SMS (Short Message Service) is the official name of the standard that lets people send text messages between cell phones and other devices.
Does it seem like SMS has been around forever? In fact it’s not quite 30 years old. The service was first offered to consumers in 1993, and growth was slow. Early “dumb” mobile phones had only numerical keypads, so sending alpha characters required multiple keypresses.
SMS popularity increased in 2007 when Apple released the iPhone. CBS News reported that in the first quarter of 2006, Americans sent and received 65 texts per month. By the end of 2007, they were sending more text messages than they made phone calls. By the second quarter of 2008, Americans were sending and receiving a whopping 357 text messages a month — a 450% increase in two years.
Since then, SMS usage has only grown. As of 2020, according to 99firms, 5 billion people could send and receive SMS messages, and over 90% of text messages are read within three minutes.
Businesses that want to text their customers should know about the two primary types of SMS content: person-to-person (P2P) and application-to-person (A2P).
P2P SMS is what most people imagine when they think of text messaging. P2P SMS is conversational, and it takes place between real people, generally in real time.
A2P SMS comes in three varieties, as SMS API provider Plivo explains in its
If businesses want to send SMS messages to customers, they have to take into account some legal and regulatory considerations. For example, senders of A2P SMS messages must obtain consent from recipients, and they must send messages from an approved SMS number type.
Different countries have different requirements and regulations regarding A2P SMS, so businesses should check local rules. Failing to comply with legal and regulatory requirements can get your messaging blocked by your carrier.
SMS is the most popular messaging platform, but not all businesses take advantage of it. In 2019, 54% of consumers said they wanted text messages from businesses, but only 11% of businesses sent them, Small Business Trends reports. That seems like a missed opportunity. PC Magazine reports that 85% of smartphone users prefer mobile messages to emails or calls.
It’s not difficult to
Texting is simple in concept and, with APIs from a cloud communication service like Plivo, simple to implement. The sooner you start, the sooner you can reach customers and prospects using the channel most consumers prefer.