An overview of SMS vs Whatsapp

SMS vs WhatsApp : A 2024 Overview

1.  Introduction

We took a poll from 150+ people using LinkedIn and Email to inform our analysis of SMS vs WhatsApp.

Participants are from across geographies. There are leaders, founders, and people from the communications industry. We have ensured diverse participation to ensure that the survey isn’t skewed.

WhatsApp vs SMS for Businesses

Here’s what industry experts have to say:

Devender Mahto from MyAdsMantra says that its basis the type of business, traditional or digital.
Rob Kurver, who is one of the founding members of the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance says that RCS is a channel which can’t be ignored.  

Naman Khetawat, who has co-founded a marketing agency believes that WhatsApp would work better because of engagement, rich media and security. Ravi Raj heads product at WOO TV and says that channel selection will be very situational.  

2.  A Quick View: SMS vs WhatsApp for Business Communication

3. SMS

SMS has two different aspects – A2P and P2P with A2P being business communications and the one which this report details.

As reflected in our survey and the poll results, businesses are not ready to abandon SMS marketing yet.
The channel will see stable growth over the next decade. The forecasts by Markets and Markets i.e., 2.8% CAGR from 2023 to 2026 seems justifiable. Below mentioned are some reasons which make the rate of growth realistic: -

  1. Transactional SMSs are not going anywhere. This remains the most popular mode especially for BFSI and Ecommerce.
  2. As our experts have stated, SMS might have lost its prominence as a standalone channel, but it still stands its ground in an omnichannel strategy. Businesses use it for a strong brand recall.
  3. Some use cases perfectly fit with SMS as a channel. These would include communicating time bound deals, flash sales etc.
A2P Messaging Global Forecast

4. WhatsApp

WhatsApp business API has seen tremendous growth. Here we throw some numbers:-

  1. According to Mobile Ecosystem Forum, 6.72 million companies will be using WhatsApp business app by the end of 2024.
  2. According to Mobilesqaured, there would be 5400% growth in businesses using WhatsApp business APIs with a total of 55000 businesses using APIs by 2024.

The growth is fueled by 5 major markets – India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia followed by USA.

Countries with highest WhatsApp usage

Rich media is an edge that WhatsApp has over SMS. According to Statista, sending images, GIFs and videos is the second most popular features, it certainly has been the driving functionality for the success of WhatsApp business. Although, with the advent of RCS, WhatsApp might lose this edge.

5.  Conclusion: The Future of Business Communications

Summarizing views from experts, here’s are a few pointers: -

  1. Growth of WhatsApp will be steered by 5 major geographies where people use the app day in day out.
  2. For the next couple of years, the pace of growth will be super-fast.  This will go on until there is saturation. It will happen when people start finding the intrusion of businesses in their personal chat conversation platform annoying. The line will get blur and that’s when the ROI from campaigns will start to decline.
  3. RCS will have an impact on WhatsApp especially in the nations where it is less popular.
  4. SMS will grow at a steady rate and will become an essential part of the entire omnichannel communication experience.
  5. Businesses will keep iterating omnichannel experiences till they find the most suitable channel for specific use cases. For example, WhatsApp would be a better choice for personalized engagement campaigns.

If you are confused between the two channels, we recommend laying out the below 3 parameters in a table and you’d be good to go.

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