Author: Nick Lane, Chief Insight Analyst & Founder

Back in 2010 we released a white paper called “Conversational Advertising” in which our research revealed that 98% of all SMS messages were read, and that 90% of all SMS messages were read within 3 minutes. This last point has become the most used stat in mobile marketing and messaging.

However, and it pains us to have to say this, neither datapoints represent an accurate reflection of today’s world of mobile messaging.

Our latest data suggests 55% of all SMSes are read, however, 100% of SMSes are viewed. This is good and bad in equal measure but what do we mean by this?

If you look in your SMS inbox the chances are that it will be dominated by A2P messages from brands and businesses. The majority of these will be “unread”, but you will have an awareness that these messages have been delivered to you. It’s just now you will only actively open SMSes that are actually relevant to you there and then.

The reason for this is that our homepage/locked screen are now inundated with messages, from SMS, WhatsApp, Skype, WeChat, and in-app notifications, to name a few potential channels, which means any incoming message will be bumped from your locked screen fairly quickly. Back in 2010 when we did the original SMS research, the only messages that were typically appearing on the locked screen were SMS. So the chances of seeing it quickly, and opening it were significantly higher.

While the performance of SMS has dropped over the last decade – which would be typical of any channel – as it jostles for airtime against competing messages, updates and alerts, even at 55% the performance is far superior to virtually every other channel (as in email, banner ads, direct mail, and so on).

So there’s no reason to write-off SMS any time soon, and explains why more and more businesses and brands are using A2P SMS and our forecasts continue to show strong growth for the channel.

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