Benefits of Text Messaging vs. Push Notifications

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When you check your smartphone, chances are you see a mix of text messages and push notifications. Although both mobile messaging options appear to be the same thing on your screen, there are key differences in how they work.

Push Notifications are short messages sent by installed mobile applications that show up on a user’s phone to alert the user of new updates, offers, and reminders. These notifications can be sent even when the user isn’t actively using the application.

Text Messages (SMS) are short messages sent between two or more mobile phones. Text messages can be sent from a short code or long code number directly to a user’s unique phone number.

Push Notification vs. Text Message

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So what are the benefits of each type of messaging and when is text messaging better than push notifications?

1. Text Messaging has a Wider Reach

In order for users to receive push notifications, they must first download your app onto their smartphone and then accept the invitation to receive push notifications. This automatically excludes everyone who either doesn’t own a smart phone or doesn’t have your app.

Text messaging eliminates both these barrier points to entry by allowing anyone with a mobile phone to join your campaign, regardless of make, model, or carrier. Users do not need to download anything to opt in to a campaign; they can join by simply filling out a web form or by texting in a keyword to a shortcode. Once they are opted in, users will instantly start receiving your text messages, promotions, and offers.

2. Text Messaging has More Flexibility

These days, it’s simple for mobile applications to use personal data to target their messages to users. With push notifications, you can send messages personalized to people’s name and even location, but the “sender” will always be the name of your app.

With text messaging, not only can your organization address users using their personal data, but you can also personalize the ‘sender’ information and sign off with the name of a specific person from your organization. The World Wildlife Fund found that sending a personal text message signed with a person’s name increases response rates by over 250% compared to a generic text message. Your organization can resonate with more users by showing that there’s a real person behind your messages.

3. Text Messaging is a Conversation

A push notification is a one-way communication channel. Users can receive messages from your app, but they cannot respond to you directly or take any immediate action. This creates a non-interactive experience, increasing the likelihood the user will turn off the push notifications and opt out of the campaign.

Text messaging, on the other hand, is highly interactive and inherently a two-way conversation. When a user receives a text message from your organization, they are already conditioned to respond and interact with you. Users can text back and forth with your organization, increasing engagement and building a relationship with your brand in the process.

While push notifications may be useful for certain apps, text messaging is still the best method for communicating to and connecting with your organization’s mobile users. If you want to reach more users, increase personalization, and create a more engaging and interactive user experience, text messaging is the way to go.

If you want to learn more about SMS or start your own mobile campaign, contact us at sales@mobilecommons.com.


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