Battle of the Channels: SMS vs Email

Battle of the Channels: SMS vs Email

2 minute read

Feb 23, 2018

This pops up all the time so we thought that we would finally settle the age old question; which channel is more effective at getting a message through to people? Regardless of whether the message is for promotional purposes or if you just want to to notify your customer of something, the right channel should be chosen for optimal reach and response.

Let’s start by looking at basic KPIs that all organisations use to determine the success of a campaign. We all know the average Marketer or Comms Team Member’s constant battle to get that email read rate up, with average open rates lying at just 22%. SMS, however, gets an average read rate of 98% and even further to this, 97% of that is within the first four minutes of the message being received.

Once you have been able to get the recipient to open your email or SMS message, the next goal is to get the recipient to click-thru (if relevant). The average click-thru rate for email is just 4.2% whereas SMS comes in with a whopping 19% average CT rate.

We all know the main KPI pushing any campaign – ROI. It is not hard to see that with the above stats and the relatively low cost of sending SMS (as little as 1.9p per message) that there is the opportunity to create a much larger ROI through SMS than email.

Now take a look at your email client, whether it is on app or desktop. How many unread emails do you have? This probably also doesn’t include the new filters that providers such as Google and Outlook have in place that sort your emails for you into folders such as “priority”, “promotions”, “social” etc. Now take a look at your SMS app – how many unread messages do you have in comparison? Native SMS apps do not filter messages because spam is much less likely to be sent via SMS. This means that organisations can command more attention via SMS.

However, it is important not to rule out email entirely. Email is still a great direct communication tool used by the vast majority of people. The best way to boost customer engagement is to use cross-channel integration efficiently. Sent an email campaign with a voucher? Follow up a week later to non-responders with an SMS! Someone checks out online? Send their receipt via email but a text with delivery dates and times!

For more information about SMS and email, don’t hesitate to give our team a call on 01484 599 311 or send us an email to

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