Message Composer Tutorial

Use the Message composer to send messages for immediate or scheduled delivery.

You can send to any channel using the Message composer, however this tutorial is primarily for sending to mobile apps. Caveats are noted for other channels. See the Message Reference for allowed message type combinations.


If you are sending Web, SMS, or Email notifications, see:


You can configure the default appearance of your In-App Messages in Settings » Configuration » In-App Message Design. This includes button text and message color, screen position, and more.


You can save this message as a Composer Favorite — a reusable message with preset settings and content. You can use Composer Favorites instead of recreating commonly used messages. See: Use Composer Favorites.

  1. Open your messaging project, then click Create and select Message.
  2. (Optional) Add a message name and/or flag the message as a test.
    1. Click in the header.
    2. Enter the name.
    3. Enable the Test toggle.
    4. Click outside the box to close it.
  3. Select which Channels are included in your audience.All mobile app channels configured for your project will be listed and enabled by default, but you can toggle to limit your audience to specific channels. You must select at least one.

    1. Open Channels are listed by their configured Display Names. See: Configure Open Channels.
    2. Features and options are reduced to those common to all selected channels.

  4. Select your message audience, then click Content in the header to move on.
    • All Users: Sends the message to your entire audience.
    • Target Specific Users: Create a recipient group based on segmentation data. See: Target Specific Users.
    • Test Users: Predefined recipient groups. After choosing Test Users, select from the Test Groups dropdown menu that appears. See: Test Groups.
    • Upload Users: Upload a list of users just before sending the message. Select this option if you want to include merge fields in your message. See: Upload Users.
  5. Choose which message type to send, then click Continue. This selection screen only appears if you selected mobile app and/or SMS channels. If combined, App and SMS choices will appear on separate tabs.

    When Web Browser, an Open Channel, and/or Windows is the only enabled channel, the only available message type is Push Notification. When Web Browser or an Open Channel and an app channel other than Windows are enabled, you can combine the Push Notification with an In-App Message.

  6. Enter your message Content.
    1. Enter the text that will display in your message. The preview updates as you type.

      When you combine SMS, Email, or Open Channels with additional channels, the content is configured on separate tabs.


      If you chose to combine a Push Notification and In-App Message, an In-App Message Text section appears below the message truncation indicator. By default, the In-App Message's alert text is the same as the Push Notification text. If you'd prefer to use a different message, select the Write Alternative and enter your text.

    2. Select a Message Action from the dropdown menu. For Landing Page and Message Center, follow the steps in Create Rich Pages.

      The Message Actions listed in the dropdown menu differ depending on which message type you chose and if you chose to combine message types. See: Message Reference: Actions.

    3. (Optional) Set a tag.
    4. Set Optional Features.
    5. Click Delivery in the header to move on.
  7. Select a delivery type and Optional Features, then click Review in the header to move on.
    • Schedule: Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format and make your selections from the dropdown menus.

      Optionally check the box for Delivery By Time Zone. For example, a push notification scheduled for 9 a.m. will arrive for people on the east coast at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, in the midwest an hour later at 9 a.m. Central Time, then on the west coast two hours after that, at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.


      A message delivered by time zone include a Delivery by Time Zone section in its message report. See: View Message Detail.


      The API equivalent of Delivery By Time Zone is Push to Local Time.

    • Optimize: Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format. iOS, Android, and Amazon only. We recommend scheduling at least three days in advance due to the combination of time zones and optimal times. If your audience is more localized, e.g., only in the United States or in a certain European region, less lead time is necessary.

      Optimal Send Time is one of our predictive features. Please contact Airship Sales to purchase.

  8. Review the device preview and message summary. Click the arrows to page through the various previews. The channel and display type dynamically update in the dropdown menu above. You can also select a preview directly from the dropdown menu. The Open Channel preview is a data table containing the selections and content that will be sent for the Open Channel message.To make changes, click the associated step in the header. When you've made your changes, return to Review.
  9. If you chose Upload Users in the Audience step, add your file now. Uploaded merge field names will be verified against the merge fields set in the Content step.
  10. Click Send Message or Schedule Message.

Upload Users

If sending an email, SMS, or open channel message, you can Upload Users in the Audience step of the composer. This provides a means to register new users and send them a message at the same time.


Upload Users can only be used with a single channel at a time. Make sure you have only Email, SMS, or a single Open Channel enabled.

Complete the rest of the composer like normal, and you will upload the list during the Review step. The Send Message button will instead be labeled Upload & Send. After clicking the button:

  1. Click Choose File, and select the file that contains your list of users.
  2. Click Send Message.

See Audience Lists: Inline Lists for file format requirements and general information about Inline lists.