SMS or Push Notifications: Which to Choose
Smartphone users are increasingly favouring shopping via mobile apps. That is why companies claiming to be market-leading consider the launch of their mobile applications to be one of their top priorities. At this stage, they face a dilemma: which channel to use to establish communication with customers — SMS or push notifications?
Let's consider the peculiarities of each type of message and determine which one is better suited to the challenges of modern business and the needs of customers.
SMS: advantages and disadvantages
SMS are short messages (up to 160 characters) delivered to a standard application on a phone. There is no need to download additional software from Play Market, App Store and other sources to send/receive them.
Benefits of SMS:
- Deliver to any mobile phone (not just smartphones), which allows companies to reach the widest target audience.
- Sent through mobile carriers without requiring an internet connection. The SMS delivery rate is 95-99%.
- Displayed on a locked screen, and may remain displayed until the user opens them, depending on the phone settings.
When the user receives a new SMS, their device vibrates or rings. Therefore, it is almost impossible to miss messages.
- The messages are not deleted immediately after being read but are stored on the SIM card. Going to the standard Messages application, the user can see the previously viewed message again.
The main disadvantage of SMS is its low level of interactivity and engagement. The sender can’t attach multimedia files such as photos, or videos. They can only add a link to the site and offer to click on it.
Users who have subscribed to SMS messaging can't choose the format of incoming notifications, as it is standard.
How push notifications differ from SMS
Push notifications are short alerts that are delivered via a certain app on a phone. Unlike SMS, they:
- Sent only to smartphones and only to users who have downloaded the company's app. Because of this, push notifications provide less reach.
- Can only be delivered if the mobile device is connected to a stable internet connection.
- Often go unnoticed. They appear as a banner on a locked screen, and may also pop up when unlocked. And if the user accidentally flicks this banner off the display without viewing it, it will be impossible to get it back. Push notifications are not stored in the smartphone.
An advantage of push notifications is that they provide a wide range of opportunities to engage users. Not only multimedia (photos and videos), but also action buttons, and deep links can be added to pop-up messages.
What is better: push or SMS
Push notifications and SMS messages are complementary communication channels. The disadvantages of the first channel are overridden by the advantages of the second one, and vice versa.
SMS helps to reach as many potential customers as possible, while push messages provide personalised and interactive communication. DecisionTelecom specialists recommend using both channels simultaneously, optimising them for business objectives and audience needs.
Push notifications should be sent when necessary:
- To inform about a promotion, sale, or interesting bonus that is valid when using the app to make a purchase.
- To remind the customer that he/she has an unfinished order and the items added to the shopping cart are not reserved.
- Invite the customer to a stationary store/office if the geolocation service has determined that the customer is currently nearby.
- Announce the arrival of a new product lineup.
- Offer to view a selection of the most popular products from the past week.
- Notify that the app itself has new features that will make it easier for you to use.
- Ask the customer to leave a product review or a review of your purchase.
- Invite the customer to participate in a survey regarding the quality of the product.
Texting is preferable when needed to:
- Remind about an appointment for a service, meeting, or conference.
- Request confirmation of an order, booking, or doctor's appointment.
- Inform about changes in payment methods, delivery, return, and exchanges.
- Notify about price list updates.
- Notify of changes in the schedule of work hours and reception hours.
- Notify about the relocation of the shop, office and provide new address.
- Send an authentication code to log in to the app or website.
Push notifications should be aimed at engaging potential customers and encouraging them to interact with the company here and now: leave a review, complete a purchase, vote, log in to the app, etc.
In SMS it is better to send important information that the client should not lose: appointment time, invoice for payment, new work schedule, shop address, etc.
Rules for composing and sending notifications
To ensure that current and potential customers willingly open messages, do not unsubscribe from SMS newsletters and do not delete your application from smartphones, it is recommended to follow these rules:
- You need an important reason to send a message. If notifications come every day without any meaningful load, the user quickly gets tired and unsubscribes from them.
- The text component of the notification should be short and clear. Most people view content on the run, so they won't read long messages.
- The message should include a clear call to action. This will maximise recipient engagement.
- Notifications should be personalised. Addressing customers by name will make communication trustworthy and turn them into brand advocates.
If you are planning to set up SMS and push notifications to your customer base, Decision Telecom is ready to help. Contact our sales team by phone or fill out a contact form by clicking on the "Connect with us" button in the "Contact" section.
Our specialists will create a strategy for your company's communications with the target audience so that both types of messages logically complement, not duplicate each other. With an optimised customer notification process, you can increase conversion rates by at least 30% and reduce the cost of launching advertising campaigns.