Research: RCS Business Messaging is going to be big

OpenMarket – March 22, 2018

RCS is the next big thing in customer comms. Read the latest report from OpenMarket and the GSMA to see why consumers are so excited by it.

What’s RCS? Imagine text messaging with superpowers. But what does that actually mean for brands, and consumers? We conducted a study with the GSMA to find out.

Like most of the world’s population, you probably use text messaging. Of course you do. It’s a great, easy way to reach people, instantly, no matter where they are in the world.

But there are lots of things you can’t simply do by text. And that’s why we also use emails, websites and mobile apps. To do all the things we want to do, we’ve had to become multi-channel animals.

The thing is, consumers don’t like jumping from one app to another every time they want to do something.

Rich communications services (RCS) is a new way to communicate that’s built to fix that. It’s like SMS, but more interactive and packed full of useful features for both brands and consumers.

For a marketer or CX specialist, RCS enables you to interact with customers in real-time, using interactive messages which can include everything from sound clips to high-res images.

It’s kind of like a mini-mobile app that’s already built into almost every smartphone on the planet. So there’s nothing to download, every RCS message lands in your SMS inbox just as your accustomed to today

So when you consider that 98% of text messages are read – and 90% of those are read within three minutes  – RCS has the potential to become a powerful CX tool.


The big question – what do consumers actually think of it?

We conducted research with the GSMA to find out what real people think about RCS. Put simply, they’re excited.

80% find RCS appealing, and 74% say it would make them more likely to communicate with a brand.

There are five major reasons why consumers like RCS so much:

  • Simplicity – it’s self-contained and already native to most smart phones
  • Richer comms – it facilitates sound, high-res images, two-way comms and more
  • Personalized experience – messages are unique to the customer
  • Similarity to SMS – it works just like texting and doesn’t require 4G
  • Security and reliability – client-to-server encryption minimizes the risk of message hacking


Imagine buying plane tickets for example. On completion, you might receive an RCS message containing a calendar entry (which can automatically updates your diary), and even a map of the plane so you can choose your seat beforehand.

What’s more, when you’re at the airport, you simply open up the message, and scan the QR code ticket to board.

Like a well-designed app, it’s simple, easy, and everything’s in one place. But unlike dealing with multiple apps and messaging tools, you get everything in your SMS inbox.

Yes. It’s that powerful.

500% increase in 12 months

In early 2018, there were 159 million active users of RCS around the world, served by 50 major carriers. By the same period in 2019, the GSMA estimates that this will rise to over 1 billion users on 200 carriers – that’s more than a 500% increase in one year.

That’s impressive growth whichever way you look at it, and it’s all down to the channel’s raw abilities and future potential.

And when you consider the amount of cash brands need to develop and push an equivalent app, it’s little wonder waves of brands are turning their focus to RCS.


What opportunities can it open?

Unlike SMS and apps, RCS isn’t confined to either cellular or Wi-Fi, it works on both. This is good news for mobile operators who find themselves increasingly competing on a model of providing more features, for less revenue.

It enables brands to capture engagement data in a much more granular way similar to a mobile app or website, making it much easier to track engagements, understand outcomes and optimize customer journeys.

This level of data granularity for messaging and campaigns means that brands can tailor their messaging specifically to their customers. It will allow you to create empathetic interactions – timely and thoughtful communications that help customers with what they need when they need it.

RCS is set to offer the familiarity of SMS, with the breadth of interactive tools that help capture customer’s imaginations.

Interestingly, aggregators – brands that bring together several sources of related content – are also set to benefit from RCS. Because of the broad range of features the channel offers over SMS, the scope for creating innovative and compelling customer experiences is simply unparalleled.


RCS: the future of business messaging

 Countless brands worldwide are already using RCS. But like any well-considered business case, you need the hard facts.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at the GSMA to bring you the RCS Business Messaging Research Study. Read it for in-depth research into current RCS performance, consumer opinion, and what the future holds for the channel.

(And if you’d like to learn more about how RCS can help your organization, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.)

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