Sending Messages

Send Push Notifications, Email, In-App Messages and SMS with OneSignal

This page explains how to send push notifications from the OneSignal Dashboard. For sending messages through other channels, see Sending Email Messages, Sending In-App Messages, and/or Sending SMS Messages.

Current options for sending messages include:

OptionDetails
OneSignal DashboardFollow the below guide to send messages directly through the OneSignal dashboard. For sending messages through other channels, see Sending Email Messages, Sending In-App Messages, and/or Sending SMS Messages.
API Create NotificationUse our server-side API to send push, email and SMS. We also provide Server Side SDK's for faster implementation.
JourneysOrchestrate push notifications, emails, in-app messages, and SMS through a visual builder with no code required.
Automated MessagesSend push notifications and emails automatically when users enter segments.
HubSpotSend push notifications through your HubSpot workflows.
Integrately
Zapier
Send push notifications, email or SMS using Integrately or push notifications using Zapier.

Sending Push Notifications from OneSignal Dashboard

Navigate to Messages > New Message > New Push

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Image, showing navigation to Push page

Optional: Input a Message Name for internal recognition of the message. See Message Name for more details.

1. Audience

The Segments of users in which you wish to include and exclude from receiving this message.

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Image showing segment selection in the Push message editor

There are two options for selecting which users are eligible to receive notifications.

  • Send to "default segment" - Displays the segment name for default segment. Otherwise, this defaults to all "Subscribed Users". See Segments for details on setting a default segment.
  • Send to Particular Segment(s) - You can both include and exclude users within segments from receiving the message. Any users in the segments listed under should not are excluded and will not get the message.

Targeting multiple segments:

  • Segments are "OR" relations, all users in all segments will be included or excluded.
  • OneSignal will automatically filter out duplicate users so they only get one message.

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Segments can be Edited

Any selected segments can be edited and new segments can be created on the fly.

2. Message

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Image showing push editor message contents

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Notification Layout & Features Guides

Web and Mobile Push Notifications have some different capabilities. Details on each can be found:
Web Push Notifications Guide
Mobile Push Notifications Guide

Add Language

Optional: Display the message in different languages based on the user's preference. Defaults to English but any language of your choice can be used.

See Multi-Language Messaging for details.

Title

Optional: The top-most customizable text of the notification

Subtitle

Optional: Apple supports a subtitle that fits under the Title but above the Message.

Message

Required unless you select the Content available checkbox under the "Send to Apple iOS" for Data & Background Notifications.

The localized text the provides the notification's main content.

Image

Optional: The large image for all applicable platforms. The recommended image is a jpg filetype with 2:1 aspect ratio landscape. You can set different images per platform following below Platform Settings.

Launch URL

Optional: The URL a user will be directed when clicking the message. For details see URLs, Links and Deep Links.

A/B Testing

See A/B Testing for details.

Sending to Test Devices

This allows you to test the message by sending directly to your test users. See Find & Set Test Subscriptions for details.

Platform Settings

Custom features available by platform. Each Platform can be disabled (no push sent to that platform) by toggling the platform switch on/off.

iOS Options

iOS OptionsDescription
BadgesRed Dots with numbers on the app icon.
- Don't set - no badge set
- Set to - specify exact badge count
- Increase by - increment the badge count by your desired amount
SoundThe sound that plays when this notification is received by the device. If no sound is specified, the device's default sound will play. Use nil to play no sound.
Content AvailableFor native iOS apps only. Wakes your app when the notification is received so you can do work in the background. See also Apple's 'content-available' documentation for more details.
CategoryThe UNNotificationCategory. Used with the UNNotificationContentExtension for action buttons.
Target Content IDUse to target a specific experience in your App Clip, or to target your notification to a specific window in a multi-scene App. Details in App Clip Support.
MediaRich media attachment. Image, sound, or video to show when viewing the notification. Skip if set already unless you want a different image for iOS.

Android/Huawei Options

Android OptionsDescription
CategoryHighly recommended for Android 8+ devices. Settings will carry over to android 7 and lower.
SoundThe sound that plays when this notification is received. If no sound is specified, the device's default sound will play. Recommended: Use Notification Categories instead.
LED ColorSets the device's LED notification light (if the user's device has one). If no LED Color is specified, the device's default color will show. Recommended: Use Notification Categories instead.
Lockscreen VisibilityOnly applies to apps targeting Android API level 21+ running on Android 5.0+ devices. Recommended: Use Notification Categories instead.
Small IconDefaults to a bell unless specifically added. Icon shown in the status bar. Also show to the left of the notification text unless a large icon is set. Do not include a file extension.
Large IconIcon that shows to the left of the notification text. Include a file extension or upload your icon. Do not include a file extension.
Big PictureShows up in an expandable view below the notification text.
Group KeyNotifications with the same Group Key will be stacked together as a single summary notification with the number of unopened notifications.
Group MessageOnly applies to Android 6.0 and older. By default '# new messages' will shown on the device when 2 or more notifications are received with the same group key. Enter a custom message with '$[notif_count]' in the message text so the count can be replaced.
Background DataLegacy option for pre 3.0 versions of the OneSignal Android SDK. Read our documentation for a new way to set this up.

Web Options

Certain browsers have limited features. Most features are Chrome only.

