Text Messaging Statistics 2020: Results & Facts about the Newest Marketing Channel
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Whenever there’s an innovation like SMS marketing, businesses respond in one of two ways: They either embrace innovation…or they lag behind.
When it comes to SMS marketing, many businesses have yet to catch on. The statistics show there’s a blaring disparity present: customers prefer text message marketing, yet less than half of businesses have adopted it as part of their marketing strategy to date.
Why the lag? Well, for one: Businesses may not know what they’re missing. Only 39% of businesses use text messaging to communicate with consumers at present.
This raises some questions:
- Is text messaging more effective than “traditional” methods of marketing, like email?
- Do the response rates for text messaging campaigns beat other marketing channels?
- How can text messaging help brands connect with customers at the right moment?
To answer these questions, we decided to look to the latest statistics. Here’s what we found.
General Business and Text Messaging Statistics
Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers…these days, it doesn’t matter which group you belong to. We all love our phones. It’s no surprise that shoppers within a wide range of demographics are tuned into texting as a medium.
Here are the statistics about general text messaging usage:
- 39% of businesses are using text messaging, in some form, to communicate with customers. The number is higher among marketers who recognize the power in SMS marketing: 53% of marketers have adopted SMS messages in their efforts.
- In the US, over 77% of the entire population owns a smartphone. The number is nearly the same when you count how many people already receive text messages from businesses: about 76%.
- How often do people check their phones? About half of consumers check it at least five times per hour. That includes checking the phone within three minutes of waking up in the morning. What’s more, the rates of phone-checking are only climbing, according to a 2019 report.
- 84% of consumers have received texts from either a business or an organization. Of these messages, the most common are appointment reminders (86%) and coupons/discounts (67%).
Text Messaging Statistics in Marketing and Business
Here’s where a disparity lies: Consumers are open to more marketing messages from businesses, yet the statistics show that only a handful of businesses are utilizing SMS to its full potential.
- The disparity between supply and demand is often stark. According to SmallBizTrends, 54% of consumers want text messages from marketers. But only about 11% of total businesses are sending them out. Although the majority of people across multiple age groups want text messages, the numbers are even higher for those under 44. 75% of that age group wants text messages from businesses they enjoy.
- At a rate of three times, businesses are more likely to rely on email for customer communication. But what about open rates? Consumers are 4.5x as likely to respond to texts.
- A 2019 survey found that native text messaging apps are the most popular among phone users. Usage on these apps was three times as likely as on Facebook Messenger, six times over WhatsApp, and 11 times over Instagram.
- Marketers see more opportunities for text messaging in areas like customer support. This could replace phone calls as the preference. In fact, 68% of companies expect that mobile messaging will play a major role in consumer marketing soon.
- In the United States, 91% of us have mobile devices somewhere nearby, every hour of the day. About a third of us check our mobile phones within a few minutes of waking up.
Customer Attitudes on Texting as a Marketing Medium
Perhaps the most surprising thing the statistics tell us is that customers prefer texting as a marketing medium. They enjoy using texting as their go-to mobile marketing and communication channel. That’s one reason customer attitudes on texting are so favorable to SMS marketers.
- 54% of survey respondents admitted to frustrations when they couldn’t connect with a business through mobile phone texting. This sends customers to less-preferred forms of communication, including email marketing and phone calls.
- Customer attitudes go beyond survey respondents. Consumers are 134% more likely to respond to texts than emails. What’s more, 74% of smartphone users leave zero text messages unread.
- Consumers like the directness of a marketing channel like texting. 69% of them prefer to contact businesses via text.
- 83% of consumers are happy receiving appointment reminders in their text inbox. However, only 20% of businesses use texting for these specific business purposes.
- When customers are faced with appointment reminders and scheduling confirmations, the majority would rather do it through text than through phone calls, at a rate of 67%.
- Customers also like the ability to opt out. 18% prefer an easy way to opt out and rate it as the most important aspect of engaging with SMS for business purposes.
The Advantages of Text Message Marketing
Engagement in text message marketing is high, which is an instant advantage for any company looking for better ways to increase their customer engagement rates.
- The average person reads almost all of their texts, with a nearly 100% “read” rate.
- When a customer can’t text a business, 54% report significant frustration.
- One-half of consumers are happy to opt into an SMS loyalty program. However, they expect to receive flash sales, coupons, and business deals via text.
- Business coupons delivered via SMS are about 10 times as likely to be redeemed as other coupon types.
- These days, text message marketing has a significant impact on purchasing decisions. 79% of smartphone users make shopping decisions based on SMS or mobile device services related to the purchase.
Businesses should also seek their own SMS marketing statistics. For example, HydroJug ran an A/B test and found that SMS marketing was just as effective or more effective than MMS (multimedia message services). The click-through rate (CTR) for an A/B test of SMS marketing found that text messages without multimedia saw higher conversion rates.
Cost-effectiveness is also a concern. SMS is only 1/3rd of the cost of MMS in many cases, even when generating more customer engagement than MMS campaigns.
Leverage the Stats & Capitalize on Text Message Marketing
The statistics point to one conclusion: There are still plenty of opportunities when it comes to SMS marketing campaigns. Customers want to text these days. They want genuine interactions with companies. And despite the demand, not every business is taking advantage just yet.
To find more insights into SMS marketing and the future of texts in marketing, have a look at our Benchmark Report. There you’ll glean key insights from today’s SMS marketing and SMS text message statistics. You’ll also spot where the opportunities lie to forge genuine connections with customers in 2021 and beyond.
Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer for ecommerce companies.