While SMS messaging has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, it has been one of the most preferred means of communication since its inception some 31 years ago. A plain text message has evolved and revolutionized the way we communicate over time. Moving beyond communication, SMS today has created its own space for brands to reach out to its customers However, Application to Person (A2P) messaging came with its set of limitations — lack of customer engagement and no space for interactive response.
On the other hand, Person to Person Messaging (P2P) has been fragmented since the emergence of popular OTT apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat leading to the demise of native messaging. However, SMS has and continues to be a popular medium to reach out to customers, especially for push marketing. The question is then how it can be more customer friendly; customer experience driven and can bring better business outcomes compared to the OTT apps in the market.
The old days of “spray and pray” or “batch and blast” marketing are long gone. In the past, marketers used to send out bulk advertisements, emails, or other forms of communications out to a huge group of people (spray). Then they would hope (pray) that the message would motivate at least some entities in the broad audience to show interest in the brand’s offerings, or even better – buy these offerings. Marketers paid no attention to personalisation, audience segmentation, or the measurement of metrics, such as conversion tracking or ROI.
The problem with this hit-and-miss approach?
The message got lost in a lot of noise, and therefore went unnoticed. In short, a lot of effort for very little reward.
Fortunately, modern brands and their marketing teams no longer have to rely on spray and pray marketing to get their message across. If anything, they can send personalised messages at scale to a captive audience and engage in meaningful, one-on-one conversations that are more likely to lead to conversions, sales, and customer loyalty and advocacy. And one of the most powerful mediums to achieve these goals is mobile SMS marketing.
Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging is the next big evolution in the world of mobile messaging. RCS provides a messaging solution that is unparalleled in terms of features to any existing messaging platform. Google is one of the major players in the industry to boost the growth of RCS messaging across the globe.
In simple terms, RCS messaging is SMS 2.0. RCS has features such as rich cards, carousels, suggested actions, images and so on. These features allow brands to improve the user experience they intend to provide to their users. RCS also has the ability to verify profiles of the enterprises and have their logo on it. This all makes RCS even more attractive for brands to adopt it.
RCS messaging is currently available only on Android devices. In the past decade, Android’s market share has gone up from 23% in 2012 to almost 75% in 2021. This means that every 3 out of 4 mobile phone owners have an Android device. RCS messaging, therefore, has quite a large amount of potential reach to users.
Communication is the key. Be it a business, workplace, or in personal life, without communication, no interaction can take place. Communication has been possible virtually since the invention of emails four decades ago. Over the years, technology has drastically evolved and it has made possible for people across the globe to communicate instantaneously with one another at a much cheaper cost compared to previous decades.
Enterprises have also benefited from the technological evolution in the communication & messaging industry. They are able to communicate with the users promptly across devices. This helps enterprises to earn a reputation for taking a technological leap and therefore, users will be able to trust the company for it’s risk-taking initiative towards new innovations. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is one of the most innovative technologies to emerge in recent years.
With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, conversational messaging technologies like RCS have immensely grown in the past few years. Users too prefer this shift in virtual communication. Around 1.4 billion people are using chatbots, that’s about 1 in every 7 people across the world.
Conversational messaging is innovating at a rapid pace. Over the years, there has been a paradigm shift as to how two or more people send messages and have conversations virtually. With the imminent rise of social media, connecting with people from any part of the world has become as easy as buying your daily groceries. With the emergence of rich messaging features such as gifs, emojis & so on, messaging over the apps has become even more human and personalized.
Social media and messaging apps allow users to build a community of like-minded people who can share information and opinions easily with one another. Rich messaging makes this experience even more fascinating as it helps to explore other unknown facets of human connection and communication. This aspect of conversational messaging helps businesses to provide even more personalized user experience over messaging apps. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is exactly trying to achieve that.
All over the world, millions of companies leverage SMS to connect and engage with customers. This is not surprising considering that:
- 78.05% of the global population owns a smartphone
- The average person checks their phone 160 times a day
- SMS has open rates of 98%
- 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes
- Over 65% of marketers state that SMS is a “very effective” marketing channel
From appointment reminders, account updates and delivery notifications, to sales announcements, limited-time promotions, coupons and even company updates; SMS is an easy, low-cost, scalable way to share relevant information with customers and keep them engaged with the brand. And now, businesses have an even more powerful means to communicate with customers: RCS business messaging.
Continued advancements in technology have enabled us to send and receive images, videos, gifs, music and much more, allowing us to engage in the most interactive manner possible. Despite all other modes of communication, mobile messaging has remained and continues to be a preferred method of communication even today. Let’s take a look at how messaging has evolved and revolutionized the way we interact.
According to a survey carried out by Pew, 79% of American users are somewhat concerned about how brands are using the data collected about them which indicates the skepticism of users around providing their personal details on an online platform.
So the question arises, “how do brands communicate with users on the most widely used device i.e. mobile phones?”
Mobile messaging channels have provided an easy means of connection between brands and their respective customers. Research suggests that Conversational AI messaging will approximately reach a valuation of USD 32.62 Billion by 2030. This rise is expected as brands are moving towards providing a “chat-first” strategy wherein users can connect with brands from the place of their comfort and experience the brand’s services before they start purchasing products or services from them.
There are various conversational messaging platforms available for brands to connect with their customers. However, more options also lead to more confusion as to which platform will perform best for your business size and vertical. Whether you are a small dropshipping business owner, top-level executive of a banking and financial institution, operate a travel company, or a marketing director for a travel and tourism enterprise, there is an omnichannel conversational solution for all businesses.
RCS (Rich Communication Services) is the next generation of SMS (Short Messaging Service). RCS helps to send rich media such as video, gifs, and images with suggested buttons and replies, which enables enterprises to achieve a higher response rate than simple text-based messaging.
Let us understand how RCS is being used by various brands and industries.