Mobile Messaging Is Evolving, Here’s What You Need to Know
by Lilly Thuma | Last Updated: Feb 5, 2021
If you were given the option between receiving a phone call, email, or text, what would you choose? Personally, I would always opt for a text. It is an easy way to communicate with a business and less formal than an email or call. Plus, mobile messaging is becoming even more sophisticated. Think about the texts you used to send 10 years ago. They were probably loaded with abbreviations and characters that looked like “:) :/”. Today, you can send emojis, long messages, and as many images and GIFs as you want. This advanced messaging technology is a great opportunity for brands to engage with consumers.
SMS → RCS
First, let’s talk about the difference between SMS and RCS. If you are in marketing, especially mobile marketing, I am sure you have heard these abbreviations before, but what do they actually mean? SMS stands for Short Messaging Service and RCS stands for Rich Communication Service. RCS is basically like an evolution of SMS, that is slowly but surely taking over. RCS was first introduced in 2007, and in 2018 Google announced they were working with major cell phone carriers to make RCS standard.
With RCS you can send messages with unlimited characters (compared to the 160 character limit of SMS). You can also send higher resolution images, videos, and GIFs. RCS is also compatible with group chats, read receipts, typing bubbles, and more. Overall, RCS is just a general improvement of what SMS had to offer.
Chat Apps Are on the Rise
The popularity of chat apps is rising for those of us who are a little more impatient and don’t want to wait for RCS to finally take over. Chat apps, like iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, offer almost all of the same capabilities of RCS, the only catch is they aren’t compatible with other platforms (hence why you get a green bubble instead of blue when an iPhone send a message to an Android), but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for most.
There has been steady growth towards chat apps and away from traditional SMS for a few years, but it really accelerated in 2020 with more people needing to communicate on mobile due to COVID-19. The main reason for this is because of the higher functionality of these platforms. Users want to be able to send each other videos or funny GIFs without having the restrictions of SMS, especially now that face-to-face interaction is limited.
How Can Businesses Use Mobile Messaging?
There is a ton of opportunity for businesses to take advantage of mobile messaging. Sending text messages is a great way to grab consumers' attention, especially considering how much time we already spend on our phones. Believe it or not, SMS has open rates of 98 percent for businesses. That is a pretty impressive number.
So how can businesses capitalize on this? Instead of trying to send emails or call consumers, send them a short text message they can look at when it’s convenient for them. This is a great way to advertise current promotions or sales. It can also be an effective way to send special offers to consumers. Mobile messaging can even be used as a method for consumers to access your mobile app or Progressive Web App (PWA), a place where they can get even more information about your brand.
It is important to keep in mind you can’t just send any text and expect it to work. You need to think about the tone you are giving off in the message. Consumers usually respond better when it sounds like the message is coming from a person rather than a robot. Also, remember consumers are moving towards RCS and chat apps because they like they have more options as to what they can send. So it might be a good idea to use an emoji or send a GIF to grab the user's attention. The more your message stands out the better.
Texting has been around for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting old. As long as mobile messaging technology keeps improving and consumers keep using it, it will be a great way to quickly and easily communicate with consumers.