Lots has been said about designing for multiple devices in the mobile age. And it’s true of course; different screen sizes and resolutions must be considered and accounted for when creating emails, websites, apps, and all the messaging that goes along with them. This is first and foremost to make sure that your design, copy, and overall campaigns appear correctly for all your users or customers. That is: not broken-looking. Not overly crowded. Not confusing.

But I want to talk about another dimension of marketing design and strategy that requires adaptation: multiple channels.

Appboy research has found that sending welcome campaigns by multiple channels increases retention by 131%. What does this mean? When new users download your app, join your email list, or browse your website for the first time, you can welcome them with push notifications, emails, in-app messages and more in an onboarding campaign. Doing so with just one channel is nice, but using a multichannel approach means you’re more likely to reach and engage those customers.

All these different channels have their own best practices when it comes to design and messaging, though.

How can your brand keep the look and feel, and the tone, of your designs and messages consistent, while also adapting to channels?

Here’s a quick breakdown of the four major mobile channels.


Push notifications

Since push notifications can be annoying when used too often, they should be reserved for highly important, time-sensitive campaigns. They’re also by-and-large simpler, design-wise, than the other channels: you get your app icon, app name, ideally just 24 characters of copy, and if you’re sending via Android or iOS 10 on iPhone, you can include an image.

In-app/in-browser messages

These messages are only displayed to customers actively using your app or site, so they’re best for non-urgent messages. They can include rich media with text.


This familiar channel allows you to send in-depth content to customers, and is more urgent than in-app messages, since users don’t have to visit your properties to see the message. Design options are theoretically endless, but of course you’ll want to optimize for mobile reading. The majority of email opens now happen on mobile devices (57% according to Yesmail).

News Feed Cards

News Feed Cards are an in-app content stream that can deep link to pages inside or outside your app or site. Since they’re not as intrusive as in-app messages, marketers can as a rule add more context, in the form of rich images and text, to these cards.

Messages in these channels should be designed appropriately, with images, design, and copy to match their relative urgency and layout capabilities. The bottom line is, of course: Will it make sense when the user sees it? Think about what your customer is doing when they encounter this message (refer to the breakdown above for ideas), and tailor your design to that moment.

Now for the important next step

When your customers move between channels, say reading an email from you one day, a push notification the next, and getting in-app messages when they open the app, all of your messages should still feel like they come from you. This means that a number of elements have to reflect your brand aesthetic, while fitting seamlessly into the channel they’ll be sent in. Here’s an example:

Messages from the Saucey app

This is an in-app message, News Feed Card, and push notification, all from Saucey, the drinks (and more) delivery service app. You can see that where rich images are included, a connecting design theme is used: sun-soaked and multicolored hues for the main image, over a clean white-space background with copy in simple, crisp font. In the in-app message and push notification, both great formats for attention-grabbing copy, they’re using their signature casual tone with an emoticon and a hashtag.

Even though these are different channels, with different capabilities, all these messages feel like they come from Saucey, which is a great way to build brand trust and keep themselves top of mind for their users.

To learn more and start trying your hand, check out these posts by Appboy:

About the author:

Kat Sherbo

Kat Sherbo is the senior content manager at Appboy. She’s a marketer, writer, and editor with a passion for engaging stories. When not at work in the world of content marketing and mobile apps, she can be found reading fantasy fiction, working her way through watercolor painting books, or watching reality TV.