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What Makes SMS Such a Powerful Marketing Medium?

More businesses than ever before are texting. This begs the question: what makes SMS such a powerful marketing medium?

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Not only is SMS still relevant, but text message marketing is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

As we noted in our “Text Message Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021” roundup, Forrester Research predicts consumers will get more texts in 2021 than ever before as brands build more direct relationships with customers.

This article delves into what makes SMS such a powerful marketing medium but it’s not your standard advantage of SMS marketing listicle: we’re going to explore why it’s fundamentally a safe bet for marketers.

Understanding the Messaging Landscape

To understand why SMS has emerged as the king of the messaging channel jungle, it’s helpful to take a look at this chart

It illustrates the number of global monthly active users for seven of the most popular messaging apps.

In the U.S. 314 million people own a smartphone that can send text messages. In comparison, in 2020 there are 68.1 million US WhatsApp users and 117.6 million Facebook Messenger users.

It’s why research from Pew revealed that texting is the most frequent use of smartphones. 97% of Americans use their native text messaging app at least once a day.

What we’re getting at is that SMS is the only messaging channel with truly broad adoption. The rest of the market is incredibly fragmented.

Yes, some people use Facebook Messenger, and some people use WhatsApp, but nearly everyone can send and receive texts.

This isn’t just SMS winning by default either. Globally, 47% of people prefer native text messages when communicating with brands, followed by Facebook Messenger at 21%.

Why Does This Matter?

90% of consumers want to be able to use messaging to communicate with businesses, so you want to choose the messaging medium with the broadest adoption.

We’re not social anthropologists, but we’d wager there are a couple of reasons for the rise of messaging:

  • People are busy and messaging is quick: 66% of US adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.
  • The on-demand economy: people can order a pizza, book a vacation, and buy a new pair of jeans all from their mobile device–a device they spend close to three hours a day looking at. 
  • Demographics: millennials and Gen Z grew up texting, so it’s unsurprising that they expect businesses to cater to their dominant method of communication.

How Does This Make SMS Such a Powerful Marketing Medium?

So far we’ve outlined that:

  • SMS is the dominant messaging channel
  • An overwhelming majority of people want to message with businesses

The final factor at play here is the growth of mobile web traffic. The percentage of global web traffic on mobile phones has grown rapidly over the past decade. 

As of October 2020, 48.62% of all web traffic came through mobile phones. If we were to go back to October 2010, this figure was at a minor 3.81%.

A lot of companies have realized they have a mobile problem: they get more mobile traffic than desktop, yet aren’t doing any specific mobile marketing.

While a lot of mobile marketing requires significant investment–think building a mobile app–SMS marketing campaigns are affordable and easy to set up.

The Proof Is in the Pudding

When you combine people’s preference for messaging, the ubiquity of texting, and the rise in mobile web traffic, you get: 

Beyond sky-high conversion rates, people open, read, and respond to texts quickly. You may have heard before that the open rate of text messages is 98%. 

How Are Businesses Using This Powerful Marketing Channel?

There are a lot of SMS marketing use cases, but here are some of the most common examples:

If you want to see more real-world examples of businesses using SMS marketing, we recommend you check out our library of success stories.

Do You Want to Start Texting?

As you can see, there are many benefits of texting your customers, and it can fit multiple needs and goals. If you’re still full of questions, we recommend you check out the following resources:

And of course, our team of texting experts is always here to help. We’re available 7 days a week. Text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen. Or, sign up for a 14-day free trial––no credit card details required.

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