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Beyond Traditional Pushes: Using Icon Badges to Power Up the UI

Published: February, 2024
Last updated: : February, 2024
Given the abundance of digital stimuli, many users choose to receive silent notifications or turn them off altogether. As a result, marketers are pushing the boundaries of traditional notification methods and exploring new ways to engage users. One way to grab users’ attention without irritating them is to use badge icons. These hard-to-miss visual indicators can subtly entice customers to re-engage with the app. Yet, the best part is that they work with both active and disabled foreground notifications. If you want to learn more about this non-intrusive visual feedback, delve into our article. We’ll explain what is the badge app icon, why it’s an important part of mobile marketing, and how to use it right in your business. 

What is an icon badge?

An app icon badge is a visual cue that appears on the home screen of a mobile device and is designed to subtly re-engage app users. It is typically red and displayed as a small numbered badge overlaid on top of the app's icon.The app badge is used to notify users about the number of unread messages, notifications, or pending actions associated with that specific app. This number inside of an icon badge is called the badge count.With just a glance at the app badge, users can get an idea of the app's activity or urgency without ever opening the app. Once the user clears all of their messages or notifications, the badge app icon will go away.

Why are icon badges an important part of mobile marketing?

Inundated with all kinds of sound, push, and in-app notifications, mobile users can easily become overwhelmed by the constant stream of messages. However, turning them all off is not a viable solution either. People still want to be informed and connected to the latest updates and offers from their favorite apps. In this case, unobtrusive application badges are the best. In fact:

🔔 App badges serve as a reminder to engage with the app

To begin with, the badge icons that the user sees above the application icons are less annoying than any other kind of notification. With a single glance, users can get information about the status of an app and decide whether they want to engage with it or not. As such, application badges act as a reminder for users to check out what’s happening inside the app, ensuring they stay up to date with the latest updates, offers, and promotions.

🚨 App badges create a sense of urgency and FOMO

A whopping 98% of mobile users will open a random SMS message, and 90% will do so in the next three minutes. All because they fear missing out (FOMO) on important information or opportunities. Although icon badges aren't as effective, they still work on the same principle of creating a sense of urgency and FOMO. When users see an application badge on their app icon, it piques their curiosity and creates a strong urge to open the app driven by the fear of missing out on something important.

✅ App badges prompt users to complete tasks within the app

We humans like to complete tasks. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. By using application badges, you can take advantage of this innate desire and prompt users to complete tasks within the app. Whether it's clearing notifications, reading new messages, or completing a certain level in a game, the presence of an icon badge serves as a gentle reminder and motivator to take action. Once the action is done, the user will receive an instant reward—an app icon free of an icon badge.

How to make the most out of app icon badges

Icon badges have a lot to offer your mobile marketing, but when used improperly, they can also ruin it. CleverTap reports that 28% of users will uninstall an app if they see too many ads or notifications. We're sure you don’t want that to happen. That’s why we've put together some helpful tips on how to make the most out of badge icons without annoying your users.

1. Power up your icon badges with push notifications

Instead of bombarding your users with push messages or infinitely increasing badge count, develop a push notification strategy where the two work hand in hand. Create a chain of pushes that are reinforced by icon badges. They complement each other perfectly, encouraging users to check out what awaits them in the app.Pro tip: To easily send timely push alerts, use Nashpush, an intuitive push notification interface. With Nashpush, you can quickly set up a push notification campaign, create push pools, and tailor push messages to specific user segments.

2. Don't overwhelm users with a large badge count

A badge app icon with a big number inside can overwhelm or irritate some users. A high badge count creates too much pressure and can make a user feel obligated to constantly check the app, leading to a negative user experience. So, keeping a low badge count is a must. It will help to prevent users from turning off app icon badge notifications or, worse, uninstalling the app altogether. 

3. Tie icon badges to in-app activities

Despite popular belief, badge icons don’t always have to be associated with push notifications. You can also connect them to in-app messages, alerts, and updates. In this case, the user won’t know what’s inside and will likely open the app to satisfy their curiosity. 

Use cases for app icon badges

If you're fascinated by icon badges but feel a bit lost, don’t worry. To give you an idea of how icon badges can be used in day-to-day communication, we've prepared some examples.
  • Unread messages
Display the number of unread messages inside badge icons so users instantly know how many new messages they have without opening the app.
  • Email notifications
Show the number of unread emails on the email app icon, making it easy for users to stay on top of their inbox without having to open the app constantly.
  • Social media notifications
Indicate the number of new notifications, such as likes, comments, and friend requests, on social media apps to help users stay informed about their social activity.
  • Shopping discounts and offers
Notify users about new discounts, special offers, or limited-time deals.
  • Task and to-do reminders
Use badges to remind users of unfinished tasks or items on their to-do list. Make sure that important actions are not overlooked.
  • Calendar events
Let users quickly see what's on their schedule by showing the number of upcoming events or meetings on the calendar app icon.
  • Weather alerts
Show weather-related alerts or updates on the weather app icon.
  • News updates
Notify users about the latest news articles, updates, or breaking news stories.
  • App updates
Remind users to keep the application current by letting them know when updates are available.
  • Fitness and health goals
Use badges to show progress or achievements in fitness and health apps, motivating users to reach their goals.
  • Finance and banking alerts
Notify users of important financial transactions, policy updates, or security alerts.
  • Game notifications
Increase user engagement by introducing new in-game rewards, challenges, or messages within gaming apps.
  • Travel updates
Display badges on travel apps to inform users about flight status changes, gate updates, or boarding times.
  • Education reminders
Remind users about upcoming assignments, due dates, or new learning materials.

Start your icon badge journey with Nashpush

Whatever your notification goals are, Nashpush is here to help. Stay on top of your marketing game effortlessly with our easy-to-use service and insightful blog. Whether you need to set up icon badge alerts, launch a new push campaign, or get tips on various notification types, Nashpush provides a user-friendly platform that makes it easy to customize and manage your notifications.