Differences between SMS and Push Notifications

Feb 17, 2017 From: Digital-news



Some companies trying to keep up with the times and to follow modern trends, are beginning to replace SMS with push notifications, being confident that this is the future of Internet technology. Of course, this is a very handy tool for work and business. But are push notifications better than the usual SMS? Let’s comparing them on some points.

Audience coverage



SMS, which stands for Short Message Service, allows you to send messages of up to 160 characters through wireless telecom networks. In other words, SMS has a global reach. Absolutely all mobile phones existing in the world support SMS, which allows you to reach 4 billion phones in more than 200 countries. And you don't need to worry about Internet connectivity.

Push notifications are similar to SMS. They are short and instantaneous. But they differ from SMS as in order to receive them you need a smartphone with a special app installed. You also have to have constant access to the Internet. Alas, this reduces the number of potential recipients.

Shipping information to the recipient



People pick up their mobile devices from 150 to 200 times over a day. So, about 90% of SMS are read within the first three minutes of delivery. Moreover, the sender receives a notification about the delivery of your SMS. This is the basis for confidence in the fact that the information you have sent via SMS will reach the recipient.

As mentioned above, to receive push notifications, you need to install a special app. Also, you have to confirm a request to receive these notifications. Only then will the information come in a timely manner. However, this doesn’t guarantee that it will be also be speedily read. Unlike SMS, not all apps with push notifications have an audible delivery notification signal. Also, some people prefer not to connect push notifications to their apps, so as to not clog the phone screen with too much information.

Possible errors



Since an application is a written program, no one is safe from software bugs. Developers are physically unable to track all the possible errors that the program may come out with. Because of this, the information in a push notification may simply not reach its destination, or go to the wrong place. One of the clearest examples of such software bugs is a recent incident with Uber. Users who signed into their Uber accounts from other phones continued to have push notifications with personal information sent to the other phone even after they signed out.

SMS has its own difficulties, for example, poor signal coverage or users who turn off their phones. Also, when sending SMS, you need to make sure any links you include are mobile friendly, as well as entering the recipient's number correctly.

Scope of application



It is mistakenly argued that the scope of applications where you can use push notifications is wider than for SMS. For example, companies can use push notifications to send:  

  • Marketing communications;  
  • News;  
  • Transactional and trigger emails (order confirmation, delivery status updates, changes in client's’ account balance, etc).


This is not the whole list of applications where you can use push notifications. Also, you can use them for text broadcasting and in many others scopes.

But SMS can also be used seamlessly in these areas. SMS marketing is not in retreat, rather, it is  strengthening its position. Many businessmen are using this  marketing tool which is cheap and has been proven over the years of use. Breaking news SMS alerts are quite a popular way to stay updated on all significant news in the world. Even news giants like the BBC News and Sky News use this form of delivery to send news to their readers. SMS have also been entrenched for a long time in the sphere of transactional and triggered messages. Many people believe that the use of SMS for bank transactions, online shopping, etc is much safer than push notifications.  

These are just some aspects to think about when comparing SMS and push notifications. They both have their pros and cons, making work with these technologies so diverse. In any case, it's up to you what to choose; SMS or push notifications. The main thing is that either of these tools should help in the development of your business.

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