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The evolution of the text message

29 Mar 2022
Andrew Kivell

Andy Kivell

Head of Fixed Connectivity Portfolio, Vodafone Business

In today’s digital world there are countless ways in which we can communicate with each other. Be that through email, phone call, social media, WhatsApp or text message.

You may be surprised then, to hear that 5 billion people globally still send and receive SMS messages – that’s about 65% of the world’s population. In addition, the amount of people who send and receive text messages is predicted to rise to 5.9 billion by 2025[1].

This brings a huge scope for businesses to connect with customers. However, one-way static text messaging is no longer going to cut it. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger, have opened our eyes to new, more engaging messaging content such as videos, audio, imagery and animations.

Which is why brands and operators alike have been getting excited about Rich Communication Services.

RCS – the new face of SMS

evolution of the text message

Watch how RCS can power up your business

Rich Communications Services (RCS) combines the effectiveness and the richness of popular messaging apps, allowing organisations to deliver greater digital interactions with customers.

With RCS messaging, also known in the business world as Rich Business Messaging (RBM), you have access to a wider audience in their native messaging app, without the need to download multiple apps.

Sharing high-res imagery, audio files, videos, GIFs and emojis, you can change the dialogue and communicate in a more engaging way, creating meaningful relationships with your customers and increasing brand loyalty.

The use of imagery can also remove language barriers and content can be adapted to suit all demographics improving your brand’s reach.

Using RBM for our own campaign with TOBi, our artificial intelligence chatbot, we managed over a million customer messages within the first 6 months. For other campaigns, we saw up to 50% higher customer engagement compared to an SMS campaign run in parallel. And studies have found that nearly 80% of consumers find RCS appealing and over 70% say RCS would make them more likely to want to communicate with a brand[2].

That’s because users can create group chats, send videos and photos within messages, and even transfer files while on the phone.

Convenience is king

Consumers are able to manage these conversations in their default messaging inbox at their convenience, making it easy to keep track of things like boarding passes, lunch orders or event tickets without needing to download an additional application.

By working with the global advertising network for RCS business messaging, Direqt, we’re helping consumers access their favourite content in a convenient way.  

Users can browse from a list of publishers within the Vodafone Gallery and choose to chat with titles such as British Vogue, British GQ, Wired, The Independent, and the Financial Times to get the latest news, entertainment and information.

For content publishers, this is a powerful new channel to both connect with their existing audience, as well as develop and grow a new audience right from within the default messaging application.

RCS allows any type of business, not just content publishers, to build direct relationships with their target customers from within the consumer’s default messaging inbox.

For example, with RCS, businesses can take it to the next level by sending suggestions of on-site facilities at the hotel you’ve just booked, or dining options for the restaurant you’re visiting, or maybe even discount codes while you’re there.

Features such as read receipts also make it possible for businesses to get high quality metrics and anonymised data analytics on the success of a campaign or message, as you can see if it has been sent, delivered or read, as well as if there were any button clicks.

This can help drive more impactful communications strategies on this channel, but also beyond, as you gain valuable insight into what customers like.

By enabling partners to take advantage of RCS through this launch with Direqt, we’re opening up a whole ecosystem which both the brands and operator can drive new revenue streams from.

For the consumer, it is an easier, more valuable experience, so everyone wins.

Reacting to customer demands

At Vodafone, we’re leading the charge in RCS. Driving the industry forward with our investment, we act as a single global entry point and give customers access to our 500+ million customers across most of Europe and in South Africa.

RCS adoption is a natural progression, especially as SMS will evolve as customer expectations continue to rise with emerging innovative digital services and applications[3].

As a result, leading businesses need to progressively rethink their methods of communication, adopting richer channels like RCS to communicate with customers.

And with mobile squared predicting that around 3.23 billion people will use RCS messaging worldwide by the end of 2023, the time is now to make the switch.

Discover more about what Rich Communications Services can do for you and your business today.


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