What is SMS?

SMS, which stands for “short message service,” is one of the hottest and seemingly freshest ways for the mobile masses to communicate. But, in reality, this extraordinarily popular means of communication commonly referred to as “texting” has actually been around for more than two decades.

That’s right. SMS is older than Justin Bieber. But SMS manages to get  better with age. And so, in recent years, it has also become an indispensable resource within the mobile marketing ecosystem (to learn more about SMS marketing, click here).

SMS is, unquestionably, permeating all aspects of mobile communication today. It even surpasses both face-to-face conversation and email in popularity around the world. It’s a ubiquitous technology that’s available on almost any mobile phone on the planet.

And, boy, have we come a long way since the first text message was sent by an engineer with the simple message “Merry Christmas” back in 1992. Today, an estimated six billion SMS messages are sent daily in the United States alone. On a global scale, more than eight trillion text messages are sent annually.

And that number is climbing.

“SMS messages allow quick, direct communication that works on all types of phone,” says Michael O’Grady of Forrester. “In addition, US adults are more than twice as likely to have adopted SMS as any other form of mobile messaging, such as email, MMS, or instant messaging. With more than 80% of the US population owning a mobile phone and with almost 70% of these phone owners regularly sending or receiving text messages, SMS will remain a significant part of the mobile landscape for the foreseeable future.”

Looking beneath the surface of SMS as a communication tool, however, it’s clear and compelling why mobile marketers are embracing SMS at a breakneck pace. SMS is estimated to produce engagement rates 6 to 8 times higher than email, which isn’t difficult to imagine once you realize that at least 95% (or more) of all text messages are read.

According to Forrester Research, advertisers are poised to spend over $8 billion on mobile marketing in 2016. Consequently, the total revenue for SMS providers between 2012-2016 is expected to exceed $1 trillion.

Without question, SMS is not only changing how we connect and advertise, it’s actually changing the world as we once knew it. Evidence? Check out the infographic below.