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 apps. Caveats are noted for other channels. See the Message Reference for allowed message type combinations.


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. 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 Test.
    4. Click outside the box to close it.

    See also: Name a Message and Flag a Message as a Test.

  3. Define your message Audience.

    1. Select the channels ChannelsA communication medium supported by the Airship service. Supported channels include app, web, email, SMS, and Open Channels. Within some channels there may be specific platforms with individual characteristics. Example platforms include Chrome for the web channel and Android for the mobile app channel. that you want to send messages to. Features and options available in the composer are reduced to those common to the channels you select.

    2. Select the group of users you want to send your message to.
      • 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.
    3. Click Content in the header to move on.

  4. Add your message Content. Message content options may change based on the channels and message types in your message. When you combine app, SMS, email, web, or open channels, you will add content for each channel type in separate tabs.

    1. Choose a message type or message format, then click Add Content.

      The message type selection screen only appears if:

      • You selected app channels.
      • You selected the SMS channel and your project is also configured for MMS.
      • You selected SMS, Email, or an open channel without selecting another channel and also chose the Upload Users audience option.
    2. Enter your message text.

      For app channels, when you combine a push notification and in-app message, the in-app message’s alert text is the same as the push notification text by default. To use different messages, select Write Alternative for In-App Message Text and enter your text.

    3. (App and web channels only) Select a message action. Available actions depend on the message type(s) you selected.

      Adaptive Link

      Adaptive Link opens a mobile wallet pass. Select an Adaptive LinkA mobile wallet pass link that supports templates for both Google Pay and Apple Wallet. When a user taps the link, Airship determines the user’s platform and generates the right pass for the user. from the list.

      • Adaptive links must be configured before they will appear in the actions list. See: Adaptive Links Tutorial.
      • Only adaptive links created in the dashboard will appear in the actions list.
      Deep Link

      Deep Link opens a screen in your app or website. Select a deep link from the list.

      Home Home opens your app’s home screen. For web push notifications it opens your Default Action URL. You can override the default URL by selecting the Web Page action and entering a different URL.
      Landing Page

      Landing Page opens a rich pageA landing page or Message Center message in your app that can include HTML, video, etc. that appears until it is closed. Follow the steps in Create Rich Pages. See also: Rich Page Reference.


      The default behavior in the iOS SDK is to not display the landing page when the corresponding push notification is received while the app is in the foreground state. The logic behind this behavior is that you may not wish to interrupt or distract a user who is currently occupied with the app, only to ask them to visit a different part of the app.

      If you need to display a landing page while the app is in the foreground state, replace the registry predicate associated with that action with one that allows foreground execution.

      In the Airship SDK, this relative state between what the app is doing now and how the action was invoked is known as a situation, or more properly, UASituation . Other examples of situations besides foreground state include background push and app launched from push notification.

      See UAActionArguments for more detail on the methods involved with this display behavior.

      Message Center Message Center opens a rich pageA landing page or Message Center message in your app that can include HTML, video, etc. that is saved in the user’s Message CenterA 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 the inbox). inbox. Follow the steps in Create Rich Pages. See also: Rich Page Reference.
      Share Share prompts the user to share your message with apps, social media accounts, and other services. Enter the text you want to accompany the share, including any promotional information, shortened links, hashtags, etc.
      Web Page Web Page opens a web page or any valid-device level URL such as App Store or app protocol links. The web page opens in the device’s default browser. Enter a URL.

    4. (Optional, app and web channels only) Set and/or remove tags when the user interacts with your message.
      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.

      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.

    5. Set Optional Features.

    6. Click Delivery in the header to move on.

  5. Set Delivery options for your message.

    1. Select a delivery type.
      Send now Send the message immediately after review.

      Choose an exact time of day to send the message.

      1. Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format and select the time and time zone.

      2. (Optional) Select Delivery By Time Zone to deliver messages at the specified time in your audience’s time zone(s). 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 includes 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.


      Send the message at each user’s Optimal Send Time. iOS, Android, and Amazon only.

      Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format. We recommend scheduling at least three days in advance due to the possible combinations 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.

    2. Set Optional Features.

    3. Click Review in the header to move on.

  6. Review your message.

    1. 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.

      If you would like to make changes, click the associated step in the header, make your changes, then return to *Review*.
    2. (Optional) Send a test message and verify its appearance and behavior on each channel the message is configured for.

      The message is sent to your selected recipients immediately, and it appears as a test in Messages Overview.

      1. Click Send Test.
      2. Enter at least one named user or Test GroupA reusable audience group that can be used as a recipient for test messages. Messages you send to a test group appear as tests in Messages Overview. and select from the results.
      3. Click Send.
    3. If you chose Upload Users in the Audience step, click Upload & Send and select your file. Uploaded merge field names will be verified against the merge fields set in the Content step.

    4. Click Send Message or Schedule Message.

Upload Users

In the Audience step when sending a message, you can use the Upload Users feature to send your message to a CSV list of recipients. When uploading a list of SMS, email, or open channels, Airship both registers new users found in your list and sends your message.


You can take advantage of this feature using our Create-and-send API to register and send messages to new email, SMS, or open channel users.

See Upload Users CSV Format for information about formatting your CSV. The first column of your CSV must contain the channel ID or address (email, MSISDN, etc.) for a new user. For SMS, the second column should be the Sender IDThe alphanumeric code that your SMS messages come from — like a phone number or name. Your audience subscribes to each individual sender ID they want to receive messages from. . Your CSV can contain additional columns with information that you use to personalize a message 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. — e.g., {{name}}.

To use the Upload Users feature:

  1. In the Audience step, select the channel you want to send your message to and then click Upload Users. You cannot use the Upload Users feature if you select more than one channel.

  2. In the Review step, click Upload and Send.

  3. Click Choose File and select the file that contains your list of users.

  4. Click Send Message.