Mobile Messaging 101

OpenMarket – March 29, 2016

As Forbes writes, digital technology in all of its forms has transformed (or disrupted) the way we think, communicate and do business. Many people believe that mobile messaging, in particular, has had the greatest impact on customer engagement. Now more than ever we have more mobile devices, more subscribers and more information to share as a connected world. In fact, we’ve seen how mobile messaging has helped our enterprise customers globally drive new business, lower operational costs, build trust and foster long-term relationships with their customers.

Indeed there are different types of mobile messaging, and understanding them will help you select the right tool – or combination of tools – for your organization.


SMS is the work horse of mobile messaging and the most ubiquitous form of written   communication the world has ever known, according to Portio Research.  It works on every mobile phone with an audience of trained users.  SMS has a 98% read rate (20% for email) and 90% of messages are read within 3 minutes, so if your message is important or timely, then SMS is ideal.  SMS is regulated in the US so spam rates are very low and it’s generally a trusted form of communication. In addition, SMS is effective for reaching the broadest audience and as an entry point for deeper engagement, i.e. SMS linking to mobile web or to download a mobile app.  Launching an SMS service takes two to four weeks and it costs less than a penny to send a message.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are a messaging service for mobile apps. If your audience has a smartphone, downloads your app, and opts in to receive push notifications (opt-in rates are around 40%), then you can send them a message. For the segment of your target market that does the above, Push Notifications are a powerful tool because they can drive customers back into your mobile app and link directly to relevant sections of the app. Mobile apps and push notifications are an ideal combination for your most loyal and committed customers. Push notifications cost fractions of a cent to send, but they do require integration with your mobile application.


OTT (Over-the-Top) messaging services represent the newest kids on the block. These are services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, WeChat, and Line.  These messaging services are equal parts social network and mobile messaging.  Currently very few of these messaging players support use cases that allow businesses to directly message their customers. It’s worth keeping an eye on them because they have such a large number of younger users who send huge volumes of peer-to-peer messages today. If OTT services become viable solutions for businesses in the future, then we’ll want to re-evaluate how they might fit into the mobile messaging mix.

As complex as this new digital world is, selecting the right solution isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. You’ll need to consider your business goals and use cases to help make the best decision.  OpenMarket has been helping some of the world’s largest companies do this for over 15 years. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our mobile messaging solutions.

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