Message and Composer Types

'Messages' generically refer to content you create to send to your users. You can create and send several different types of messages using Airship. This page describes the different message types and the composers you can use to create them.

Key Terms

Message
A message is content you send an audience of users. Messages are generally defined by how the user experiences them.
Display

Display refers to when and where a user sees a message, as well as how the message appears. Display typically accounts for:

Format: Text or styled. Styled mobile and web messages are banner, modal, or fullscreen. Email notifications may be formatted via HTML.

Timing: Upon receipt, based on defined triggers, or controlled via automation.

Location: Message alerts are handled natively per platform and according to user preferences. The location of the full message content varies per message type.

Composer
A composer is a tool for creating messages via the dashboard. Composers are defined by what you can include and control: message types, delivery, and automation.
Dashboard
The dashboard is Airship's web interface located at go.airship.com or go.airship.eu.
Automation
Automation is a set of conditions that your audience must meet before they receive a message.
Persistent
Persistent message content remains available even if the alerts for the message are dismissed. For example, Message Center, Email, and SMS content can be viewed in the app's Message Center, email inbox, or the device's native SMS client until the message is deleted by its recipient. Non-persistent message types become unavailable when users dismiss them. A message's linked content, e.g., a web link, deep link, an Apple News story, remains available as determined by the source host.

Message Types

Message TypeChannelDisplay FormatDisplay TimingPersistent Message content that remains available even if the alerts for the message are dismissed.Composer TypesTemplatesAutomation
Push Notification A message that can appear on any screen on a mobile device. Push notifications appear as banners.AppBannerUpon receipt
  • Message
  • A/B Test
  • Automation
  • Journey
Silent Push Notification A message that wakes a mobile app for processing without appearing on the device. You can use silent push notifications to send custom keys, update the app's badge icon, and set an Android notification category.AppNoneNot displayed
  • Message
  • Automation
  • Journey
In-App Message A message that appears inside of your app.AppBanner, modal, or fullscreenUpon opening the app, or based on display triggers2
  • Message
  • A/B Test
  • Automation
  • In-App Automation
  • Journey
Message Center A place in your app where you can display persistent rich messages, including HTML, video, etc. Similar to email, Message Center represents both the medium (the in-app inbox) and the message type (the messages you send to a message center).AppFullscreenAvailable in the app's Message Center
  • Message
  • Automation
  • Journey
Apple News Notification

A push notification that links to an Apple News Story and is delivered via the Apple News app on iOS and macOS.

Apple News notifications are available to select publishers. If you are interested in sending Apple News notifications, please contact your Airship Account Manager.

AppBannerUpon receipt3
  • Apple News
Web Push Notification A message that slides into the top right or bottom left corner of your audience's web browser (depending on the browser). On a mobile device, web push notifications appear similar to a push notification.WebBannerUpon receipt, as long as the browser is open1
  • Message
  • A/B Test
  • Automation
  • Journey
Email Notification An HTML or plain-text email that you send to registered users. Email notifications appear in recipients' email inboxes.EmailTemplate layout, HTML or plain-textUpon opening the message
  • Message
  • Automation
  • Journey
Email
SMS Notification A message that you can send to an MSISDN (phone number) over the SMMP protocol to devices that have opted in for a specific sender ID (long or short code). SMS messages appear in recipients' native SMS clients.SMSTextUpon receipt
  • Message
  • Automation
  • Journey
SMS
Open Channel Notification A message you can send to any medium that can accept a JSON payload.OpenDeveloper-dependent4Upon receipt
  • Message
  • Automation
  • Journey
Open

1 Safari web notifications are handled by the operating system, so they may also be handled by Notification Center preferences.
2 Display triggers are for messages created via the In-App Automation composer only.
3 If the selected story is still processing, it will send when the story is live.
4 Open Channels are not backed by an Airship SDK, so the developer must determine how to parse and display the notification payloads in the available interface.

Composer Types

Composer TypeDeliveryChannelsMessage Types
MessageImmediate, or scheduled.
  • Mobile App
  • Web
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Open Channels
  • Push Notification
  • Silent Push Notification
  • Web Push Notification
  • In-App Message
  • Message Center
  • Email Notification
  • SMS Notification
  • Open Channel Notification
Automation A set of conditions that your audience must meet before they receive a message.Immediate, scheduled, or during available window, when specified conditions are met.Same as the Message composer. See above.Same as the Message composer. See above.
Journey A series of messages that is initiated by a single automation trigger. Airship sends messages in the series based on your timing settings, and you can also set conditions that determine the continuation of the series.Immediate, scheduled, or during available window, when specified conditions are met.1Same as the Message composer. See above.Same as the Message composer. See above.
In-App Automation Messages that are cached on users' devices and displayed when your users meet certain conditions within your app.Messages are cached on a user's device and then displayed when specified conditions are met.
  • Mobile App
  • In-App Message
A/B Test Used to send variants of a message to cross-sections of your audience; each variant in the test returns analytic data to help you determine the most effective way to engage your audience. A/B tests support up to 26 variants and a control group per test, on iOS, Android, and Amazon devices, and web browsers.Immediate, or scheduled.
  • Mobile App
  • Web
  • Push Notification
  • Web Push Notification
  • In-App Message
Apple News A news aggregator for iOS and MacOS. An Apple News notification is a push notification that links to an Apple News story. Apple News notifications are available to select publishers. If you are interested in sending Apple News notifications, please contact your Airship Account Manager.Immediate. If the selected story is still processing, it will send when the story is live.
  • Mobile App
  • Apple News Notification

1. Delivery type applies to the first message in a journey only. Subsequent messages in the journey are sent as additional conditions are met and according to their specified delay periods.

Use a Composer

To create a message using a composer, open your messaging project, then click Create and make your selection.

Read the Composer Overview to learn how to use composers, their navigation and page elements, and where to find your message drafts.