SMS notification received on a smartphone

For every company, it is an ongoing struggle to choose the best method(s) for reaching out to your target audience. SMS notifications vs. push notifications is one common comparison being made, and discussing the pros and cons of these two notification types will be the focus of this piece. 

With an estimated 275.66 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone, both SMS notifications and push notifications seem like obvious ways to engage with your audience. But when it comes to effectiveness, which of these two methods is going to work best for you? Let’s look at some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of SMS notifications vs. push notifications to help you decide which you should be using.       

Using SMS Notifications vs. Push Notifications

With 95 percent of text messages being read within three minutes of being delivered, SMS notifications (text messages) are an excellent way to reliably reach your subscribers. Text messaging is a default feature in even the most basic mobile phones and does not require an internet connection to send or receive messages. Those two facts alone open up a huge amount of people that can be reached by text, vs. other means that may require more sophisticated devices and/or internet connections. 

This accessibility is clearly reflected in recent SMS marketing statistics which show that around 98% of total text messages are read, compared to only 20% of emails. And, texts have an average click-through rate (CTR) of 9.18% vs. only about 4% for emails. 

These robust numbers prove the potential of SMS notifications for reliably reaching out to future and existing customers. Here are a few other major advantages of SMS notifications: 

Benefits of SMS Notifications

  • There is no need for recipients to download any particular application for receiving SMS notifications.
  • SMS notifications facilitate two-way communication and allow the user to reply to your messages and get responses in real-time.
  • Once a recipient receives an SMS notification, the text message remains stored on the user’s device and can be read again until it is manually deleted from the inbox.   

With such clear benefits for SMS notifications, it may not be surprising that around 50% of U.S. consumers make direct purchases after receiving text messages from businesses that contain discount coupons or QR codes. 

Despite the clear and numerous advantages, SMS notifications do have their downsides too.  

Drawbacks of SMS Notifications

  • Legally, businesses need opt-in consent from recipients before sending them marketing messages via texts. 
  • SMS notifications do not provide any direct interface to view products during mobile shopping. Users need to click on the hyperlinks embedded in the messages to take them to the respective web pages. In other words, there is no real app interface.
  • Text messages are usually restricted to 160 characters, including spaces, leaving marketers with limited opportunity to describe their products or services. However, as we will discuss later, some innovative text marketing solutions offer up to 240 characters.     

In contrast, push notifications are the popup messages that smartphone users can receive once they download your business’s app. These notifications can include offers, greetings, or other account notices. Since push notifications do not interrupt a user’s current activity on the smartphone, some consider these notifications to be less intrusive than SMS notifications. Let’s see how push notifications might support your strategy for audience engagement: 

Benefits of Push Notifications

  • A user is already consenting to receive push notifications upon downloading the app. So, marketers need not worry about building opt-in subscribers lists for sending notifications over the app. However, you will typically need to advertise to get users to download your app. 
  • Around 46 percent of mobile device owners in the U.S. reported using mobile retail apps for shopping activities in December 2019. Push notifications are instrumental in influencing purchasing decisions for many smartphone users.   
  • The appearance of push notifications is dependent on the features of browsers and devices. Browsers such as Chrome and Firefox support unlimited character length for push notifications on Android devices. For iOS devices, app push notifications are limited to 4 lines and 178 characters that can include hyperlinks as well as rich media. 

Though push notifications are known for their ability to drive up app engagement by reminding users about special offers, discounts, etc., there are clear drawbacks as well. 

Drawbacks of Push Notifications       

  • Push notifications are solely dependent on app installation by users and offer only one-way communication—from business to audience. Additionally, users may need to manually enable or adjust these notifications depending on the device they are using. 
  • When unread app notifications appearing as badge counts are clicked upon and read, that badge counter is removed, unlike text messages that remain in the inbox until deleted.    
  • An increased volume of push notifications—6 to 10 notifications a week—can cause app fatigue, prompting users to stop using an app or worse, uninstall the app altogether from their devices.   

Choosing A Good SMS Notification Platform

When it comes to SMS notifications vs. push notifications, they both have their strengths and weaknesses. However, one of the most significant factors determining the success of SMS notifications, or a whole text marketing campaign, is the quality and feature set of the SMS marketing platform you use. 

The right platform can help you create engaging text messages with an increased character limit of up to 240 characters—above the character limit of many push notifications. The auto-response feature of an advanced SMS delivery platform lets you send real-time personalized responses to your subscribers, something that is difficult to accomplish through push notifications. With additional features, including unlimited keywords to target different demographics and a full audit trail to keep a track of all the messages sent to subscribers, you can further strengthen your text marketing strategy. 

An innovative, cost-effective, and user-friendly SMS delivery platform ensures that your audience receives quality text messages with information that is valuable to them. And most importantly, it ensures that this process is as simple as possible for you.      

With NorthText, you can create affordable and appealing text messages for your audience with unlimited keywords and an increased character limit over other services. For more information, contact us by phone or text at (312) 869-9070.