The future of mobile messaging with RCS

The next evolution of digital messaging is almost here…

Billed as SMS 2.0, RCS (Rich Communication Services) is set to become the new native messaging platform across providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The excitement around RCS has been building for well over a year now, and it’s finally reaching its crescendo.

As RCS becomes more established, this trend is only set to gain more traction with a recently released report predicting that ‘the RCS market is expected to be worth £38.5 billion by 2023’. In just 4 short years the RCS market will have an unrivalled reach and be worth billions but what does that mean for your business?

What’s different with RCS?

This time last year Vodafone was one of the only MNO offering RCS, and the channel was only available on Android devices. As Vodafone was one of the few MNO’s to offer the service, businesses had a limited pool of reach despite the far superior features of the channel.

So, what’s changed? At Mobile World Congress 2019, all UK networks announced they would launch RCS, meaning the UK will be the first country with all MNO RCS enabled. Additionally, Google is now leading the charge for RCS, putting real drive behind the wider spread launch of the channel, supported by the mass release of 5G in the years to come. The leaders of Android OS are also working towards improving the commercial viability of the channel while also addressing some of the drawbacks of RCS.

The potential of RCS

RCS combines the reach of native mobile messaging with rich, interactive features such as image carousels and the ability to complete a purchase without leaving the messaging window. The channel also has the benefit of being able to share both promotional and marketing messages directly with customers.

This new messaging channel holds excellent potential when it comes to increasing customer interaction. One of our customers, Pizza Hut Delivery in the UK, trialled a single campaign through the channel to determine the effect of RCS messages compared to SMS on engagement and purchases.

With the help of our campaign management team, they identified two sets of opted-in customers. One who met the criteria for receiving RCS and another for SMS. The team supported Pizza Hut Delivery UK in designing a carousel-based journey to be sent to their selected RCS database. A simpler SMS content-based message was also created by the team to send to a separate list of customers on the same day.

Pizza Hut Delivery UK shared the details of their latest product offer across both channels. The ‘Get your favourites for £5’ campaign launched across RCS with visual rich media and an SMS with embedded links.

The results?

The results were incredibly encouraging ahead of the broader launch of the channel. Purchases through RCS more than double that of those placed as a result of the SMS message. RCS also outperformed SMS for click-through rates and revenue generated.

RCS is already proving itself as a more engaging channel for the mobile-first market. As a result, businesses have a real opportunity to connect with their customers as well as further improving revenue and retention.

Textlocal and IMImobile have been involved in an early adopter programme to deliver and shape the usage of RCS and additional new channels including WhatsApp and Apple Business Chat. If you would like to explore the opportunities of RCS and broader mobile messaging for your business get in touch with the team today, or download our RCS business messaging guide for further insight.

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