Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others have introduced their own Internet browsers that skip the default mobile browser of the end user (e.g. Chrome). These "in-app" browsers are incapable of showing the required browser prompt for subscribing to web push notifications. Therefore, PushOwl will not show any opt-in widgets to store visitors using such a "in-app" browser.

Mobile apps using in-app browsers to load web content

Mobile apps often use in-app browsers to load websites when a mobile app user clicks a link inside the app (organic and paid). Most noteworthy here are social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. These in-app browsers are stripped-down browsers that don’t load all the code a website would usually do on a normal browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. These in-app browsers also don’t load the required code to collect web push subscribers. This means that you cannot collect web push subscribers when your Shopify store is loaded directly from a mobile app that uses its own in-app browser.

Facebook’s in-app browser (on mobile devices) does not support web push notifications. Whenever someone clicks on your ad on the mobile app, the link opens in Facebook’s native in-app browser. Because of this, you aren’t able to get any subscribers from Facebook ads.

In-app link opens cannot be changed

Facebook and other social media apps want to make sure that they keep users engaged and active in their own apps. Additionally, they need to track their paid and organic click and user behavior to enrich their own data. There are various downsides to this behaviour:

  • Sites displayed incorrectly
  • Google Analytics data incomplete
  • Basic browser features missing like History and Bookmarks
  • No features like web push notification

Limitation of in-app browser and web push in general

Please note that this is a general limitation of web push notifications and in-app browsers. This limitation is not bound to PushOwl alone but web push solutions in general.

The only way around this is driven by user action. When in the in-built browser, the user can click the 3-dot icon at the top right, then select "open in.." that will bring the link into your default browser (for example Chrome).

Additionally, the user can also change this behavior by going into settings, towards the end of the list there is a section called “media and contacts”. When in there, turn on “the links open externally”.

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