer’s Delivery step. Use that Custom Keys option to set key-value pairs that apply specifically to your Message Center message. See Custom Keys (Message Center) below.

Custom Keys (Message Center)

You can set Custom KeysAdditional key-value pairs in your push notification payload for use by custom code in your app. You can use custom keys to pass additional campaign identifiers for analytics, pass user information to the device, control the look and feel of the app, provide image links, etc. that apply specifically to a Message Center message.

If you created your Message Center message using the Visual editor, you can add custom keys on the editor’s Options tab. See: Creating content: Visual editor.

For Message Center messages created with the Interactive editor (or created using a template that was created using the Interactive editor), set custom keys in the Message Center Options section in a composer’s Delivery step.

Add a key and value. Click Add Another for additional keys.

Preview Lines

Message Center supports a message preview, which is how the message appears as listed in the inbox. In the Visual editor you enter preview Lines 1 and 2 on the Message Center tab. Creating content: Visual editor.

For Message Center messages created with the Interactive editor, you can add preview lines via Custom Keys in the Message Center Options in a composer’s Delivery step.

 Note

You must perform some development work before your app can display preview lines in the inbox.

Use com.urbanairship.listing.field1 and com.urbanairship.listing.field2 as keys representing preview lines 1 and 2. In the Value field for each key, enter the text that you want to show on each line of the preview.

Delay While Idle

The delay while idle option delays delivery of your message until Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) detects that the device is active. This can increase the likelihood of the user engaging with the notification. Android only.

Delivery Priority

The delivery priority option sends your notification using Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) high priority. When not enabled, messages default to normal priority. Android only.
 Note

From Google’s About FCM Messages: Delivery options: Setting the priority of a message:

High priority. FCM attempts to deliver high priority messages immediately, allowing the FCM service to wake a sleeping device when necessary and to run some limited processing (including very limited network access). High priority messages generally should result in user interaction with your app. If FCM detects a pattern in which they don’t, your messages may be de-prioritized.

Expiration

The delivery expiration option discards your message if it hasn’t been delivered to a device within a specific period of time.

Select one of:

  • Duration: Enter the number of minutes, hours, or days past your defined send time to expire the delivery.

  • Date & Time: Enter the date and time when delivery attempts should cease.

Push Notifications
If a device is online, the notification will be delivered immediately. If a device is offline, the push service for each platform, e.g., APNs for iOS and FCM for Android, preserves the notification and attempts to deliver it as soon as it comes online, up until the expiration date.

For Web Notifications, if no expiration is set and a device is offline, the delivery service, e.g., Google or Mozilla, preserves the notification and attempts to deliver it as soon as it comes online, for a maximum of 28 days.

There is no way to remove a delivered push notification.

In-App Messages
Since In-App Messages are delivered via push notifications, they will not be delivered past the expiration date if the user has been offline. In addition, Airship will not display an in-app message past the expiration date.
Message Center
If you selected the Visual Editor when creating your Message Center message, Message Center expiration is coupled with push notifications and in-app messages.

Expiration (Message Center)

The Expiration for Message Center removes the message from users' inboxes. This may be helpful if the message represents a coupon, sale, or specific event and needs to expire on a specific date and time, or after a period of time has elapsed (duration).

If you created your Message Center message using the Visual editor, you can specify a duration on the editor’s Options tab. Creating content: Visual editor.

For Message Center messages created with the Interactive editor (or created using a template that was created using the Interactive editor), set expiration in the Message Center Options section in a composer’s Delivery step. Select one of:

  • Duration: Enter the number of minutes, hours, or days past your defined send time to remove the message.
  • Date & Time: Select the date, time, and time zone when the message should be removed.

Expiration (SMS)

The delivery expiration option discards your message if it hasn’t been delivered to a device within a specific period of time. 72 hours is the default. SMS Only.

Enter the number of hours, between 1 and 72.

Group

A delivery group uses an identifier to group related notifications from your app into a single stack. Notifications bearing the same group identifier are stacked together. iOS 12 and later only.

Enter an identifier in the text field.

 Note

Remember to use the same identifier for subsequent messages you wish to group.

Icon

Enter a URL to add an icon to your web push notification, overriding the default icon specified in your Web Notifications configuration. Safari is not supported.

