Mobile messaging existed even before smartphones entered our lives. At first, it was a personal thing – people exchanged SMS messages in personal communication. The very first SMS message was sent in 1992. By 2002, the number of SMS sent all over the world reached 250 billion. In 2003, with the appearance of SMS short codes, SMS marketing was born. Nike’s Time Square design was among the first big SMS marketing campaigns.

In 2007, the iPhone was introduced. With the launch of the App Store in 2008, the first apps started appearing. Brands began communicating with consumers not only via SMS but also via their own apps with the help of push notifications and in-app messaging. 

In this article, we are going to take a look at the available types of mobile messaging and give some tips on how to optimize them for your app.

Benefits of Mobile Messaging

The key benefits of mobile messaging are as follows:

  • Speed. A mobile message reaches its recipient in seconds.
  • Communication. A brand can use mobile messaging to talk to its customers as to friends, thus increasing user engagement.
  • Ease of use. It is quite easy to create and set up a series of mobile messages, no matter their purpose – a marketing campaign or just the delivery of important updates to users.  

Types of Mobile Messages

We have briefly discussed the main types of mobile messages at the beginning of the article. Now let’s take a closer look at each of them.

SMS/MMS Messages

SMS messages still work. Moreover, they are one of the most common and effective ways to promote products. It is possible to target SMS messages to audiences whose mobile devices do not have access to the Internet. 

SMS (short message service) marketing relies on the distribution of short text messages at the initiative of the consumer (“pull” marketing) or at the initiative of the advertiser company (“push” marketing). In the first option, a consumer interested in advertising in the media is the first to send a message to a short phone number and receives an advertising message in response. When the initiative to send SMS messages belongs to the advertiser, information is sent to the database of customer phone numbers.

SMS “mailings” are divided into transactional, service, and advertising. The first two types are a reaction to some actions that the user performs. The third type is sent out at the initiative of the advertiser.

  • Transactional messages are, for example, notifications from banks and payment systems about the movement of the subscriber’s funds (account replenishment, debiting, balance, etc.).
  • Service SMS are messages notifying the user about any change after they perform an activity. For example, changing the status of an order in an online store (received, sent, delivered, etc.), accrual or write-off of bonus points, taxi delivery, changes in booking, etc. Service SMS can be of a warning nature, for example, reminders about an appointment with a doctor or the upcoming expiration of the insurance policy.
  • Advertising messages are sent at the initiative of the advertiser in order to promote any product or service. For example, information about discounts and special offers, sales, or new products.

It is important not to confuse promotional SMS with spam. Law obliges the organizers of SMS mailings to first obtain the consent of subscribers to receive mailings, uniquely identify the subscriber, and allow them to unsubscribe from mailings.

The use of MMS (multimedia messaging service) marketing allows you to increase the effectiveness of the message sent. The client not only sees the text component, but also hears the soundtrack, watches the video, and views images. 

However, MMS messages have disadvantages. Part of the target audience does not connect to the corresponding service of the mobile operator or their mobile device does not support its connection. Often, fraudulent actions are performed through MMS mailings, which affects the wary attitude of recipients towards such messages. All of this reduces the efficiency of this method.

Mobile Pushes

A mobile push is a special notification on the smartphone display that is shown to users who have installed a certain app. A push can be displayed when a person is not using the app. Most often it contains a text message, an image, and buttons.

Push notifications have the following benefits:

  • Always near the user. Studies claim that on average a person looks at the screen of a smartphone 96 times a day, so they are very likely to notice a message.
  • High readability. A mobile push pops up even on a gadget with a locked display. In this case, the user sees the text of the message immediately. They do not need to go anywhere and open anything.
  • Cost-efficiency. The price of sending a mobile push is $0. 

Read more: What are Push Notifications and How Do They Work

In-App Messages

Unlike push notifications, in-app messages are sent from inside the app, so the user has to open the app to read them. Even though this type of message requires additional actions from the user, they are still efficient and have advantages. While mobile pushes are aimed at users who are losing interest in the app, in-app messaging is helpful for the retention of those who are actively using the app. The pros of in-app messages are:

  • Being a part of the user experience. In-app messages can reach the entire audience of the app and do not require opt-in.
  • Easy to create. No matter the format, in-app messages are an easy way to communicate key news without the need to update the code.
  • High targeting. In-app messages provide a high level of personalization. As opposed to push notifications, they can lead the user to any part of the app with the help of deep linking technology.

How to Optimize Mobile Messaging for Your App? 4 Helpful Tips

We’ve prepared some useful tips to help you get the most out of mobile messaging for your app or game.

Tip 1. Determine what helps your users to make a purchase decision 

Endlessly spamming promotions and special offers that are out of context with what the user is doing in the app is a bad tactic. The key purpose of mobile messaging is the same as that of email newsletters – to deliver messages personally. But mobile messages have two features that give you more options when promoting: 

  • You can target those who have not left an email address, which means reaching a wider audience. 
  • You can motivate people to take a certain intermediate action that will push them to purchase. 

Tip 2. Analyze your target audience and find a balance in the frequency of sending messages 

If notifications are too frequent, users will get tired of them and unsubscribe. And if they are too rare, they will forget about the brand and start mistaking notifications for spam. It’s important to determine the boundary after which the “too much” begins. 

Send the notifications at the right time. Set up an optimal time interval for sending the messages, e.g. once a day or once a week, depending on your product and its target audience.

If the target audience is prone to impulsive purchases, you can remind the users about yourself once every 1-2 days. But if we are talking about a complex B2B product aimed at business owners, it is worth testing the weekly SMS, push, or in-app messaging campaigns.

Tip 3. Let users choose which notifications they want to receive

This tip is valid for SMS and push notifications: legislation requires that the user opts in for receiving the messages. Additionally, during the opt-in, the user can choose what kind of information they want to receive. This method is especially useful for large online stores with dozens of different categories of goods and thousands of products. As a result, you will increase audience loyalty — people like to choose and feel the significance of their choice. Moreover, you can set up advertising more efficiently, understanding which audience to show which products to in the future.

Tip 4. Use all available elements in messages 

Push notifications can consist not only of a title and description. It’s also possible to supplement them with images and buttons. In-app messages give more opportunities for adding various elements, including deep links. SMS messages are limited by text and links.

Images attract the attention of users and at the same time tell them more about the product or promotions. Buttons and links make it easier for the user to interact with the product. 

Over to You

Mobile messaging includes SMS, push notifications, and in-app messages. You can efficiently use all these types of messages in mobile marketing. 

  • SMS technology is the ancestor of modern mobile messaging, but it still works, reaching out even to those who do not have a smartphone and access to the Internet. 
  • Push notifications are fast and effective because they do not require many actions from the user. It is better to target mobile pushes at inactive users that you would like to re-engage with the app.
  • In-app messages are sent from inside the app. They have more formatting options and are aimed at the retention of active app users.

If you combine all three types of mobile messaging, you can reach more audiences, re-engage existing users, and retain the active users of your app. Good luck!