Social Media

SMS Marketing vs Push Notifications: When Should They Be Used?

Contrary to popular belief, SMS marketing still has a place in a world dominated by mobile apps and their push notifications. In fact, according to a report by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum, text messaging ranks third in terms of global reach. This is surprising when you consider that it fared this well against many popular mobile apps and marketing trends. It’s evident that SMS marketing is still an effective medium to promote your business to your target audience. The only catch is that push notifications seem to do the exact same thing as text messages. The question needs to be raised:

Does SMS Marketing Have a Place in the Digital World?

The short answer is yes. Even when SMS marketing may seem ancient compared to push notifications, it still has a considerable global reach because it will still function even without an internet connection. This provides businesses, fundraisers, and even the average user a means to communicate even when there isn’t an internet connection that’s readily available. However, there are more key differences that you need to take note of.


For a user to receive push notifications, they need only download the corresponding app in order to start receiving push notifications. On the other hand, in order to receive SMS notifications, a user first needs to provide a phone number via a web sign up form, and must also send a specific keyword to a business’  shortcode. In order to opt out of receiving push notifications, a user simply has to switch the notifications off in his phone’s settings menu. To opt out of an SMS subscription, a user needs to send a specific keyword such as stop/Opt out to the business’ shortcode.

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Internet Connection Requirement

Not all push notifications require an internet connection to work (as some apps are able to generate push notifications using offline triggers such as GPS location and other data), but marketing notifications need to be sent to app users via the internet. SMS marketing does not need an internet connection to send out its messages to its target audience.


Apart from sending links, push notifications can also be embedded with GIFs, emojis, photos, videos, audio, and many other forms of media to make your message much more attractive while text messages can include only links. This is also where the disparity in technological capabilities differ.

Best Use

Even when SMS marketing campaigns are significantly outmatched in terms of features and convenience, they are still the best ways that businesses can reach their customer even without an internet connection as long as they are used properly.

Push notifications are best used for sending marketing information, sales offers, and in-app notifications because push notifications are feature-rich. In contrast to this, SMS messages are best sent for urgent messages only. Some instances include: appointment reminders, shipping updates, travel alerts, and banking fraud alerts. These enterprise SMS messages do not directly promote your business, but they inspire customer loyalty and trust. 

The common misconception is that businesses need to choose between SMS marketing and push notifications when the truth is that these marketing tools are meant to be used to complement each other and to fill in for each other’s limitations.


Rose is a technology enthusiast and a writer. She had the interest to write articles related to technology, software, Mobiles, Gadgets and many more.

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