The case of disappearing subscribers in Chrome - PushPushGo

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web push chrome update

In March 2023, we noticed an alarming rate of unsubscriptions on our clients' accounts. What caused the shrinking of subscriber bases?

Why we noticed and cared

PushPushGo constantly monitors and analyzes subscriber bases and other factors relating to web push usage. In 2022, we've noticed that:

the vast majority of subscribers open their web push messages on mobile devices

  • the most popular operating system is Android

web push distribution by operating system

  • the most popular browser is Chrome

web push distribution by browser

As you can see, many users treat web push similarly to mobile push, notifications sent by mobile apps.

That's why in March when we noticed a large number of unsubscribes in Chrome, we had to take a closer look at the issue.

The story so far

In their effort to boost user comfort, Chrome (as well as other browsers) introduces new ways to help manage privacy and settings. In the latest update of Chrome, a new rule is introduced: if a user doesn't visit the site for two months, permission for this website (including push subscriptions) will be canceled.

The change aims to improve user experience in the browser, disallowing to send them notifications they are no longer interested in. 

Additionally, developers completed a feature to improve consistency between the site-level and the app-level notification permission states in Chrome on Android. Sometimes users subscribe to notifications on a website, even though they blocked notification permissions for browser apps. Now, those permissions given without changing app settings were automatically revoked.

This explains the revoking of inactive subscribers - but what about the new users and cases then permission is revoked shortly after being granted by a user? As it turns out, a bug appeared in the update, causing unsubscriptions of new users.

Where do we go from here?

As the Chrome team responded to reported bugs, the base of push subscribers has shrunk considerably. We were noticing significant drops in subscriber bases on our clients' accounts and the situation was closely monitored by our team. Finally, in May 2023, the statistics started to get back to the level from February (before the update). And we also see some bright sides to recent changes.

After the purge, subscriber bases are more up-to-date, bringing more reliable data and results. No more dead souls affecting the statistics of DSP and CTR results can make strategizing and planning easier. 

If you want to keep your subscriber base engaged, remember:

  • send regular mass campaigns promoting the most important offers or content
  • use segmentation to prepare more tailored targeted campaigns for specific groups of subscribers
  • enable automation scenarios, including push messages sent after a defined period of absence on your website.

In PushPushGo, we have a wide array of options designed to help you build retention on your website. Contact us at to learn more.

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Aleksandra Kozioł

Aleksandra Kozioł

Content Specialist @PushPushGo

Editor and writer. She is interested in media and new technologies. 

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