Text Messaging Featured Article
IP Messaging vs. Text Messaging
One of my favorite parts of ITEXPO (News - Alert) is StartupCamp – it’s an opportunity for startup companies to pitch their business model to a panel of judges and an audience for a shot to further their chances of making their idea a reality. At this year’s StartupCamp at ITEXPO Las Vegas, one company featured was TextGen, a company that text-enables the same phone numbers used for voice. TextGen Principal Gary Pudles included text messaging stats during his five-minute pitch, including that more than 92 percent of people ages 53 and younger text every day. What I was surprised to hear was afterwards, during the judges’ opportunity to ask any questions and address any concerns about the company. One of the judges brought up his concern about the growth of IP messaging apps, and questioned the relevance of text messaging today.
I’m a frequent user of both regular text messaging and IP messaging apps, so I’m just laying down that disclaimer right now to avoid any thinking that I’m biased toward either side based on my daily usage habits. While I know the growth of IP messaging apps has definitely become a popular way to communicate on mobile devices, I don’t believe that means text messaging is on its way out.
Here are a few stats, just to prove my point:
- Ninety-two percent of U.S. smartphone owners use SMS (Acision (News - Alert))
- Smartphone owners aged 18-24 send and receive 4,000 messages per month (Experian)
- U.S. mobile local SMS advertising revenue will reach $216 million in 2017 – up from $101 million in 2012 (BIA)
- Seventy-five percent of U.S. mobile subscribers send text messages, 49 percent download apps and 49 percent use Internet browsers (comScore (News - Alert))
IP messaging apps are your Skypes, GroupMes, WhatsApps, iMessages and other similar applications that use the Internet instead of a cellular network to send messages. Since I’m playing devil’s advocate, here are some reasons people believe IP messaging is on its way to replacing SMS.
“The volume of OTT messaging traffic is set to be twice that of P2P SMS messaging by the end of this year, according to data collected by Informa (News - Alert) Telecoms & Media. Daily OTT messaging traffic has already overtaken daily P2P SMS traffic, with an average of 19.1 billion OTT messages sent in 2012, compared with an average of 17.6 billion P2P SMS messages,” said Pamela Clark-Dickson, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media (News - Alert).
image via shutterstock
The rise in IP messaging can be attributed to a couple of factors: first and foremost, the services are “free” – while users still need to own a smartphone and pay for a data plan, they do not have to worry about a limit for text messages sent and received each month when they are communicating over an Internet connection. These apps also offer many more features than your typical messaging feature that comes on a mobile device.
While the volume of non-SMS messages has grown past the volume of SMS messages (the average OTT app user sends 32.6 messages a day, and the average SMS users just five), the user numbers remain significantly lower. The chat app users are probably also SMS users, and while there are more than 586 million users of chat apps, there were 3.5 billion SMS users in 2012, according to Clark-Dickson.
So which one wins? Will one completely take over in mainstream adoption and use? While I think IP messaging has a very good case for continued growth, I don’t think we’ll ever see the demise of the text message. It’s changing and adapting, just like any organization, feature or product has to in fast-evolving times.
Organizations have the option to text-enable their landline numbers. This means that the same number customers use to call in to a contact center can be used for them to text a number and expect service, creating an outlet to meet today’s customer demands – they want what they want, when they want it. Being able to text a contact center and receive service embraces today’s mobile customers who are multitasking and working on many different things on the go.
Text messaging is also a great marketing tool for organizations. Ninety-five out of 100 customers who opt into text messaging programs open and read mobile messages within three minutes – that’s a lot better than an e-mail inbox full of junk e-mail newsletters that usually move straight to the trash folder. While it does open doors for outbound marketing, it’s important to note how critical text messaging can be for inbound marketing purposes; being able to respond to your customers when they reach out is just as important as generating opportunities for new leads.
Edited by Ryan Sartor