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What is RCS Messaging? A Deep Dive on RCS and Text Marketing

It’s time to learn about this new messaging protocol and how it can enhance customer interactions.

Before & after texting image (SMS vs RCS)
March 25, 2024
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 12 min

When you thought you’d finally begun grasping the difference between SMS and MMS, you started hearing grumblings about a new messaging protocol: RCS. Now, it seems like everyone is talking about the introduction of this messaging application, but you might still be left wondering what all the buzz is about.

If that’s the case, we’re here to explain everything RCS to you. Our guide below will cover what it is, how it differs from SMS and MMS, and why it might benefit your business.

 

Demystifying RCS Texting and Unleashing Its Marketing Potential

RCS messaging isn’t complicated, but it is a bit different from the text messaging solutions your business is most likely used to—in a good way! RCS has many benefits that could transform how you interact with your customers. So, follow along to get yourself up to speed on RCS texting!

 

What is RCS Texting?

What exactly is RCS texting? RCS texting stands for rich communication services. It refers to a messaging protocol that enhances the messaging experience. RCS messages are a step up from your standard SMS and MMS messages in that they support more advanced features (or rich content), such as high-quality photos and videos, shared location points, QR codes, mobile coupons, and more.

With so many applications and immersive features, RCS is on track to surpass SMS and eventually replace it.

 

Current Availability of RCS Messaging

While RCS messaging certainly has a promising future in text marketing, it’s important to note that it’s a relatively new messaging protocol, so not all text marketing platforms can support this technology. Moreover, it’s only available on Android phones and is not yet available on iOS.

You might be wondering if EZ Texting is implementing RCS. Currently, EZ Texting is part of Google’s Early Access Program for this technology. Our platform is in the advanced stages of developing products communicating on RCS, allowing businesses to have richer, more engaging interactions with their customers.

RCS Messaging Features

RCS messaging is revolutionizing text marketing to elevate the conversations between businesses and customers. Below, we’ll review some of the most noteworthy features of this new technology, such as branded chat windows, high-quality images and videos, seamless app integration, business verification and encryption, and pre-programmed responses.

 

Branded Chat Windows

Branded chat windows are easily one of the most exciting features of RCS texting. Instead of showing your business’s telephone or short code in the contact details section, with this technology, your company can customize the chat window with your logo and colors, so your customers can easily associate your business with your text communication.

With a glance, your customers can recognize your brand and, therefore, welcome your messages. As a marketer, you know how important brand identity and recognition are, so these elements help create a cohesive experience that builds your customers’ trust.

 

High-Quality Images and Videos

RCS texting enables businesses to send high-definition images and videos beyond the basic images sent via MMS. You can send product catalogs, promotional videos, and files much larger than those you could send over MMS. RCS messaging platforms also support sending more interactive elements, such as buttons and suggested replies. These visual elements encourage a more engaging and immersive experience for your customers.

 

Seamless App Integration

Instead of having your customers bounce around from app to app to interact with your content, RCS messaging is introducing seamless app integration so everything lives within the messages.

For example, if you were to send your customers your business address, they would have to toggle between their messages and map apps to find your business on a map. However, with RCS messaging, you can send an interactive map that will open within the messaging feature. The same goes for sending coupons, tickets, boarding passes, and more. In fact, this technology is even looking at including end-to-end payments directly in the messaging window—talk about convenience!

 

Business Verification and Encryption

These days, it can be tricky navigating all the scams out there, so you can never be too careful. To help earn your customers’ trust and confidence in your business communications, RCS texting provides business verification and end-to-end encrypted messages.

As part of this, Google confirms the identity of businesses and provides businesses with verification badges. The RCS platform also works to prevent mobile cyberattacks to help foster a safer environment for customers to engage with businesses.

These security features help reduce fraud, as they signal your customers that your messages are authentic and secure.

 

Pre-Programmed Responses

RCS messaging also supports pre-programmed responses, quick replies, and action buttons. Quick replies save the customer time and energy typing up a response. A suggested reply might be, “Tell me more,” or “I’m not interested,” or in other cases, it might be a simple “yes” or “no” response.

The suggested actions can include buttons that open up a customer’s default calendar or a mapping app, trigger a video chat with the brand, share a customer’s location with the business, begin a phone call, or navigate to a web URL.

For instance, an RCS message might include a “call customer service” button that automatically connects the customer with your business’s customer service line or a “find nearest location” button that pins the business’s location in an interactive map.

illustrate a split screen with SMS icon on the left in what looks like a caveman setting and RCS icon on the right in a futuristic setting

RCS vs. SMS and MMS

Now, let’s move on to the question that’s probably on everyone’s mind: how does RCS differ from regular SMS and MMS? RCS differs from SMS and MMS because it is a more advanced messaging platform that allows for more engaging and interactive text communication between businesses and customers.

