14 minutes to read

Comparing SMS Marketing vs Email Marketing: What Is More Effective?

Email vs SMS main

Email and SMS are arguably the holy grails of marketing. 

Before text messaging became commonplace, email marketing was the king of the hill. It was the backbone of all outbound advertising efforts. Emails clearly still play a significant role, as 82% of marketers use them and more than 330 billion are sent daily.
But SMS is quickly catching on and proving that it is not a passing fad. The US short message service market is projected to reach $12.6 billion by 2025.

Sms market stats USA

So, this begs the question, which is more effective: SMS marketing or email marketing? The main difference between the two forms of marketing is in how they serve businesses and customers.

Since there is no clear winner in the email vs. text marketing battle, marketers must now decide whether to stick with emails or jump on the sms bandwagon.

Still, the best bet will depend on a number of factors, including your business needs, objectives, and budget.

We’ll compare SMS vs email  so you can choose which is best for your next marketing campaign, or if you should use both.

What Are the Main Differences Between Sms and Email Marketing?

The most important differences between texting and email are provided in the table below.

Features SmsEmail
Length According to universal standards, an SMS is limited to 160 characters.Between 50 and 125 words is a sweet spot for an email copy. However, you are free to go for the record of the longest email ever sent (dubbed “Swami Vivekananda”), which was 737106 words long.
ContentSMS is great for sending time-sensitive messages, delivery tracking, or a flash sale.Emails contain multimedia-rich creatives with features like video, audio, or other elements that encourage viewers to interact.
ChannelSMS is instant and pops up on your phone screen almost immediatelyEmail is sent to an email account and can be viewed either via your computer or via your phone periodically.
PurposeSMS marketing is a good way to quickly engage customers using short-form messages. This could include reminders for events, information about flash sales, and appointments.Long-form content with nuanced messages is best for email marketing. Among these are product updates, invitations, and newsletters.

What KPIs Should You Look at When Comparing SMS and Email Marketing?

Key performance indicators are the numbers that show how well different parts of an SMS or email campaign did. 

These metrics help you get a better idea of things like how many people received, opened, or engaged with an email or SMS. 

Depending on what your business goal is, different KPIs may be tracked and monitored in email and text marketing. Things to check are:

  • Open rate
  • Deliverability
  • CTR (click-through rate)
  • Cost 
  • Customization 

Let’s talk about the first KPI.

Text Open Rate vs Email

The success of SMS vs. email marketing can be measured by the open rate. The number of people who opened your SMS and email is called the “open rate.” Open rates often only show how good your subject lines are. The more catchy the subject lines are, the more likely people are to open your text or email.

When we compare the open rates of both, messaging clearly comes out on top. If you send an SMS to a group of people, nearly all of them will read it. Yet texting vs email statistics suggests that only about one-fifth of people you send emails to actually open them.

SMS vs Email Deliverability

Deliverability shows how many emails and SMS messages made it to the user’s inbox. 

Most people think that all SMS messages and emails sent to customers are read, but this isn’t always true. Emails and text messages sometimes get bounced by the servers from which they were sent. 

This happens when an SMS or email is sent without custom authentication, making it hard for users to subscribe. A high bounce rate is also possible if the email was sent from a free address.

A good delivery rate is 95% or higher, and the bounce rate, which can be a hard bounce or soft bounce, shouldn’t be higher than 3%.

Although the average rate of emails being delivered is pretty high, SMS wins again. With a delivery rate of up to 98% on average, it is one of the most reliable ways to get in touch with your customers.

If you’re not sure how well your messages are getting through, SMS delivery testing can help. It means making sure that messages can be sent to phones in a certain country or network.


The click-through rate is the number of people who clicked on one or more links in your SMS or email.

A high CTR indicates that customers find value in what you’re offering them.  

When consumers connect with your marketing messages, they are more likely to click through. You must consider how you build your messages and the CTAs you use.

Research shows that SMS marketing has the highest CTR (6.16%), which is 4% higher than email marketing (2.80%). For some reason, people who receive messages directly to their phones are more likely to click on them.

The Average Cost of SMS and Emails 

The cost of sms marketing depends on things like how long it lasts, how many texts are sent, and where the target audience is. 

The network operator and service provider are also important to factor in.

