Author: Nick Lane, Chief Insight Analyst & Founder

The vision of conversational commerce and carousels as part of rich messaging has been discussed for a number of years as a way of exciting brands about the potential of rich business messaging (and the potential is undoubtedly huge and not in question), but the reality of where business messaging is today is still a long way from that messaging nirvana.

A fact check in terms of where brands are investing in business messaging in 2022 it reveals a very telling story. In fact, 96% of brand spend on business messaging will be on A2P SMS this year. That is simple one-way messaging, and that is where the commercial reality for business messaging is.

The remaining 4% of total brand spend in 2022 will be on rich messaging channels. But if we split that spend out, it shows that 3.43% is on basic chat and 0.57% is on richer messaging.

A2P SMS maybe experiencing significant growth on the back of the pandemic, but from a holistic perspective, the business messaging format is evolving at a very slow pace.

WhatsApp Business, which is driving the rich messaging spend, has been commercially available since 2018 and in that 4-year period has been able to primarily evolve messaging onto basic chat. Perhaps, this is to be expected given that WhatsApp Business API (for medium and large businesses only) has been an inbound customer care channel, where basic chat has become a critical tool for agents in contact centres. In September 2021 WhatsApp updated its guidelines to allow marketing and promotional traffic in a greater capacity, and that will inevitably take time to filter through to brands. But at least it’s happening, as is an acceleration in RCS campaign activity, signifying that rich messaging is starting to penetrate brands beyond an experimental channel only.

But the fact remains that the biggest issue facing the messaging industry is that we are always talking about a conversational commerce scenario which is 4 evolutionary steps away from where we are actually currently commercially at, that of basic chat.

Not surprisingly, this gulf between the vision and reality has created considerable frustration among brands. It’s time to understand where business messaging is currently migrating to based on the reality of the market, and develop a clear step-by-step evolutionary path that they can confidently invest in.

Get in touch with Nick at

Explore more of our business messaging intelligence and free messaging research resources on our website.