Web Push OptionDescription
Web Push IconsDefaults to icon set in the Web Push Settings
Web Push ImagesDisplays a large image on the notification content (Windows or ANDROID only).
BadgeReplaces the Chrome browser icon with your monochrome badge icon. The minimum recommended size is 72x72 pixels.
Action ButtonsExtra buttons that show on a push that can direct a user to a different URL.

Advanced Settings

OptionDescription
Additional DataCustom key : value data pairs sent to your app through the notification. Use data when sending from our REST API. More details on this below in our FAQ How To Use Additional Data.
Collapse Key/IDCurrent notifications with the same id/key will be replaced instead of showing a whole new notification on the device. Limit of 64 characters.
Web Push TopicSet different values to show multiple web push notification at once to a user. If not set, then newer notifications will replace current notifications on device.
PrioritySets the Delivery Priority. Can override certain device and browser settings. Some devices de-prioritize notifications to show at a later time if the battery is low. This will attempt to show the notification even if the device has low power.

For Android 8+ you must use Importance for Display Priority instead. This is set in the Notification Categories and this will override the Priority flag for Android 7 and lower devices.
Time To LiveThe default time is 259,200 seconds (3 days) but can be any value from 0 to 2,419,200 seconds.

The notification will expire if the device remains offline for these number of seconds.

Affects iOS, Android, and Chrome Web Push.
Action ButtonsAndroid and iOS mobile apps only. Buttons show on the notification itself. Works on iOS 8.0+, Android 4.1+.

3. Delivery Schedule

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Image showing Delivery section in Push Messages

You can schedule a message up to 30 days in advance. The timezone in which the message will be sent is based on your operating system's time.

Select Specific Time to set when the notifications should start sending.

Notifications will be delivered to individual users based on the Per user optimization selection.

Intelligent Delivery

Intelligent Delivery is a unique feature of OneSignal designed to optimize notification open rates. Each time a user accesses your website or mobile app with the OneSignal SDK, the user's last session time is tracked. Our system records this and sends the message on a per-user basis based on their usage patterns.

For example, you sent a message at 7 PM and the user is most likely to open the app / site at 1 PM. The notification will be delivered 18 hours later (at 1 PM the following day).

If your notification is time-sensitive, it is recommended to send immediately (which initiates delivery right away to all users, regardless of their activity or timezone) or Timezone optimization (to deliver at the same time across user timezones).

Timezone Delivery

This is the time you want the message to display to users after its scheduled to start sending. For example, if you schedule a message to send "Immediately" with a 2:30 PM timezone delivery, then each subscriber will get the message at 2:30 PM in their timezone. If that timezone has passed, they will get the message the next day at 2:30 PM.

To send a message on a specific date and time, you will need to schedule it to start sending before the most eastern timezone you support. If your app is global, then New Zealand is a good country to use.

For example, if you want to send a message at 12:10 AM on January 1st wishing a "Happy New Year", and you live in California, you would schedule the message to start sending around Saturday December 31st at 3:00 AM UTC -8 with 12:10 AM timezone delivery. Schedule the message about 10-30 minutes before the timezone delivery time.

TimeAndDate.com is a great site to verify the schedule. In this example, just set the date and time you want the message to be delivered for "New Zealand (NZDT UTC +13)" and replace "San Francisco, California" with the city/timezone you are in. Schedule the message about 10-30 minutes before the timezone delivery time.

Another example, if you want to send a message at 10:15 AM on April 22nd to wish a "Happy Earth Day" and you live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, then you would schedule the message to start sending Sunday April 21s at 7:00 pm. In this example, set the date and time you want the message to be delivered to for "New Zealand (NZST UTC +12) and replace "Rio de Janeiro, Brazil" with the city/timezone you are in. Schedule the message about 10-30 minutes before the timezone delivery time.

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Per User Optimization Limitation with Throttling

If you selected the Throttling option, then Intelligent Delivery and Timezone sending will become inactive.

You can override this option and set it to 0 to ignore throttling and select Intelligent Delivery or Timezone sending.


FAQ

How to schedule recurring notifications?

OneSignal provides the following options to scheduled recurring messages for specific times:

Automated Messages allow you to send based on timezone and repeat every x amount of Hours/Days/Weeks but this does not provide specific date scheduling and is more designed for drip campaigns.

Can notifications get re-ordered with the Intelligent Delivery Option?

Yes, if you send multiple notifications with Intelligent Delivery that should be delivered on the same day, then users may get the notifications in different orders. This is due to how our SDK interprets the rolling average of a user's predicted-active time on your site or app.

For example, if my current predicted-active time is 3:00pm and you send notification1 to me with Intelligent delivery. Our system will set this notification to be received by me around 3:00 pm.

If I visit your site or app at 2:00 pm. My predicted-active time may now change to an earlier time, so notification2 may be received before notification1.

How can I use Additional Data?

Notifications allow for about 4 kilobytes of data. OneSignal allows up to 2048 bytes of data to be passed within the Additional Data or API data property of a notification.

This is generally used for Deep Linking or passing data into the push to run code upon receipt using our SDK Notification Event Handlers.

When using the Dashboard to send the push, this can only take key: value pairs of data. To send nested JSON object as a value, you would need to use our API Create Notification POST call.