With the growing popularity of smartphones and the use of mobile apps, are text messaging solutions taking a backseat in the world of mobility solutions?
Absolutely NOT. In fact, we are actually seeing a resurgence in SMS solutions.
With over 7.5 billion mobile subscribers in the world, smartphone penetration is at 39%1. As you dig deeper into this statistic, we find that this varies across countries and across demographics.
Mobile penetration (people having either feature / “dumb” phone or smartphone) is 101.1%2 in the world, which means an SMS has more reach than any app. It doesn’t require mobile data or an internet connection to be able receive a message, making this a good solution in remote geographies having only a network signal. Moreover, SMS is not limited by device compatibility (i.e. iOS, Android, Windows, etc.). Essentially anyone with a mobile number is reachable.
Although the market for mobile apps is booming, consider the following datapoints1:
- About 52% of all apps lose at least half of their peak users after three months.
- Gartner released a study last year that estimated, 1 in 10,000 apps will pay off by 2018. That’s only 0.01%!
- The average user spends 70% of app time in their three most-frequently-used apps.
Most apps downloaded today are not for business purposes. Users prefer to download entertainment, social media, and gaming apps instead. It’s rare that a business app secures valuable space on a user’s smartphone or mobile device.
Mobile messenger apps may be popular for the individual to socialise and chat easily, business is better suited to the world of SMS. Consider that SMS has 90%+ open rates compared to push notifications at less than 40%1. Moreover, unlike push notifications, text messages are usually read within a couple of minutes. Although many people choose to get in touch with businesses to ask questions and address issues, we’d find it quite intrusive if we started receiving marketing messages to our social accounts through apps.
Mobile apps can take thousands of dollars to develop. Furthermore, you may have to spend thousands more to port it across platforms, keep it updated, deal with bugs, and ensure it’s compatible with all the new devices that enter the marketplace. In comparison, SMS is much cheaper. You don’t have to worry about updates and can simply focus on crafting strategic messages.
Clearly for business, SMS has immense value for businesses that are willing to make the investment. It’s a superior form of mobile engagement that is available to everyone with a mobile phone and offers high returns to brands that develop clever strategies.
1 Synegys Analysis. Source data drawn from Pew Research Center 2016, The World Bank, Google’s Our Mobile Planet in 2013, New Zoo, Deloitte, Stat.fi , Statista, Telegeography, Biztechafrica.com, Investingroup.org, Horizon Research, Contentasia.tv.
2 World bank databank, 2016.