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Score 7.7 out of 101
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Score 9.7 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

Amazon SNS

Amazon SNS is great for at least two use-cases: building cheap, non-emergency alerts, and decoupling services with pub/sub messaging. SNS is great for creating email notifications in minutes for alerts that are not worthy of PagerDuty. Subscribing multiple AWS Lambda functions to a topic is a great way to decouple features.
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Urban Airship

It's well-suited when you want your content to get out quickly. It's best for breaking or big news. We do weigh what types of stories we want to push. We don't want to overuse it, but we want to take advantage. We don't find it appropriate using it between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. We sent out a push one time around midnight, and we got a comment back that it woke somebody up and scared them.
Brian L. Clark profile photo

Pros

  • The AWS Lambda SNS trigger is great. Subscribing multiple Lambda functions to an SNS topic is a nice way to decouple features.
  • SNS is fully-managed. Our team is too small to manage our own pub/sub infrastructure.
  • Subscribing email endpoints to SNS topics and integrating topics with CloudWatch alerts is very easy; we create more non-emergency notifications than we would without SNS.
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  • It's very fast. As soon as we hit send, it arrives on our phone and tablet apps immediately.
  • The interface is clear. We generally copy and paste the headline right into the box. The font and font size, along with the background, make it easy to read so that we avoid any typos. That's important because we're working quickly.
  • It gives you good and usable analytics to track engagement.
  • It's 100 percent reliable. We've never had an issue with it.
Brian L. Clark profile photo

Cons

  • The SNS Console has not been updated in a long time, and it was confusing to begin with.
  • Testing systems that use SNS end-to-end can be tricky; LocalStack somewhat ameliorates this problem.
  • Debugging is difficult.
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  • The interface can be a little confusing. In the upper right corner of your dashboard, you'll see "New Push Message" and "New Message" ... Seems odd to have two choices. Then, after you push "New Message" you can copy and paste your text, but then there are about three more buttons before you get to the point of sending it. That just might be how it's integrated with our app so other markets might be different. But, if you have the instructions, it's fairly quick.
  • Again, this could be just the way it's integrated with our app, but when a user clicks on the alert on their phones, it goes to the web site and not to the specific story. So, we have to make sure the story is in a prominent place on our site (Latest News, mainstage).
  • It would be nice to have small photos in our push notifications.
Brian L. Clark profile photo

Alternatives Considered

SNS is much more customizable compared to SES and allows for many more delivery methods. While it is better for email-based notification services, not being able to send notifications via SMS limits your app functionality considerably. Being able to switch message delivery types is an invaluable tool for any application deployment
Dylan Cauwels profile photo
There was a time when we went off Urban Airship and went to Spreed. We were using Spreed's app, so there was much better integration on push notifications. The push notification took readers directly into the story. When we moved from Spreed to our own native app, we went back to Urban Airship.
Brian L. Clark profile photo

Return on Investment

  • Positive from the cost savings of the service itself
  • Positive from the labor savings from both the ease of setup and learning curve of the programmers
Dylan Cauwels profile photo
  • It's had a positive impact on engagement.
  • It helps lend credibility to our product given that major sites like CNN, AP, ESPN, etc. have push notifications.
  • I have not come across any negative impacts.
Brian L. Clark profile photo

Pricing Details

Amazon SNS

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details

Urban Airship

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details