What is a push notification?
A push notification is a message that is sent to a user's mobile device through an app or website without the user actively requesting it. These messages can appear as a banner, alert, or badge on the user's screen, and are typically used to notify them of new content, events, updates, or any other relevant information. Both phone and web push notifications are powerful tools for businesses to engage with their customers in real-time and keep them in the loop.
What is an SMS text message?
An SMS message (short message service message), also known as an SMS notification or text message, is a message that is sent from one mobile device to another. It is a simple and widely used form of communication that allows users to send short, text-based messages of up to 160 characters to anyone with a mobile phone number. Text messages are typically sent and received through the user's mobile network and do not require an internet connection. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as personal messaging, marketing, and customer communication.
7 key differences between push notifications and SMS messages
Push notifications and text messages are both popular communication methods used by businesses to engage with customers. However, there are several key differences between the two that can impact their effectiveness. In this next section, we'll explore seven of these differences, helping you choose the best option for your business needs.
1. Opting in
Both push notifications and SMS marketing campaigns require users to opt-in to receiving messages on their phone.
With push notifications, the user must download the app and agree to receive notifications and advertisements from the app.
SMS text messages, on the other hand, require written user consent for opt-in. The customer must voluntarily text the SMS number and respond with a message indicating their consent, such as "yes," "agree," "consent," or any other word that clearly states their permission to receive messages. This opt-in process is a crucial aspect of SMS marketing and is required by FCC regulations to ensure that customers are not receiving unwanted or unsolicited messages.
2. Delivery speed
Push notifications are generally faster than SMS messages in terms of delivery speed. When a push notification is sent, it is delivered almost instantly to the user's mobile device, regardless of whether the user is actively using the app or not. In contrast, SMS messages are sent through the user's mobile network and can be affected by network traffic and other factors, resulting in potential delays in delivery.
However, while push notifications are faster in delivery, they rely on an internet connection and may not be delivered if the user's device is not connected to the internet. SMS messages, on the other hand, do not require an internet connection and can be delivered even when the user's device is not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data.
3. Message length
Both push notifications and SMS messages have character limits, but the limit is higher for push notifications. Android push notifications have a title character limit of 65 and a description limit of 240, while iOS push notifications have a combined limit of 178 characters. In contrast, no matter the platform, you can only send 160 characters with text messages.
4. Additional content
While text messages offer the option to use the MMS (multimedia messaging service) format, allowing businesses to attach website links, images, and other multimedia content to their messages, push notifications are limited to a preview image or graphic only. However, a well-designed graphic in your push message can still effectively entice users to further explore your offering within the app.
Users want to have control over how they receive notifications on their mobile phones for a variety of reasons, whether it's to minimize distractions or save battery life. Push notifications offer more flexibility in terms of preferences, allowing users to customize their settings, while SMS messages only have an on/off option. Furthermore, push notifications enable users to choose what they see when the notification arrives, whereas text alerts typically display only the first five to ten words.
6. Open rates
SMS messages have an impressive open rate of 98%, with about 90% of messages read within three minutes of receipt. They are a very reliable way to help you reach your marketing targets. In contrast, push notifications have a lower open rate of 20%. While users are more likely to swipe away a notification for later reading, they are less likely to ignore a text message.
Push notifications have an initial cost associated with developing an app to send them, but are otherwise free to send. On the other hand, text message marketing typically incurs a cost per message sent, or through a bulk text messaging package with a set price for sending a certain number of messages. However, businesses can often take advantage of discounts when sending a large number of SMS notifications, which can help reduce the overall cost of SMS marketing efforts.
When to send push notifications