SMS vs. Email: Debunking the Myths

A practical and impactful communication strategy is a critical factor in influencing a consumer's buying decision and loyalty to a brand. It's no secret that many businesses rely more on email marketing than SMS marketing. According to the 2016 Digital Channel Survey by Gartner, 61% of marketers don't use SMS and have no plans on investing in it. We think this is a missed opportunity. We've laid out 4 common misconceptions on the topic of SMS vs. email and highlighted the reality behind the myths.

"SMS is dying out...Email is more prominent."

Let's tackle the most popular myth first. Is SMS fading away while the prominence of email increases? Simply put, no it is not. The Radicati group study shows that there are only 3.9 billion email users, while there are 5.1 billion unique mobile subscribers (GSMA Intelligence), proving that SMS has a much broader reach for your business to connect with potential and existing customers.

Yes, there are an estimated 23 billion text messages sent per day, which is significantly less than the 281.1 billion emails sent per day, so we can see how it's easy to assume that more emails sent per day mean more people want to receive emails - but that's simply  not the case. The number of emails sent per day is due to its 20% open rate, which is significantly lower than the SMS open rate of 98%. The current A2P (application to person) messaging global market is expected to grow to 2.8 trillion SMS per year and a market value of $US26.61 billion by 2022. So SMS is not dying out but instead on an upward trajectory.

"Customers would rather receive email marketing because text messaging is too personal."

Texting is known for communicating with friends and families while email is often associated with being more professional, which is why many marketers prefer email marketing over SMS marketing. However, if you're trying to build a relationship with your customers then employing a personal touch is essential. Customers are more receptive when they feel that a service is being tailored for them.

SMS provides the personal experience that customers expect from their brands. Studies show that 9 out of 10 consumers want businesses to communicate with them via messaging, while a survey by SAP revealed that over 70% of consumers felt SMS was better at getting their attention and would reply sooner to a business SMS.

"Email is best for mass marketing."

One of the biggest appeals for your business is the ability to send out thousands of emails in an instant to your customer list. Which is why there is a view that email is better suited. However, SMS marketing can reach a mass audience equal to that of your email campaign. Bulk SMS is used to send out thousands to millions of SMS messages instantaneously. With the right platform such as mGage Communicate Pro, marketers can send out millions of text messages to their opted-in subscriber list quickly and efficiently. 

Both Email and SMS can meet your mass marketing needs but which is the standout? Unlike email, SMS is immediately available on a user’s phone appearing as a notification. This provides your message with instant visibility which is likely to lead to more messages being opened and responded to. This difference is reflected in data that shows SMS has a 8x higher response rate than email. 

"Email allows you to send rich media, while SMS does not”

With emails, you can send images, videos and graphics. Understandably this is appealing for brands looking to share promotional content, new product releases and more. SMS has often been the "plain jane" of communication channels, being limited to a standard text format. While the integration for emojis and MMS has definitely helped text message marketing step up to deliver more content like video, audio, and pictures, the next generation of SMS called RCS will be able compete head to head with email. RCS messaging is revolutionising how brands communicate with customers via mobile. RCS allows custom branding, full rich media experience, interactive screen and user-actions, a higher level of trackability including read receipts, and more.

RCS has been one of the most talked about topics within the mobile industry in the past few years, and for good reason. RCS takes everything great about SMS – quick, easy to consume, personalised – and makes it even better by giving brands the ability to put their identity on their messages, share images, graphics, use carousels and much more. Learn more about RCS here.  

Final thoughts

Your campaign is entirely reliant on how receptive your target audience is to your content; however, the channels you use to reach that audience has a significant impact. You want to reach your customers where they are, bringing their desired experience to them at their convenience. This is where SMS excels.  Don't let the myths cause you to miss out on using SMS and MMS to enhance your customer engagement strategy and provide the experience your customers want.  For more information on how SMS, MMS, RCS or Push can become part of your brand's mobile strategy, reach out to our experts or email us at