2020 will always be remembered in history books for the coronavirus pandemic and the way it shaped the way we work, live and connect with others. SMS usage exploded during that year as people were forced to rely on digital channels to keep in touch. An extra 1.3 million businesses also began using A2P SMS to reach customers – an increase of 20% compared with before the pandemic.
Two years on, and mobile messaging is still a core channel. Many businesses are finding new ways to utilise SMS to improve the customer experience, and the technology itself is continually evolving. This post explores the rising SMS trends to keep an eye on in 2022 and beyond. But first...
Why text messaging is so effective in 2022
Text messages have been around since 1992. Anyone with a mobile device knows how SMS messages work (that's 91.54% of the world's population). Ease of use is just one benefit – there are plenty more:
98% of text messages are opened and read – they're direct, short and grab attention, usually arriving with a ping and a flash notification. The high open rates of text messages make this channel more effective than email campaigns and social media marketing.
Virtually instant communication – texts are usually sent and delivered within a couple of minutes, making them ideal for urgent or time-sensitive content.
Reliable channel – text messages rely on a cellular connection, so they can be delivered even in remote areas as long as there's a phone signal. Channels such as email, WhatsApp and push notifications all rely on the internet for transmission.
Native app – SMS is built into all mobile phones; there's no requirement for the recipient to download an app.
How consumers use text messages
Some 5 billion people send and receive text messages globally, and this figure is expected to reach 5.9 billion by 2025.
Consumers trust text messaging. According to a survey by Android Authority, SMS is considered a more reliable channel than other messaging apps. 72.3% of users said they still use texts to contact loved ones.
Furthermore, customers are receptive to brands using text messaging to contact them. 69% would prefer to communicate with brands by text rather than phone calls.
How businesses use text messages
Many of Messente's clients use text messaging for transactional communications, such as 2FA PIN codes and payment or appointment reminders. It's an important part of the customer service channel and is sometimes used to answer complicated customer questions.
Many other businesses commonly use SMS for text marketing activities, to send out flash sale notifications, back-in-stock alerts, review requests and abandoned cart reminders. SMS marketing is often used to communicate throughout the entire customer journey – it works brilliantly to drive customer engagement and increase customer satisfaction.
Key texting trends to watch in 2022
From RCS and automation to personalization and 10DLC, here are some of the most promising text message marketing trends to capitalise on.
1. RCS messaging
Rich Communication Services (RCS) provides an enhanced chat experience for Android users, similar to what's available with WhatsApp and Messenger. You can share files, chat in real time and there's no character limit on texts. In 2021, the global RCS market was worth $1,210.90 million, and it's set to reach $5,528.60 million by 2027.
2. Verified SMS
One challenge of SMS marketing is getting customers to trust that your message is authentic and not spam. Verified SMS helps with this by enabling you to add your logo, a verification badge, description and message preview to your texts. It's only available for consumers using Google's native messaging app, but this is definitely a trend to piggyback on if you can. Google's own research confirms that 77% of U.S. consumers prefer Verified SMS to regular SMS.
3. SMS automation
Studies have shown that marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity, plus a reduction of 12.2% in marketing overheads. Integrating SMS with the right software allows you to create automated workflows around certain SMS campaigns. Examples include welcome messages, cart abandonment alerts, birthday greetings and order confirmations. These can all be triggered based on customer actions - joining a newsletter, leaving an item in the shopping cart, submitting date of birth details or placing an order.
4. Using SMS for customer service
A whopping 90% of millennials and 78% of the general public use smartphones for customer service interactions. So it makes sense to adopt a mobile-first approach and use native SMS messaging to effectively reach customers and answer questions.
5. Personalized messages
80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if they offer a personalized experience. And this goes beyond addressing potential customers by their name. True personalization makes use of data-driven insights to take into account geographic location, past purchase behaviour, and preferences.
6. Conversational marketing messages
Conversational marketing is all about having one-to-one conversations with customers in real time to help you build personal connections, nurture relationships and drive engagement. 79% of businesses say live chat equates to more loyal customers and sales.
While live chat is often carried out through Facebook Messenger or website chatbots, it pays to consider SMS as one of your conversational marketing channels – it's more stable and reliable than web-based platforms.
10DLC stands for '10-digit long code'. It refers to a special SMS sender ID – a 10-digit dedicated number. 10DLC is the new SMS industry standard in the U.S. for trusted text messaging. Major carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T, have migrated to 10DLC, giving them more power to identify trusted senders and block spam texts. 10DLC sender IDs are cheaper to set up than short code phone numbers and are ideal for sending SMS marketing messages in bulk, so we expect to see more businesses choosing this option.
The future of SMS is bright
Taking into account the above SMS marketing trends, it's clear that the humble text message has a clear place in a forward-thinking digital communications strategy. With the technology continually evolving, there's much scope for attracting new leads, driving engagement and improving customer retention.
Ready to engage your audience through the power of SMS? Start messaging for business with Messente. Create your free account today.