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Push notifications vs SMS: Which one is better for your business?

Text messaging and push notifications have risen in prominence as methods for communicating to better engage with your customer base. As mobile-first experiences, they tend to grab attention through psychological and physiological proximity to our phones.

There’s no questioning that the mobile device is the most effective way to reach your audience instantaneously. However, your customers may have different preferences, so it’s important for marketers to choose the right communication platform that suits their needs.

Let’s look at business SMS as a communication platform vs. app push notifications.

Another app to download

Push notifications require an app. This can be an expensive undertaking and, in most cases, is not necessary. Once upon a time apps were a trendy, new, must-have tool but their proliferation has led to customers falling out of favor with them. Also, who wants another app on their phone?

SMS is the best alternative means of communication as it does not require an app to engage with your target audience in real-time. Customers have all the technology and equipment (just their phone) necessary to receive your messages and even reply back with two-way messaging.

You’ve lost connection

Push notifications are sent through an app to a user’s smartphone where a consistent internet connection is required. If a user is not connected to the internet at the time, they may not receive the communication at all.

SMS does not rely on Wi-Fi. Communications are sent to your customers through a mobile network, no internet connection is required. As we are almost always connected to cellular networks, it is far more likely for your communication to be received.

All phones included

Most apps today require customers to be on smartphones. While smartphone uptake is on the rise, you do risk the possibility of excluding certain customers who do not own them.

Since the inception of mobile phones, they have always been capable of sending and receiving text messages. By including an SMS channel, you are ensuring that all customers can receive communications and alerts from your business.

Vanishing notifications

Ever received a push notification, swiped to open your phone and it’s disappeared? This can be frustrating especially if it’s an interesting offer or update that could matter to the customer.

SMS notifications show a preview of the text itself. That means customers can open the message immediately and will always have an easily accessible record of the communication.


Don’t leave customers unAPPy

Start talking to them on a channel they know and love – SMS!

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Restrictive use cases

Customers have certain expectations when they receive push notifications on the apps they choose. This is why they are commonly restricted to alert users of updates or to remind them to engage. That’s it! Other kinds of messages feel like SPAM.

SMS allows you to drive continuous customer engagement with a variety of expanding use cases that are familiar to customers. For example, you can use text messaging to send marketing promotions, appointment reminders, survey and feedback incentives and business alerts just to name a few.

You have my permission

In the past, push notifications required no opt-in or consent to send a user communications as they’ve essentially opted in by downloading your app. These days, because of their misuse, most customers automatically switch the request to opt-in off.

From the beginning, text messaging like email has always been a permission-based means of communication. That means customers must clearly opt-in and subscribe in order to receive communications. Opt-outs are also offered on every marketing message meaning it is easy to unsubscribe with one click, rather than digging through an app or having to delete the whole thing.

Time and investment

As reiterated before, business apps need to be developed, but this can cost a fortune and updates are required on a regular basis.

Text messaging does not require the time and upfront investment required of an app, in fact, you can be sending text message campaigns within 30 minutes. SMS is also cost-effective, our plans start from less than $50 per month, and will not require additional software development for your business.


Don’t push (notification) customers away.

Pull them direct to you with text messaging!

Start a free trial today

Final thoughts, further reading

If you currently have an app, then it makes sense to use a push notification channel to communicate with customers. However, if you’re debating which path to follow – consider SMS above and beyond push notifications.

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