How Many Types of Messaging Are There?

Eli Merrell Picture

by Eli Merrell | Last Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Messaging feels like a straightforward topic. You send and receive messages on your mobile device or sometimes even a desktop or laptop. Simple as that. Texting is an easy low pressure form of communication. In 2021, mobile users in the United States sent roughly 2 trillion MMS or SMS messages. Worldwide, 23 billion texts are sent every day — that’s 270,000 every second, as cited by Forbes. There is actually more happening than you might think. When your mobile device dings alerting you to a new message, it could be one of three types of messages:
  1. Text Messages: Arrives in the form of an SMS (Short Message Service) message or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) message. Depending on the sender’s and recipient’s devices, text messages can be received as an iMessage or RCS (Rich Communication Services).
  2. Push Notifications: Messages that appear on a device lock screen from a mobile app or digital experience installed on the device. The mobile app or digital experience does not need to be open for messages to be received.
  3. In-app Messages: Messages that users can only read when they are actively using a mobile app or digital experience.
While all of these message types provide brands the opportunity to send personalized alerts, there are significant differences. 

How Many Types of Messages Are There?

There are three distinct types of messages, all with different benefits and limitations. On a connected device users can receive text messages, in-app messages, and push notifications. Brands employing a messaging strategy need to consider international guidelines when developing their messaging content. For example, only the United States and Canada currently support MMS. Text messages to recipients in other countries will be delivered as SMS messages. 

What Are the Different Types of Text Messages?

When the average user thinks of a text message, they generally think of one-to-one texts in their native messaging app. The little blue or green text bubbles on Apple devices that help us communicate. In reality, there are many different types of text messages.  The different types of text messages include SMS, MMS, RCS, push notifications, and in-app messages. Each of these are different, some only include text while others can include images. Push notifications are messages that are received outside of your inbox. Users are notified of them on their home screen or lock screen. Businesses can send push notifications if users have opted in to them. Push notifications are a great way to grab users’ attention when they are not already engaged with your brand. Push notifications pop up on the home screen directing your users’ attention to your brand and away from whatever they were previously doing.  In-app messages are received inside a specific app. These might be popups or yes/no prompts. These might be confused with push notifications but they typically only received when the user is in the specific app sending the information. This could be a survey asking users how they are enjoying the app experience. Because this survey only lives within the app and not in the users’ inbox or on their home screen it is an in-app message. 

What Is SMS vs MMS Messages?

As we already covered, SMS messages are text based messages sent between two electronic devices. It doesn’t support advanced features such as group chat, read receipts, and live typing indicators. While limited in its functionality, SMS is widely used because it is universally accessible. People can use SMS messaging to communicate with people in any part of the world, irrespective of whether they have a smartphone or an internet connection.  MMS messaging is used to send multimedia files. A user’s device must be MMS-enabled to receive multimedia messages. With MMS messages users can: Multimedia text messages sent between an Android and an Apple device are sent as MMS messages. MMS can make text campaigns more effective. Marketo found that MMS has a 20 percent higher opt-in rate than SMS alone. Brands that incorporate MMS into their messaging strategy are creating engaging consumer content.

What Is the Most Widely Used Messaging App?

The average person sends 72 text messages a day making messaging an extremely common form of communication.  You might be wondering what app consumers are using to send all of these messages.  Well, there are far more than five types of messaging apps out there. WhatsApp is the most widely used messaging app. It is used in over 150 countries. In the US specifically, Facebook Messenger is the most commonly used messaging app. WhatsApp falls to the number three spot in the US just behind Facebook and Snapchat.  With messaging being such a captivating and effective form of communication it makes sense marketers are using its power to reach customers. After collecting mobile opt-ins from their audiences brands can connect with their customers on the device in their pocket.  Lumavate offers mobile messaging on Professional and Enterprise plans. This allows Studio users to collect mobile opt-ins, create audiences and send messages connected to digital experiences.  Are you ready to connect to your audiences? Book a demo today.

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