Text messaging has been a powerful tool for communication for businesses much before Whatsapp and its likes came into being. The number of feature phones still outnumber smartphones, making SMS (short message service) the preferred communication tool for businesses to engage with their customers. Over the last couple of decades, SMS has been the key driver and an efficient channel for customer engagement for brands. Be it an eCommerce brand sending you an order confirmation message, a bank confirming your cash transaction, or a travel business sharing your ticket, SMS has been a ubiquitous channel of communication for brands.
According to Ericsson, in 2019, there were 7.9 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. The stats only point towards a prospect pool which is enabled to receive SMS and may or may not be using internet connectivity. SMS definitely would be a marketers delight, look at these stats:
With such staggering open rates and success why do you need to upgrade from SMS?
Technology advancement has heralded the rise in changing customer expectations. The new customers, which comprises millennials, prefer to interact with brands in totally different ways. They are spoilt for choice and used to communication and targeting that’s tailor-made for them. These are the customers who desire interactivity and higher levels of engagement, personalization, and services from their most loved brands. This is where SMS as a medium falters because of certain inherent limitations with its technology.
However, today SMS is not the only messaging service that’s popular among brands. Texting has become so popular today that often it’s the preferred mode of communication vis-a-vis a call. It’s not surprising that messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with over 1.5 billion users each, compete in a crowded market with other services namely iMessage, WeChat, Slack, Skype, Viber, Android Messages, and many others. The experience provided to customers using these messaging apps is fundamentally built on the functionalities of SMS such as instant messaging with emojis, multimedia file sharing, and group chats for coherent engagement.
The enormous popularity of messaging apps is perfect for any brand that is looking to engage with its customers in increasingly adherent ways. With more apps in the market, the instant messaging landscape is fragmented. In order to support customers across a crowded messaging ecosystem, developers constantly tussle with variations in APIs, and capabilities. Keeping up has proven to be difficult, time-consuming, and — most important — costly. This is where RCS comes into the picture.
What is RCS Messaging?
What are the Features of RCS Messaging?
What are the benefits of RCS Messaging?
The Way Forward
Rich Communication Services or RCS is hailed as the next generation of SMS that offers a rich and personalized experience that aims to drive increased customer engagement.
Rich features like high-resolution photo and video sharing, mapping directions, location sharing, typing indicators, the ability to add and remove members to group chats, and so much more, are delivered to a device’s default messaging app irrespective of the network the user is on.
Brands have yearned for a standalone messaging service like iMessage for their Android users. With RCS messaging, brands can deliver a seamless experience using the power of personal and interactive messaging along with some of the key features of Apple’s iMessage which includes read receipts, ability to send rich media and many more.
Apart from the iMessage features, brands can experience some more exciting features that the Apple messaging platform doesn’t provide:
With great features come great benefits. RCS messaging poses a huge opportunity for you to reach out to customers in a more individualized and interactive way.
According to the latest IDC figures, Android had an 85% market share of the 1.5 billion new smartphones shipped in 2018. Crucially, Android OEMs like Samsung, LG, and Huawei support RCS, so via the usual two-year renewal cycle of smartphones, RCS will grow significantly as a native function of nearly all new Android devices – with an installed user base of approximately five billion globally. A prediction by research analysts, Mobilesquared says a total of 1.01 billion people will use RCS messaging across 168 mobile operators around the world by the end of 2019. They estimate that this number will grow to 3.23bn across 486 mobile operators by the end of 2023.
With such a growing ecosystem of Google, mobile network operators, OEMs, and dozens of messaging companies, RCS will turn mainstream and be available for everyone. This also draws a huge potential for RCS to complement channels that are already widely used such as WhatsApp business API and messenger.
Watch this space for more news and updates on RCS messaging.
Insider has a novel Push Amplification solution that acts as a backup to standard notification gateways and delivers notifications directly to a user’s phone when standard delivery fails.
With 12+ years of experience in consulting, building, and marketing technology products for clients across industries, Srikant is a product leader, storyteller, data fanatic, and UX/usability enthusiast. He often appears as a speaker on panels about personalization and optimization and has a passion for building simple solutions to complex problems, and is currently pursuing that at Insider.