Email campaigns are relatively cheaper than other forms of marketing. But if you intend to use email customization, keep in mind that prices will vary depending on the company and your campaign formats.

Though email marketing is cheaper, SMS marketing is much more economical. The initial investment in sms might be high, but the long-term savings it provides make it the more cost-efficient choice.

For example, you could send weekly bulk messages to 10,000 subscribers for about $400/year. 

You can start out with as little as $9 per month and scale up with a budget of $1,000 using email marketing. Whether you decide to handle it internally or contract it out will determine the cost.


Sending out personalized emails and texts is a great way to make your customers feel valued and appreciated. 

A study found that personalized SMS had much lower rates of unsubscribing than those of generic ones. 

The CTR of customized messages was also higher, according to the same study.

Email is more customizable than SMS. You can include pictures, videos, links, and files. You can add your brand’s colors and GIFs to messages for a more customized feel.

Pros of SMS Marketing

Pros of SMS Market

Here are some SMS marketing advantages.

Lightning Speed

It takes seconds to send a text. SMS is the best way to get your message to your clients quickly. Statistics on SMS marketing show that more than half of marketers and businesses trust its lightning speed. Most people put more importance on the way they communicate because it gets them the results they want quickly.

No Internet? No Problem!

Yes, text messages, emails, social media… There are a ton of ways to get the word out about your business.

All of these channels have one thing in common: you need access to public infrastructure, like a Wi-Fi router or a cell tower, in order to use them. 

But what if you don’t have access to that kind of infrastructure or are trying to avoid it? 

That’s when offline SMS marketing comes to the rescue. Text messaging lets you send messages to your customers without the internet or cell phone towers.

High Engagement 

SMS conversion rate is impressive. When compared to email, sms has an open rate that is 78% higher

80% of customers say they would be interested if their favorite brands sent them offers via SMS, but only 20% of those brands actually do. If you’re not already engaging your customers through this medium, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Easy to Construct 

Creating an SMS marketing campaign is quick and easy because messages can only be 160 characters long. Indeed, research shows that concise advertisements are more effective at conveying their intended messages.

Say Goodbye to Spam Messages 

Ever received an email like this one: 

“You have a voucher, coupon, or gift card to redeem”. 

You guessed right; that was a spam email!

However, here’s an interesting fact: only 3% of all SMS marketing is spam. Emails, unlike SMS, are less likely to reach the customer because they are frequently filtered into spam folders.

Unwanted messages are not only incredibly frustrating, but they are often attempting to steal personal information. You may integrate an OTP SMS API into your platform as an extra layer of security for customers. Using only static passwords, on the other hand, exposes your customers’ sensitive data to theft.

Cons of Bulk Text Messaging

Bulk text messaging, like any other form of marketing, has flaws.

Limited Length 

One drawback is that you can only send 160 characters in a single text message. So you must be concise and to the point. Ultimately, texting customers isn’t a viable option if you have a lot to convey. You also can’t include any images in the text. This makes it difficult to visually showcase a new product and keep your audience’s attention. 

Instead, use a link shortener to direct customers to your website, where they can find all the information they need. Suppose you have a blog where you go into great detail about a particular topic. Customers can be persuaded to read your blog post by receiving an SMS with a teaser and a link to it.


You should consider the financial impact on your company if you decide to implement this strategy. Telecom companies typically charge for sending and receiving text messages. This means you and your customers incur the costs. 

If you bombard your customers with too many text message alerts, they may begin to unsubscribe. And if you drastically reduce the number of messages you send, your ROI may suffer.

Few Customers Stay Loyal

Customers get so many fake texts that it might be hard to win their trust. They have to opt in before you can serve ads to them. It is also important to have clear plans and goals from the beginning.

Stringent Regulations 

There are strict regulations that must be followed for SMS marketing to be GDPR compliant. In the absence of express consent, your advertisements will not be lawful. 

Such as, for instance, sending too many messages to customers or having a box that is pre-checked. Effective text message marketing is complicated by regulations. Thus SMS cannot be used exclusively.

Pros of Bulk Email Marketing 

Email is one of the best marketing tools because it provides the following advantages:

Way to Draw Attention With Little Effort 

Billboards facing busy thoroughfares may not be seen by the target audience. If you want your message to be read, email is a good way to do it. 

