There’s something about SMS that makes it different to other forms of instant messaging. Perhaps it’s the simplicity. Perhaps it’s that there’s no need to download anything – SMS is a native app on all smartphones. Perhaps it’s because a phone number is seen as a more private and secure way to communicate than email or social profiles. Most likely it’s a combination of all the above.
But while the simplicity of traditional text messaging is one of its strengths, it’s also its greatest limitation. Which poses the question: what if we could keep all the great things about SMS, while adding features and functionality to bring it into the modern world?
Enter rich communication services (RCS) messaging.
What is RCS messaging?
RCS is a messaging protocol developed for Android that represents the future of SMS and MMS. It’s essentially Android’s response to iMessage, which has long been the go-to messaging application for iPhone users.
RCS messaging is perhaps best compared to the most popular instant messaging service in the world: WhatsApp. RCS is set to offer all the features of WhatsApp, including media sharing capabilities (including documents and other file formats) and live-location sharing, as well as a few more, such as in-app payments.
The goal of RCS is to eventually replace SMS and MMS as the standard messaging application, which is an exciting prospect for any business looking for effective marketing opportunities.
The benefits of RCS business messaging
Traditional SMS is somewhat limited in terms of the media that can be shared – a badly compressed picture, a plain text link. It’s quite a static channel, which means a marketing team can have real difficulty in leveraging creative ideas.
RCS business messaging has the potential to change things dramatically. With a wealth of deep and rich media capabilities, companies can dream up and execute all manner of marketing strategies: sharing GIFs, images, videos, and links to surveys and polls. RCS creates far more marketing leverage while retaining all that makes SMS such an effective tool.
With richer communication comes greater engagement. Depth and variety serve to draw the audience in, who can then engage by replying with rich media themselves, chatting with a human or bot, or following a link to a webpage. This means that RCS isn’t just better for businesses, it’s better for customers too. From engaging with the brands they love through polls, to being offered real-time promotions, RCS is far more likely to lead to action than static SMS.
What’s more, RCS business messaging offers deep analytics, especially when compared to the limited feedback that is a hallmark of SMS campaigns. This allows brands to cater their campaigns and content to specific audiences, ensuring engagement only increases into the future.
This isn’t to say that RCS will instantly and completely replace SMS. There will be a period of transition, and it’s possible for both channels to work together. There are many users around the world who do not have access to smartphones, and brands can continue to utilize minimalist SMS ads to that audience, while offering RCS messaging to those who have access to the internet.
How Soprano helps businesses leverage the benefits of RCS messaging
Over the years we at Soprano have established ourselves as a trusted SMS platform, and are now working to introduce RCS messaging as it begins to be rolled out. We aim to allow our customer base to leverage RCS messaging in the same way as they do SMS, by retaining the same integrity within the MEMS Platform, but upscaling it with the new and improved rich media capabilities.
Retaining all that makes SMS a great communication channel, but adding a wealth of features and functionality into the mix – it’s an exciting prospect, and one that we at Soprano are looking forward to helping our customers capitalize on.