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SMS or OTT Messaging for Your Business? Why Not Both!

February 12, 20247 min read

We live in an interconnected world and businesses are presented with a myriad of communication options when it comes to keeping in touch with their customer base. While we know email marketing is here to stay, a more modern approach to communication is through direct messaging. 

There’s considerable marketing debate around SMS vs. OTT messaging and deciding which one is better for your bottom line can be a struggle. But here's a revolutionary idea: Why not harness the strengths of both? 

Let's dive deeper.

What is OTT messaging? 

Understanding OTT Messaging

OTT, short for "Over-The-Top," refers to messaging apps that function over the internet rather than traditional cellular networks. The obvious giants in this realm include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram.

Their rise can be attributed to their enhanced ability to send multimedia messages, create group chats, and bypass traditional SMS charges for their users.

These messaging apps are already popular with a staggering 2.91 billion users in 2020 and are expected to grow to 3.51 billion users by 2025.

Why Businesses Love OTT Messaging

OTT messaging has been a rising star in the business world because of its flexibility in communication, not only with what you’re sending, but who you’re sending it to. Some of the highlights with OTT messaging being the ability to utilize: 

  • Rich Media: OTT platforms shine in multimedia communication. Whether it's a product video, an infographic, or a voice note, OTT has it covered.

  • Global Communication: OTT platforms break geographical barriers, allowing businesses to communicate internationally without hefty charges.

  • Group Dynamics: Businesses can create niche groups on OTT platforms, allowing for targeted promotions or feedback sessions.

  • End-to-End Encryption: Many OTT platforms offer encryption, ensuring that the messages are secure and can only be read by the intended recipient.

Benefits of SMS Messaging

The Timeless Classic: SMS Messaging

Short Message Service (SMS) has been the backbone of mobile communication for decades. Its universal nature ensures that whether you're using the latest smartphone or a basic mobile device, you can send and receive messages.

Many application-to-person services exist that allow businesses to harness that power of SMS marketing, sending bulk marketing messages straight to their customer unread SMS folder. 

Here at Social Fox we utilize LC Phone on our marketing platform to allow our users to easily send SMS messages to their customers and leads for increased conversions and enhanced communication. 

The Unyielding Strength of SMS in Business

While OTT might be the new hot thing, let’s not forget SMS marketing, which paved the way for OTT services in business. SMS continues to perform well in the marketing area boasting:

  • Impressive Delivery Rates: SMS is renowned for its delivery rates, often surpassing OTT, especially in areas with unstable internet connectivity.

  • Instant Impact: SMS offers real-time communication, making it ideal for urgent updates or time-sensitive promotions.

  • Broad Reach: SMS ensures inclusivity, reaching a diverse audience, from urban to remote areas.

SMS remains a strong form of communication with your customers and leads because, think about it, when was the last time you left a text message unread on your phone? Yeah, we can’t remember the last time either. 

"While both SMS and OTT have their unique strengths in business, the choice often boils down to the business's objectives and the audience's preferences."

SMS vs OTT Messaging for Business

Comparing Delivery Rates: SMS vs. OTT

While OTT platforms do have a vast global user base, especially among younger demographics, as we mentioned earlier, SMS's delivery rates are often unmatched. 

Why is that, do you ask? Well, primarily because SMS operates without the need for internet connectivity. Which if you’re marketing on a global scale, should absolutely be a consideration, as a wireless connection, while common in the States, isn’t guaranteed everywhere. 

On the flip side, OTT platforms often see higher engagement rates due to their interactive nature and their younger, and more technically versed, demographic. 

Key Differences Between OTT and SMS

So what are the primary things you need to compare when looking to implement either [or both] into your business?

  • Connectivity Requirements: OTT requires internet connectivity, while SMS stands independent with cell signal requirements alone.

  • Content Diversity: OTT typically supports diverse content types, whereas SMS is primarily text-based.

  • Cost Implications: SMS comes with associated costs, especially for international messaging. OTT, leveraging internet data, often bypasses these charges.

While both SMS and OTT have their unique strengths in business, the choice often boils down to the business's objectives and the audience's preferences, or does it?


Which to Choose for Your Business? SMS or OTT Messaging?

While each of these methods have upswings and drawbacks, which one is right for your business and will enhance your marketing efforts?

What if we told you that you didn’t have to choose between one or the other at Social Fox?

The Social Fox Advantage

All-in-One marketing platforms like Social Fox are changing the game! 

By offering integrated communication channels that support both SMS and OTT messaging [through Facebook Messenger], you can tailor your communication strategy. 

We even streamline all your communications [email, SMS, social media and OTT] into one blended thread so you’re up-to-date at a glance. 

This ensures optimal reach and engagement, catering to the preferences of diverse audience segments.

"At Social Fox we’re ahead of the curve and provide an integrated platform offering our users the flexibility to switch between SMS and OTT."

The Future of Business Communication

As we look ahead, the lines between different communication channels are likely to blur even more. At Social Fox we’re ahead of the curve and provide an integrated platform offering our users the flexibility to switch between SMS and OTT based on the nature of the message and the target audience.

Making an Informed Choice

While both SMS and OTT have their unique strengths in business, the choice often boils down to the business's objectives and the audience's preferences. 

If you’re largely targeting the younger demographic an OTT heavy strategy is likely exactly what you need to reach your audience where they spend most of their time. 

If you’re targeting a more blended or wider audience then taking advantage of both OTT and SMS messaging is your sweet spot.

Either way, it’s imperative to make sure the marketing system you utilize, like Social Fox, can take advantage of multi-channel communication. This allows you, as the business owner, to have an omnipresent existence with your customers and stay top of mind.

And as we all know, more exposure means more eyes on your offers, more people in your funnels, and more conversions of leads into clients!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is OTT messaging?

OTT, or "Over-The-Top" messaging, refers to apps that allow users to send messages via the internet rather than through traditional cellular networks. Popular examples include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram.

2. How is SMS different from OTT messaging?

While both are messaging services, SMS (Short Message Service) operates through cellular networks and is primarily text-based. OTT messaging apps function over the internet and can support various content types, including multimedia messages.

3. Why should a business consider using both SMS and OTT messaging?

Using both SMS and OTT messaging allows businesses to reach a broader audience. While OTT messaging can engage a younger, tech-savvy audience with rich content, SMS ensures universal reach, even in areas with limited internet connectivity.

4. How do delivery rates of SMS compare to OTT messaging?

SMS generally boasts higher delivery rates, especially in areas with unstable internet connectivity. However, OTT platforms often see higher engagement rates due to their interactive nature.

5. Which is more cost-effective: SMS or OTT messaging?

The cost-effectiveness varies. While OTT messaging apps can bypass traditional SMS charges by using internet data, international SMS might come with associated costs. It's essential to weigh these factors against your business's specific needs and the regions you're targeting.

6. How does Social Fox help in integrating both SMS and OTT messaging?

Social Fox offers an all-in-one marketing platform that integrates both SMS and OTT messaging channels. This allows businesses to tailor their communication strategy, ensuring optimal reach and engagement across different audience segments.

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