If your Airship plan includes CDN support you can also upload media or select from prevously uploaded media:

  1. Select Upload and click Insert Media.

    1. Click Choose file and select a file to upload, or select from previous uploads.

      • The default sort order is most recent upload first.
      • You can search by file name or keyword.
      • A file preview appears after upload or selection. Click   to preview audio and video files.
    2. (Optional) Add or edit keywords for the file to help organize your uploads.

      • Enter a term in the search field below the preview and select from results, or click Add keyword: [term].
      • Click   to remove a keyword.
    3. Click Insert selected media.

    Requirements and guidelines:

    • URL-referenced media must use HTTPS and be accessible by your audience.
    • Uploaded media must be 2MB or smaller.
    • Airship recommends a maximum file size of 1MB for all media. While Airship supports larger file sizes, your audience’s ability to receive media may be limited by their download speeds. If media is too large and takes too long to download, your message may render without it.

    Supported file types:

    • Images: JPEG, JPG, PNG

    Ignore Channel Message Limits

    Enable this option to override the project-level Message LimitsLimits that cap the number of messages you can send within a specified time frame, preventing you from over-messaging your users. Message limits are set at the project level. , ensuring that your audience will receive your message even if they’ve reached the message limit. You may want to override message limits for important messages like breaking news, account alerts, or location proximity-based messages.

    Media

    Enter a URL to add media to your push notifications for App and Web channels. If your Airship plan includes CDN support you can also upload media or select from prevously uploaded media:

    1. Select Upload and click Insert Media.

      1. Click Choose file and select a file to upload, or select from previous uploads.

        • The default sort order is most recent upload first.
        • You can search by file name or keyword.
        • A file preview appears after upload or selection. Click   to preview audio and video files.
      2. (Optional) Add or edit keywords for the file to help organize your uploads.

        • Enter a term in the search field below the preview and select from results, or click Add keyword: [term].
        • Click   to remove a keyword.
      3. Click Insert selected media.

      Requirements, guidelines, and options:

      • URL-referenced media must use HTTPS and be accessible by your audience.
      • Uploaded media must be 2MB or smaller.
      • Airship recommends a maximum file size of 1MB for all media. While Airship supports larger file sizes, your audience’s ability to receive media may be limited by their download speeds. If media is too large and takes too long to download, your message may render without it.
      Android and/or Amazon

      Supported file types:

      • Images: JPEG, JPG, GIF (static), PNG
      iOS

      Supported file types:

      • Images: JPEG, JPG, GIF, PNG
      • Audio: AIFF, WAV, MP3, M4A
      • Video: AVI, MPEG, MPEG2, MP4

      Options:

      • Hide iOS 10 thumbnail: By default, message alerts display image thumbnails.

      • Media Specific Content: By default, iOS 10+ devices receive the same push notification as pre-iOS 10 devices. If you want to send a different message to iOS 10+ devices, select Write Alternative, and enter alternative message text in the iOS 10 Push Notification field.

      • Alternate Title and Summary fields appear only if the Title and Summary options for the message are enabled and filled out.

      iOS with Android and/or Amazon

      When you enable both the iOS platform and one or more of Android and Amazon, and you do not enter a static image in the initial URL field, a Static Image field is added to the media settings.

      Enter a URL, or use the Upload option.

      Web

      Media appears in Chrome and Opera browsers on Windows and Android platforms.

      Supported file types:

      • Images:JPEG, JPG, PNG

      Personalize media URLs

      If you host your own media, you can personalize media URLs using HandlebarsAirship’s message personalization syntax using double curly braces, more commonly known as {{handlebars}}. Use handlebars to insert variables and conditional logic in messages and templates. so that each member of your audience receives media that resonates with them. When you personalize media for your App channel, you must specify the media type for your personalized media.

      You can personalize media URLs using custom event properties, AttributesMetadata that you can use for audience segmentation. Attributes differ from tags in that when evaluating users with attributes, Airship uses operators, e.g., equals, less than/greater than, contains, before/after, to determine whether or not to target a user. Supported attribute types are TEXT, NUMBER, and DATE. , and custom properties in Inline ListsAn ad-hoc, CSV-formatted list of email, SMS, or open channel addresses that you want to register and/or send a message to. Unlike static lists or segments, you upload this list when creating your message; Airship registers new addresses in the list as channels when you send your message. .