Nearly half of all U.S. residents check their mailboxes daily for special offers, news, and other items they might find exciting.

Emails Boost Your ROI

Whether you run a large or small business, you need to make the most of your advertising dollars. 

With a return on investment (ROI) of $44 for every $1 spent, email marketing is both highly profitable and relatively inexpensive.

It’s a Boon to Website Visits

Emails, in general, have catchy subject lines that lead to hidden gems of information. 

You can persuade website visitors to take action using this method of interaction. This can include reading blogs, purchasing products, or signing up for a newsletter.

Adaptable in terms of length and visuals

An email message can be as long as you want it to be. Because of this, it is a great way to give detailed explanations. 

You could also send pictures in an email. Visual aids, like pictures or graphs, can be a very powerful way to get your message across and persuade your audience.

Cons of Bulk Email Marketing

Here are some disadvantages of email marketing:

Low CTR 

With an average click-through rate (CTR) of 3.42 percent, a big chunk of your messages may not get answered. Because the CTR has gone down, business leaders may think that email marketing doesn’t have much to offer.


Businesses all over the world use email as their main marketing tool, which means customers get a lot of spam messages. To deal with the growing number of spam emails, many email providers have made filters that are getting more and more strict and automatically send promotional emails to the spam folder. To boycott this, your team must strictly limit the number of people who can do it.


Not everyone will open an email on the same computer, phone, or with the same settings. If you don’t test how your email looks on different platforms, wrong graphics, blocked photos, and text that you can’t understand could happen. Your team can work around this problem by using tools for previewing and testing emails.

When Is It Better to Use Email or SMS Marketing?

Email marketing is most effective in these situations:

  • When you want to send non-urgent messages or information that your clients might want to keep.
  • Feedback requests, completing transactions, enticing customers to return, following up with leads, and sharing brand-related stories 
  • When the messages you’re sending to your customers aren’t time-sensitive but are still valuable to them. 
  • When you have a lot of text to convey, like in a newsletter. 

SMS marketing is the way to go:

  • When you need to get a message out to a large group of people quickly.
  • When brief, to-the-point communications are desired. 
  • If you need to notify people of something (like shipping or delivery updates or security breaches.)

SMS and Email Marketing FAQs

Below are the most common questions marketers ask about SMS and email marketing.

Is SMS Marketing Effective?

The answer is yes. When compared to other forms of marketing, the open rate for SMS messages is statistically much higher, at around 98%

For obvious reasons, SMS marketing is rapidly becoming the preferred method of communication between companies and their customers.

How Much Does SMS Marketing Cost?

SMS marketing costs vary depending on the size of your subscriber base and how often you send out campaigns. The cost of a pay-as-you-go SMS marketing platform could range from $200 to $600 per month.

What is the Average Cost of an Email Marketing Campaign?

For a mid-sized company to do its own email marketing, the monthly cost can range from $9 to $1,000. (depending on the platform and number of subscribers). Or, if they hire a service, the monthly fee could be $300–$500.

Is Email Marketing Still Effective in 2022?

Yes, it is. 

A long and fruitful future lies ahead for email marketing. Given how accessible and affordable it is, it’s a safe bet that its significance will only grow over time. 

In addition, the purpose of email marketing is not merely to send emails; rather, it is to generate revenue for your business.

What Percentage of Emails are Opened on a Mobile Device?

Statistics show that 61.9% percentage of emails are opened on a mobile device. 

SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing: What to Choose?

SMS marketing has much better open and click-through rates than email marketing. 

Spam accounts for anywhere from 50% to 85% of all email traffic. In sharp contrast, the percentage of spam messages in SMS is incredibly low—less than 3%.

But don’t write email marketing off just yet. While SMS seems to fit the bill (you can get started with bulk sms right off the bat), email marketing is a huge win for many businesses. 

81% of small businesses rely on email for customer acquisition, while 80% use it for retention.

Also, there’s no hard and fast rule that says your marketing strategy has to give more weight to one form of communication over another. 

In fact, most kickass brands right now use a mix of strategies. This calls for integrating various strategies, including bulk SMS and email marketing.
If combining different marketing options feels like a chore, consider using a cross-channel marketing tool. This typically allows you to conduct and manage your campaigns in a single location.

Add comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *