The effect of SMS communication

There are many advantages to using SMS as part of you marketing strategy but the point that keeps getting hammered in is the efficiency of SMS messages. You know the drill. A 99 percent opening rate and a click-through-rate that crushes every other medium with a whopping 45 percent. But do we have any real-life examples to show for? Has anyone researched the effect of SMS? The answer is yes. Before we go any further, I should warn you that the following text is quite geeky. So, if you´d like to get to the nerdy details of the efficiency of SMS, this one is for you!

SMS Can Make You Healthier!

No, hear me out! There is actually a lot of research done on the effects of SMS reminders on different health-related aspects. A research article published in Journal of Clinical Case Studies researched the effect of SMS reminders on attendance rates. They focused specifically on the efficiency related to healthcare appointments. They concluded that SMS reminders significantly improve attendance rates, with SMS reminders being “a cheap and effective method of improving patient attendance rates.” (Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2 & Tang, 2022)

Another study published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics looked at the effect of SMS reminders. They focused on the adherence to a healthy diet, medication, and cessation of smoking among adult patients with cardiovascular diseases. They too concluded with SMS being highly effective in improving adherence to a healthy diet and medication. “SMS is easy and accessible way to communicate with the patients, make intervention personal and interactive, and can reach a large number of patients.” (Akhu-Zaheya & Shiyab, 2017).

This is not the only study concluding with SMS being highly efficient in enhancing healthy behavior. A meta-analysis published in 2015 found SMS to be a robust medium regardless of population characteristics and targeted healthy behavior. “SMS messaging is a simple, cost-effective intervention that can be automated and can reach any mobile phone owner. While the effect size is small, potential health benefits are well worth achieving." (Orr & King, 2015).

What About the Effects of SMS marketing?

A research paper published in The Business and Management Review Vol. 10, looked at the impact of SMS marketing on consumer behavior. The author looked at four main elements and how each element influences the overall customer perception of the brand. The four elements are entertainment, informativeness, irritation and credibility. Their study concludes that SMS marketing has a strong and positive impact on customer behavior as long as the message is perceived as entertaining. “(...) participant perceive positively when they receive an entertaining text from company." (Ahmed, 2018).

A paper published in Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing Vol. 13 focused on the response rates and branding effects of text message advertising. Their research too showcased the importance of the text message creativity and contents. Of all the campaigns they included in their research, the campaigns containing either good offers or riddles or jokes came out on top. This shows the effect emotions have on recipients in an SMS marketing campaign.

Numbers don´t lie

In the same paper, Rettie et al. found out that 89 percent of the messages were read, and 5 percent of the them were forwarded to friends. They also noted the inclusion of a Call-to-Action as being a driving force for eliciting a response. “For most of the campaigns (20 out of 26), respondents followed the specified call to action, with the most frequent response following the message directions” (Rettie et al., 2005).

When it comes to response rates, text message advertising came out on top with response rates averaging 31 percent. Compared to other mediums like e-mail marketing, text message advertising was the most favorable. “This compares very favorably both with direct mail, with reported response rates between 1 percent and 5 percent, and permission-based e-mail marketing, with reported response rates from 1 percent to 8 percent." (Rettie et al., 2005).

They also looked at the correlation between response and purchase intention in regards of text message advertising:

Relationship between response and purchase intention

The relationship between response and action is highly linked to the perceived relevance of the message. The people that found the campaign more relevant were significantly more likely to take action. Those who didn´t take any action categorized the campaigns as not relevant at all. This is a great example of why you should personalize your campaigns and tailor them to each customer segment. This helps you make sure that the message is as relevant as possible.

So, there you have it!

Now you have a full-blown article backed by (what I hope is) peer-reviewed research telling you about the efficiency of SMS messages. If this doesn´t convince you to give SMS marketing a shot, I don´t know what will! If you decide to try it out for yourself and reap the benefits, we´ll gladly help you on the way.