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MMS is No More; What Now for SMS?

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Born in the ’90s? Then you’ll remember those retro black-and-white phones that could send texts. But, to the younger generations, this technology might not even exist. 

Though they couldn’t do much more than text and send multimedia, these prehistoric phones still have a special place in our texting history. Let’s not forget about MMS, either, even if it isn’t as popular nowadays.

When MMS was first released in 1984, it shook up the communications world and China was the first to make it commercially available. By 2009, MMS had become the preferred option, and China’s Mobile chairman and CEO even declared it a bona fide service — leaving SMS behind. Unfortunately, it took only a short time for customers and providers to encounter several problems, ultimately leading to its downfall.

Time flew, and here we are. MMS has become a thing of the past, and there’s no chance of a comeback. But we can’t help but wonder what SMS’s fate will be. Will it go down the same road as MMS and disappear from the marketing scene? Let’s dive into what made MMS an ex-player in marketing and see if SMS has a shot at sticking around. By closely examining text marketing’s current value for B2Bs, we can understand what the future holds.

Why MMS Is So Yesterday: 5 Reasons to Move on

Here’s why Multimedia Messaging failed to catch on and never really got off the ground.

  1. Lack of Compatibility Among MMS Devices

Phones with MMS capabilities sometimes offer different functionality. Even if they have similar features, one model might not process content from another. 

So, to solve this issue, mobile network providers had to create content adaptation features to make inter-network compatibility possible. This was the only way users could communicate more broadly instead of just sticking to their network.

  1. Scalability Issues

Using multimedia messages certainly had major drawbacks, like companies needing help to expand their reach. How would the 3GPP Value-added Service Providers (VASPs) manage a long list of recipients without a distribution list? 

As a workaround, SMSC vendors went with FTP to easily pass the extensive distribution lists to the SMSC when dispatching many messages.

  1. Complex Setup

Compared to SMS, some settings need to be in place for MMS to work properly. If they’re not set up correctly, it can cause many user issues. So, operators needed an effective way to ensure their customers had the correct data service settings.

  1. High Costs

Marketers gave a quick goodbye to MMS when exorbitant costs came into the picture.

Few mobile network operators provided a direct connection to their Multimedia Service Centres, leaving content providers with no option but to rely on WAP push to deliver their “rich content”. 

The result is that the recipient, who pays a fee per kilobyte or minute (rather than a flat monthly charge), incurs costs for receiving the MMS and will be subject to a different rate than when sending one.

  1. Unsuccessful Adoption

According to a rather riveting Quora thread, employees in the SMS field have written off MMS. 

And in a report spouting from a Singapore-based company, it was noted that MMS was getting the axe due to the lack of interest in it. “We’ve seen a 40% dip in MMS traffic over the last three years, so we’ve decided to put our efforts toward something customers actually want.”

The report concluded as follows:

“Rest assured that SMS is here to stay. It’s a hugely important tool supported by all devices and networks, and its use is only increasing as e-commerce, online activity, and the need.”

SMS Marketing Is Here to Stay, But Why?

SMS is still a big hit among US consumers – with almost half of Millennials and GenZees saying they’re happy to get texts from brands. 

And according to other research, B2B companies also embrace the power of text messaging. Here’s some proof:

Optimal Delivery Rate of Text Messages

Delivery rate tracks how many messages get to their destinations without fail – which means a lot to businesses needing their clients to get the memo ASAP. Stats-wise, more than half of marketers and business bosses trust the speed of SMS, making it a top target for reaching those all-important marketing goals.

Highly Secured Networks

SMS messages travel on a secure network, which makes them more reliable than MMS messages, which are sent over an unsecured network and are thus susceptible to hacking and other security issues. Furthermore, companies are now providing additional security measures for their users, such as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), to safeguard confidential data.

Convenience for Users

Remember when we emphasized that complex setup was a downside to integrating MMs? Well, fortunately, that doesn’t apply to SMS. Text messages remain one of the simplest communication channels to set up and manage. And as an added benefit, they can be sent from virtually any device with a cellular connection, making it extremely convenient** for businesses to communicate with their customers.

Broad Reach 

SMS has the upper hand over MMS regarding global outreach – you can shoot out SMS messages to pretty much any phone number on the planet, while MMS is more limited by countries and networks. Businesses wanting to connect with the international public should go the SMS route.

SMS Open Rates Are the Highest

With texting, you can guarantee that nearly all of your messages will be seen. Unlike emails, where only 20% are opened, almost all SMS are opened – about 98%

This is all thanks to the push notifications that come with texting. Immediately after sending, these notifications alert users and ensure your message is ready and waiting.

Increased Usage Among Top Techs

Most devices and networks are compatible with SMS messages, so naturally, tech giants are catching on to the practicality of Short Message Service (SMS).

Take Apple, for example — they leverage SMS marketing to verify account details when customers join up, guaranteeing the right person has access. Plus, they use it to spread the word about their products, like discounts, new offerings, and more.

Amazon also deploys SMS marketing to garner customer opinions on its products and services. The company can secure invaluable information concerning customers’ product preferences through the distribution of surveys and polls.

So What’s Next for SMS?

Here’s what to expect in the future of text messaging.

  • Increased Use of AI Automation & Chatbots 

A new report has predicted that, with the help of AI technologies such as machine learning and natural language programming, Chatbots will be able to hold meaningful conversations with customers over SMS. 

SMS Stats

Harnessing automation, businesses can tailor-make messages and deliver them to different segments of their customer base, leading to more engagement and higher conversion rates. 

With the introduction of SMS chatbots, quick two-way conversations between companies and customers can occur, facilitating an effortless shopping experience for people seeking answers to their queries and hassle-free purchase.

  • Integration with Other Platforms

Omnichannel campaigns incorporating SMS are 429% more likely to score a conversion. That’s why more and more marketers are combining their SMS channels with other platforms, like social media and email marketing, to create an all-encompassing marketing strategy.

  • Personalized Marketing

These days, boring messages and bland language make it hard to tell whether an SMS marketing text is legit. As a result, people are reluctant to sign up and receive texts from businesses. To make SMS marketing successful in the future, it’s important to be clear about opting in and personalizing each message to the customer’s experience.

  • RCS Messaging

RCS Messaging, or Rich Communication Services, is an upgraded version of SMS Messaging that takes features from texting apps like iMessage and WhatsApp and integrates them into regular texting. These functionalities include reading receipts, typing notifications, images, videos, live notifications, GIFs, and more that make branding more seamless. RCS messages are currently being utilized, and it is anticipated that they will play a major role in the advancement of SMS marketing.

How BSG Keeps You Future-Proof

At BSG, we recognize that keeping up with the pace of the market is vital for brands to stay competitive. 

To that end, we offer a certified SMS gateway to assist enterprises in executing large-scale marketing campaigns, helping them stay ahead of their rivals and guarantee that their messages reach their intended audience. 
Get started, or explore our blog for more helpful SMS marketing guidance.

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