Rich Communications Services (or RCS) via the messaging channel is starting to feature on brands’ radar, and rightly so. But it’s not brands driving adoption, more consumers. Messaging is by far the most effective marketing channel used by any brand, and it’s the one channel bucking declining open rate trends - consumers are welcoming messages with open mobiles.
In the UK, Mobilesquared research reveals that more than 42 million people throughout the UK have opted-in to receive communications from brands direct to their mobile. Folks up and down the UK have reached a tipping point where they are now more comfortable providing brands with their mobile number as part of a value exchange.
That exchange relies on brands either providing them with useful information (time of delivery, option to change delivery time, product now in stock, appointment reminder, and so on), or promotions and discounts to save money.
And this exchange is equally valuable to the brand because of the performance of messaging as a channel. The stats speak for themselves: 90% of messages are read within 3 minutes, and 99% are read – although realistically it is likely that 100% of all messages are at least seen by the recipient, as the message itself will sit on the locked screen.
What our research has also revealed is that 53% of opt-ins (or 22.3 million people) have actively responded positively to a message – and here, positive means that the recipient has opened the message and actioned the information in one way or another.
In a direct comparison to other channels, metaphorically speaking, messaging is the Usain Bolt of performance, versus Boris Johnson-like performance from all other channels (be it mobile banner advertising, email, direct mail, or apps).
So why RCS? Well, if the Usain Bolt performance analogy describes the current performance of the humble SMS, RCS will take an already highly effective channel to new heights, and inject a huge dose of pizzazz. If deployed strategically, it will be nothing short of an engagement game changer.
What can RCS actually do? To term RCS as “SMS 2.0” is massively underselling RCS. Its functionality goes way beyond a simple message exchange. RCS will effectively adopt the power and performance of messaging, the engagement and interaction levels of WhatsApp, and the richness of an app – all within the consumer’s preferred channel, messaging. In addition, it will have the capability to deliver one-click purchases.
Or to put it another way, RCS will remove the spend wastage of mobile banner advertising, the overspend in apps, and the consumer annoyance associated with email.
But RCS isn’t a given, brands have choice — and there are already ready-made alternative platforms. WhatsApp is the obvious rival to RCS, with alternatives on the horizon, such as Apple Business Chat (ABC), which is expected to be launched in the UK in October.
If brands want to engage consumers on their own terms, there’s no question they will need to develop their messaging strategy, whether that is to evolve their existing SMS strategy utilising RCS, or introduce one or all of these alternative messaging channels.
And that’s why Mobilesquared has put together a half-day Workshop, to provide brands with all the information they need to know on how and why they should look to develop a messaging strategy, and explore the potential of RCS. The Workshop is free to attend for IAB members.
On the day, Mobilesquared will share exclusive RCS market data, providing brands with all the UK market data they need to start developing an internal business case.
Virgin Trains will share their experience of being the only brand using RCS commercially in the UK today, Google will explore how to develop an RCS campaign, plus we’ll outline detailed brand case studies from the US where RCS is more advanced.
We will also have experts explaining how to evolve an SMS strategy, how to create an RCS campaign, and how to integrate RCS with your platform, plus we’ll provide an overview on pricing,
In a nutshell, the UK RCS workshop will cover everything you need to know about RCS in 4 hours. You will leave with a full understanding of what RCS can deliver. Whether RCS is for your brand, is then up to you decide, but at least you’ll be in a position to make an informed decision.
The UK RCS Workshop will take place at the IAB Training & Events Space, London, 1.30pm – 5.30pm on the 18th October. Contact Jo Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for free.