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SMS vs. WhatsApp Marketing: What Is WhatsApp Used For?

The main difference between SMS Marketing and WhatsApp marketing is that the former relies on carriers and cellular networks to send text messages. WhatsApp, on the other hand, requires an internet connection to send messages.

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We all spend way too much time on our phones. It’s why savvy marketers are investing more in mobile marketing channels.

The top two that often come to mind are WhatsApp and SMS.

Text, or SMS marketing, is the text message-based marketing channel that businesses have come to know and love over the past few years as more people spend more time on their phones.

WhatsApp is the most popular of the mobile messaging platforms (like Facebook Messenger and Instagram messages). It’s generated a lot of interest lately, in part because it’s relatively new.

Which leads brands and their marketers to ask, “Is SMS or WhatsApp right for my business?” Choosing between the two can be tough. 

You’ll get a lot of opinions all over the Internet, but today, we’re going to take a deep dive into both SMS and WhatsApp marketing to help you make an informed decision.

WhatsApp vs. SMS Marketing by the Numbers

Let’s start out with a look at the important numbers behind SMS and WhatsApp marketing.

SMS Marketing Statistics

When looking at SMS marketing, the key factor is growing demand from smartphone users. Take a look at these texting statistics:

WhatsApp Marketing Statistics

Now that we’ve taken a look at SMS, let’s see how WhatsApp compares.

Numbers alone don’t always tell the full story. Let’s dig a little deeper.

First off, why did we choose these specific statistics for each platform? 

When you’re trying to choose a marketing tool, it helps to look at a few main factors:

  • How many people use it currently
  • Whether it’s growing year by year or losing popularity
  • How long it’s been around
  • If it’s compatible with your unique audience (basically, if you reach out using the tool, will your audience see it?)
  • How much demand is there for it? Are people interested?

It’s clear that both platforms attract large audiences, cater to mobile users, and get a lot of traffic.

So, what’s the difference?

SMS and WhatsApp Marketing Differences

Simply put, SMS stands on a more solid foundation than WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is experiencing a popular moment right now because it’s useful for communication across different countries and because Facebook owns the app.

Texting, however, remains the messaging go-to for both businesses and individuals (as you can see from the percentage of people who use it daily).

It’s also worth noting that social media platforms move in and out of popularity based on shifting factors like politics, controversial moves by the brand, and how cool the next new platform is.

Texting is free from a lot of those unpredictable influences, and it’s still the default way to communicate year after year.

Now that we’ve got an idea of how many people use both texting and WhatsApp in their business, it’s worth digging into how each platform works.


Although texting from a cell phone is familiar to most of us, businesses often work their SMS marketing strategy a little differently.

While you can certainly send marketing messages from a personal device, many brands choose to use an online SMS platform.

Online platforms like these allow you to send out messages to potentially thousands of contacts at once without the impersonal feel of a group text.

You can also manage replies and conversations from one central inbox and keep track of how your messages are performing.


Unlike texting, WhatsApp functions on one application. 

Once you download the app, you’ll set up your business profile. Then, you can send mass blasts to large groups of contacts, manage replies, and schedule messages.

With WhatsApp, you can set up AWAY messages and automatic replies for your frequently asked questions to save time. 

Here’s a quick comparison of the two tools:

No need to download an app
Can set up automatic messages
Can send mass messages
Multiple numbers available on one account
Different number types available

So, Which Messaging Channel Is Best for Your Brand?

Deciding between SMS and WhatsApp for your brand comes down mainly to your business’ unique needs.

If you’re a business that operates in Europe, WhatsApp might be a useful tool to help you reach your customers since it’s popular there.

That said, there’s one big reason we generally recommend SMS, and that is its near-universal use.

It’s 2021, and everyone texts now. Businesses text, internal departments text, even your Great Aunt Ruth texts. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

The numbers we mentioned earlier show us not only that texting is a part of daily life, but also that people are overwhelmingly interested in receiving marketing texts.

If you choose to use SMS for your marketing, you have a vast, eager audience ready and waiting. 

Ready to get started with SMS in your business? Give SimpleTexting a try for 14 days, totally free.

Lily Norton
Lily Norton

Lily Norton is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. She is focused on helping you connect and communicate with your audience with more ease and efficiency than ever through text messaging.

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