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Quick Take: Facebook’s Notify Builds An Ecosystem In Your Notification Feed

Photo of Karol Severin
by Karol Severin

Facebook has launched app notification aggregator Notify. It allows users to follow a range of categories or ‘stations’ and receive notifications with relevant content from a large array of content publishers. Examples include Fox News, Epicurios, Vice, Buzzfeed, CNN, Fox Sports, Elle, The New York Times, Huffington post and many more.

Notifications are the first form of content users see when they pull their phones out and Facebook wants to capture as much of the notification feed as it can. But Notify doesn’t seem to update users with Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp notifications. Facebook wants to make notifications easy for users by packing them all into their own platform, but when it comes to their own notifications they’d rather keep those distinguished and nicely laid out across users notification feeds. Another interesting detail is that although notifications will lead to publishers content, the notification (first thing users will see) always comes with Notify’s logo next to it and the source only spelled out in standard letters after. This gives Notify an apparent degree of ownership of publishers’ content in the eyes of consumers.

Notify can bring value to publishers in the highly fragmented notification landscape. Each company is pursuing their own notification strategy, potentially clashing with those of many others. Facebook essentially provides a notifications safe house for content providers. Normally, getting users’ permission to send notifications is a considerable ask (users face the allow/disallow decision process for each single app). Notify users are ‘choosing’ notifications instead of ‘allowing’ them. This will positively impact engagement rates of notifications, for those who can get onto Notify’s catalogue.

Facebook will also benefit from the tremendous amount of user engagement data from all those push notifications, which until now were proprietary to content publishers themselves.

Notify fits into Facebook’s socially integrated web strategy in which it aims to extend its reach into all of our digital lives. Historically Facebook has relied on its web interface to pursue this, a sort of 21st century portal, a window into our wider digital lives. But Facebook knows audiences are moving beyond the traditional confines of websites. This insight underpins Facebook’s unbundling strategy, building a portfolio of apps including Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and now Notify. Facebook is betting its future on a post-web world. Notify is another step on that journey.

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