Urban Airship may have made a name for itself with push messaging, but that’s not stopping the company from offering alternative notification options.

Today Urban Airship is launching a major addition to its platform: an in-app messaging center that lets consumers choose when to interact with a brand’s messages. It’s a pretty simple concept — an inbox for messages — but it’s still a major shift in Urban Airship’s messaging offering. App makers can also offer additional notifications through rich pages within their apps.

“Not every single customer engagement opportunity we believe is worthy of interrupting a consumer’s screen, but there’s times when a brand wants to reach their customers with important communication,” said Brent Hieggelke, Urban Airship’s chief marketing officer, in an interview at our MobileBeat conference in San Francisco.


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After I mentioned that it’s surprising it took Urban Airship so long to offer something like this, Hieggelke said the company had dabbled in offering the feature before, but it was only meant for broadcasting messages and had very limited usage. “Now we’re making it a core part of the platform,” he said.

Marketers can now choose to send a note to their app’s messaging center just as easily as they can already send push messages. The feature will also take advantage of Urban Airship’s Location Messaging functionality, which lets marketers target consumers in specific locations.

In addition to disrupting users less, Hieggelke says the new messaging center can also train users to look in a specific spot for deals. (See Redbox’s app above.)

Urban Airship offers several templates for publishers to adopt for their messaging centers. Additionally, the company is also upgrading its analytics capabilities for more extensive information about a single message’s performance.

The update is yet another way Urban Airship is expanding its scope. Only a few weeks ago, the company announced the first cross-platform digital wallet manager.

Portland, Oregon-based Urban Airship recently raised a $25 million round of funding led by August Capital. The company has raised a total of $46.6 million so far.


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