In 2011 predictions for the end of SMS text messaging were the order of the day due to the phenomenal app’s growth in the mobile marketplace.

Fast forward 6 years and we're now heading into 2017 and the industry analysts are reporting that SMS is set to grow from $55.49 billion to $71.60 billion by 2021. Clearly those predictions were premature and SMS looks like it has very little reason to slow its growth.

As for the mobile app? The 75% of Smartphone user in the U.S. downloading 1 app per month.

While many marketers quickly jumped aboard the proposed app-first era and skimmed over the capabilities of SMS, a few experts saw the writing on the wall—or more accurately, the smartphone screen.

App marketing has become saturated and costly to win your specific niche and buy-in requires a lot of effort, marketing and constant communication while SMS doesn't.

So what does SMS offer in 2017 apart from what you already know?

Woman with smartphone in hand

1. Chat Bots + SMS = A Match Made in Customer Service Heaven

Chat Bots will become a popular medium going forward into 2017. These automated customer interactions for specific self-service use cases are perfect for situations like appointment scheduling or responding to payment reminders.

According to a recent OpenMarket poll of over 500 US-based millennials, 60 percent of them prefer the sort of two-way text engagement available through company chat bots.

And, with Gartner predicting that by 2019, 20 percent of major brands will abandon their mobile apps, companies are scrambling to implement new and highly effective communication channel opportunities that simplify mobile engagements with consumers.

2. Voice Will Be Replaced by Text

In 2016, texting became the number one preferred channel for notifications from businesses for millennial audiences while Email came in a close second, but as for voice?

It lagged behind in a distant third. On top of this, 72 percent of millennials are currently SMS'ing at least 10 times a day and 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes.

The likelihood of reaching and engaging consumers on their mobile devices is getting increasingly higher, and the channel that works the best is leaning much more in favour of SMS.

3. SMS > Facebook

Despite what may have been forecasted in predictions past, social media is not the best way to reach young adult audiences.

While there’s no doubting its pull for networking purposes, that’s where the channel’s power ends. There are simply too many different social media channels – even Facebook as a company no longer has a single social media solution given the fragmentation of younger users preferring Instagram over Facebook.

They key point is that SMS is a much more valued communication tool for B2C engagement, as consumers prefer it over any other form of messaging channels, including Facebook Messenger.

4. Google Click to Message Ads

As mentioned in our previous blog post in the release of the service. Google has also taken to the growth of SMS by allowing users to SMS businesses directly from search result ads. This will open up a new communication stream of B2C communication in 2017 especially suited to localised services and vendors.

5. B2C Text Messages Will Dominate the Inbox

Let’s look even further out for this one. By 2025, 50 percent of text messages consumers receive will be from preferred businesses.

As we enter this New Year, companies have a huge, untapped opportunity to use text messaging to communicate with their customers. Currently, millennials are only receiving 0-5 text messages from businesses a week, with 20 percent noting they never receive texts from them at all.

As consumers increasingly vocalise preferences, over the next few years companies will be forced to address this consumer demand by implementing SMS— or face irrelevancy.

6. Bonus: Rich Media Messaging

Looking at the predicted growth of SMS we have no doubt companies will be flocking and users inboxes will be inundated with marketing messages. To stand out from just another marketing SMS and showcase your creativity, your brand and capture higher engagement rates, rich media messaging will become an increasingly popular option, MEMS at your disposal

Now that you know why SMS will be key in 2017, contact us at iTouch and we'll help drive your mobile marketing.