SMS vs Email and Messaging apps. How do they compare?

SMS vs Email and Messaging apps. How do they compare?

We often get questions about SMS versus email when it comes to marketing. It’s a great question—since they’re similar in many ways. Businesses can reach customers through different channels in the modern digital landscape from SMS to messaging apps. We’ll compare these channels based on their effectiveness, and how they can be used to complement an omnichannel strategy to optimise results.

To get a grasp on the email marketing landscape, we turned to Mailchimp’s Email Benchmarks (as of Feb 2024). If you have time, take a look at it and compare it with your own.

Next, we had a look at our own stats. Our platform sends millions of SMS messages per month, and we compiled the data for your reference.

CTR Open Rate Reach Time Opt-outs Complaints CPS
SMS 9.97% 98% 3 mins 0.02% 0.21% 1.6¢-7.9¢*
Email 2.62% 21.33% 47 mins 0.27% 0.37% 1¢-3¢*
*Prices vary from country to country. Email CPS based on MailChimp’s pay-per-use pricing structure.

If you take the statistics above at face value, it looks like you should stop email marketing and use SMS instead. But there are many other factors that you should consider—like your return on investment and your marketing goals.

Both SMS and email have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. You may find that SMS marketing is better for appointment reminders, discount offers, and 2FA messages—anything that requires a quick response. On the other hand, emails are better for product launches and visual and educational content that requires more detail.

While messaging apps are gaining more popularity, SMS marketing still has a wider reach. Whatsapp is the most popular messaging app, used by over 2bn people worldwide, which puts it ahead of Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, Apple messages and Telegram in terms of user numbers. In Australia, Facebook Messenger is more widely used 78% vs 40% of the population using Whatsapp. Adding your customers favourite messaging app as a communication channel for your business in addition to SMS, is easy with Zapier integrations.

We believe that email, SMS and messaging apps are complementary and that you should consider them as part of your marketing stack depending on your audience preferences, and the fact that many of our customers use our Email to SMS service adds to that narrative.

Additional Statistics

Here are some additional stats we found that you may find interesting:

  • It can take up to 90 minutes for someone to respond to an email; and 90 seconds to respond to a text message (HubSpot)
  • Only 12% of Facebook posts and 29% of Twitter posts get read (Digital Marketing Magazine)
  • 75% of people prefer offers sent via SMS instead of mobile app notifications or internet ads (Digital Marketing Magazine)
  • Humans have an 8-second attention span, 1-second less than a goldfish (Burst SMS)
  • SMS messages have a response rate of 45%; emails have 6% (Marketing Profs)
If you’re not already a customer, give our online SMS service a try with our 14-day trial. No obligations and no credit card required.