Brands and consumers are excited about RCS messaging, but without networks and major tech companies on board, adoption is far behind.
Often referred to as SMS 2.0, rich communication services (RCS) deliver a media-rich, engaging messaging experience. The solution is an advanced form of SMS messaging which allows users to leverage advanced in-message tools. RCS platforms, however, include solutions for group chat, video, high-resolution images and read receipts – most of which are already offered by existing messaging apps.
Why we should care
While consumers may initially be cautious about RCS, brands can’t wait to get their hands on it. Research from OpenMarket and the GSMA find consumers are eager to engage with brands through RCS; a 2015 study which surveyed 2,015 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Mexico and South Korea revealed that nearly 70% of consumers would be more likely to communicate with brands using RCS.
An RCS promotion by Subway was tested among a set of Subway customers last year. Subway reported a 144% increase in redemption rates for the RCS promotion compared to the same promotion using SMS. If done right, RCS could provide brands with a more meaningful engagement platform.
“Brands need to find a better way to connect with their customers, and RCS messaging is a step in the right direction,” said Bridget Poetker, senior content marketing specialist at G2. “The technology essentially provides a better user experience than SMS messaging in a format that customers are already accustomed to. However, just like all marketing mediums, brands need to find a delicate balance between helpful and hurtful.”
Even with the hype around the new messaging capabilities, tech companies like Apple have shown little interest in adopting RCS messaging for their devices. Without buy-in from Apple, it could be difficult to drive adoption across all mobile users and could result in fractured messaging experiences for consumers.
Less than 9% of mobile networks have adopted RCS messaging — and due to the slow rollout, Google decided to take over and launched RCS in the UK and France without involving other networks. Other European countries are planning their own rollouts through 2020.