      You should use the default handler ($def) when personalizing media URLs to make sure the URL resolves appropriately if variables in the URL are empty or don’t exist.

      Example personalized media URL
      https://example.com/{{$def user_profile_image "default.png"}}

      Mutable Content

      The mutable content option allows a notification’s content to be changed or downloaded before delivery. This feature is automatically enabled if media is defined in the message’s Optional Features » Media settings. iOS 10 and later only.

      Notification Category

      Send your message with a specific notification category instead of the default. A notification category is a grouping mechanism for messages in Android versions 8.0 and later, synonymous with Android notification channels. Users can set behaviors for each notification category within your Android app, determining the types of messages they are most interested in.

      Select a notification category.

       Note

      You must add your app’s notification categories to your Airship project before you can select them for your messages. See: Manage Android Notification Categories.

      Require Interaction

       Important

      Support for Require Interaction varies by browser and OS.

      Enable the Require interaction setting to require your audience to interact with your web notification to dismiss it from the browser window. Web only.

      Users may interact with a web notification in these ways:

      • Click the notification, which opens the message-defined URL, or the default Action URL.
      • Dismiss the notification.
      • Click the Settings icon or button on the notification.

      Sound

      Play a custom sound when your audience receives a message. The sound file that you specify must be bundled with your app by your app developer. iOS only.

      Enter default to use your audience’s default system notification sound, or the name of the sound file that you want to play, e.g. or “beep.caf”.

      See iOS Notification Options for more information.

      Start and End Dates

      Start and end dates define the times during which an automation or journey can deliver messages to your audience.

      1. Enable the Start Date and/or End Date options.
      2. Click the date field and either use the date picker, or enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format.
      3. Select the time and time zone.

      Summary

      Add a summary line, supplemental text displayed with the notification. Enter your summary in the text field.

      • iOS 10 and later: The summary appears below the push notification title. See: iOS 10 documentation.

      • Android and Amazon: The summary appears below the main notification text in most cases. This is the only visible text other than the title when Android Picture is visible in expanded mode, as the main notification text is suppressed. See: Android documentation.

      Throttle Delivery

      Enable Throttle Delivery to set a delivery rate for the message. Enter the number of messages to be sent per second. The minimum rate is 100 messages per second.

      You can change the rate after sending your message, and also pause/resume or cancel delivery, from Messages OverviewA view of all your project’s messages, journeys, and A/B tests, with options for editing their settings, content, status, and more. , within 48 hours of send time:

      1. Go to Messages » Messages Overview.
      2. Change the message status:
        • Click   Pause or   Resume.
        • Click   Stop to cancel delivery. You cannot resume a canceled message.
      3. Change the throttle rate:
        1. Click   for the message.
        2. Click   next to Throttle Delivery.
        3. Enter a new rate and click Update.
       Note

      Throttling must be enabled before sending the message; you cannot edit the message and enable it later.

      Title

      Enter a title to create a heading that appears above the notification text in:

      • iOS Notification Center
      • Apple Watch Looks
      • Android and Amazon Notification Area/Drawer

      For web browsers, the title set here will override the default title.

      Enter the title in the text field.

      API Equivalents for Optional Features

      Also refer to the entries in the API Platform Overrides documentation. For Start and End Dates, see the API Automation documentation. For Campaign CategoriesAn optional delivery feature used to group messages of similar types or messaging strategies for aggregate reporting. Campaigns help you track the efficacy of both your individual messages and a messaging campaign as a whole. , see the API Campaign Object documentation.

      Composer OptionAPI
      Background Processing1,2content_available
      Badge2badge
      Buttonsinteractive
      Campaign Categories
      Collapse Key (Amazon)consolidation_key
      Collapse Key (Android)collapse_key
      Critical2critical
      Custom Keysextra
      Delay While Idle3delay_while_idle
      Delivery Priority3delivery_priority
      Expirationexpiry
      Group2thread_id
      Icon4icon
      Media (iOS)media_attachment
      Media (Android and Amazon)style
      Mutable Content1,2mutable_content
      Notification Category3notification_channel
      Require Interaction4require_interaction
      Sound2sound
      Start and End Dates1activation_time, deactivation_time
      Summarysummary
      Titletitle

      1. Used with automation and journeys only.
      2. iOS only.
      3. Android only.
      4. Web only.