How SMS survived the mobile revolution

The last ten years has seen rapid development of new mobile technologies, with legacy-style feature phones all but forgotten in the wake of newer, more powerful smartphones.

With all new ways of communication opening up to users on mobile devices, industry commentators have been predicting the demise of the SMS at every turn – and yet it still stands strong as the number one activity undertaken on a mobile phone. How is this possible?

With the addition of internet to mobile networks, whole new possibilities opened up for both communication between peers and from businesses. People were able to access their emails and social networks straight from their mobiles – although at the beginning, a fair bit of patience was required while you waited for things to load, and it could be very expensive!

Mobile internet meant that businesses now had a whole new avenue for driving traffic to their website – and Textlocal were quick to provide a service to help capitalise on that. Our short links tool enables users to include links to websites in their text messages and, more importantly, track them to effectively monitor traffic. Mobile emails never posed a real threat to SMS traffic, because open rates pale in comparison to a text message.

Mobile internet access threw up a new set of problems for businesses too – especially that most websites required significant development work before they rendered correctly on mobile devices. Our mobile web page creator offered an accessible solution to this for businesses that could not afford expensive development early on, and thanks to our existing linking tool these could be easily distributed to customers via an SMS.

As smartphone technology developed, and mobile phones essentially became pocket-sized computers, SMS faced its greatest challenge – how on earth would it compete with instant messaging or mobile apps? IM apps allowed you to include images and documents in your messages with no charge – but so can our innovative Attachments tool, which doesn’t even require that you have the files saved on your phone! What’s more, unlike instant messaging SMS works on every handset, doesn’t require that you download an app and allows you to send to as many people as you like in one go.

What about apps? Well we offer our own mobile app for iPhone and Android, so our users can manage their Messenger accounts wherever we are, but not every business can afford to develop an app – or has need of one. Apps require costly development, dedicated support and their own marketing strategy to be successful in a highly crowded market – but many of the benefits of an app are available through a mobile site and SMS. Customer engagement? Check. Notification delivery? Check. Multimedia? Check. Downloading an app requires a much higher level of commitment than subscribing to an SMS list, and text messages won’t be left unread or ignored like a push notification.

So, how can an SMS provider compete effectively in the mobile revolution? By continuous innovation that simply makes us better than the alternative. Along with the features already mentioned, we enable our users to capitalise on the open rates of SMS with tools like our mobile vouchers, tickets and loyalty cards, and our popular forms and surveys tool.

Our customers get the best of both worlds with advanced mobile features that bring the revolution to the text message. See how SMS can work for you and open your free account now.