Below, we’ll look at RCS vs. SMS vs. MMS.

 

Understanding SMS and MMS

Let's take a step back to understand how these message services relate.

SMS, a short message service, refers to the OG text message. These messages date back to the early days of text messaging—back when we were all texting on our Nokia phones, and most carriers set caps on the number of texts you could send each month.

SMS texts are plain text, no-frill messages that limit the number of characters to 160. Also, you only need a network carrier to receive them—an internet connection isn’t required. And although we’ve been using this technology for years, SMS messaging is the most popular form of texting today.

However, eventually, multimedia messaging service (MMS) hit the scene. Using the same technology as SMS, MMS upped the ante, providing a way for you to send multimedia content, such as photos, animated gifs, contacts, and audio and video files. Some MMS texts can support up to 500 KB of data, the rough equivalent of a 30-second video clip.

Furthermore, these advanced text messages avoided the 160-character limit associated with standard SMS texts. It is also important to note that MMS texts require data connections to send the data.

While MMS messaging is used less frequently than SMS texting, it is currently the standard for sending multimedia content. However, RCS is expected to shake things up.

 

Comparing RCS vs. SMS and MMS

Now, where does RCS come into the picture? RCS texting is the fancy newcomer expected to elevate text communication as we know it. RCS is like an advanced version of MMS with more engaging features and infinite potential.

Like MMS, RCS texting requires an internet connection and supports multimedia content. It brings things up a notch, providing higher-resolution visuals and richer customer experiences. As mentioned, RCS can support bigger files and aims to create a more convenient, seamless way for customers and businesses to interact.

This breakthrough technology will likely transform text communication and eventually become the standard in the industry.

Why Businesses Should Embrace RCS Text Marketing

What are the benefits of using RCS for text marketing? Some benefits of using RCS for text messaging are that it can help boost engagement, increase personalized connections, and provide better customer security.

 

Boost Engagement

There’s a big difference between texting your customers your business address and having your business location pop up in an interactive map in their messages. This level of engagement is what will make your customers take note. But it’s not just the seamless integration with other apps that can help boost engagement rates.

Above all, RCS is really about improving the ease of communication. Rather than making your customers type a reply, they can select from a pre-programmed response. Instead of having your customers exit their messaging app to call your customer service line or hop on a video call with a brand, RCS provides handy action buttons for those tasks. It’s all about making it more convenient for customers to participate in conversations with your brand.

After all, when it’s easy and hassle-free to communicate with your business, your customers will naturally be more inclined to engage with your content.

 

Increase Personalization

These advanced features can help your business create more customized and dynamic content to personalize the customer journey. Whether your business uses RCS to offer curated product suggestions with images and links to your online store or resolve your customer’s individual issues in real-time, these tailored experiences can help build trust and brand loyalty.

 

Provide Better Security

Between all the scams and frauds, customers have their guard up—as they should! Of course, your business is above board, and to prove it, RCS provides verified sending so your customers can feel safe and confident corresponding with your brand. RCS also offers end-to-end encryption, ensuring secure, private conversations between businesses and individual customers. Additionally, the branded window features, where you can include your brand’s logo and color palette, can further put your customers at ease.

Creative Ideas for RCS Marketing Campaigns

With a better understanding of how RCS can enhance your text communication, let’s put it into practice. So, what are some creative ways to use RCS for marketing? Some creative ways to use RCS for marketing include experimenting with rich cards and playing with integrated features. Of course, these are just a glimpse into the many creative applications of this messaging technology.

 

Experiment with Rich Cards

RCS lets your business send visuals via rich cards, which allow you to send media, text, and suggestions in one fell swoop. However, if you want to take it one step further, you can use rich card carousels to send various options for your customers to browse.

For instance, you want to entice your customer with a preview of your restaurant’s menu items. You could send a rich card carousel with images, descriptions, and links to your top five most-requested menu items. Your customer could then browse the cards, click on each for more information, and order from their messaging app.

A rich card carousel is like a highlight reel of certain products, providing a more interactive browsing experience than simply sending them a PDF link to your menu. You could use these rich card carousels in various ways, like showcasing your newest products, offering coupons, and listing different event times and locations.

 

Play with the Integration Features

Another way you can experiment with RCS is by taking advantage of its integration features.

For example, maybe you’re using RCS to send your customer a booking confirmation for their upcoming event at your venue. Instead of just texting them a link to their confirmation details, you could text them with their scannable ticket and an interactive map of your venue location. Furthermore, you could provide an action button that lets your customer automatically add all the event details to their calendar app and maybe even send a reminder closer to the date. RCS texting’s ability to sync with other apps makes it easy for your customer to access all their information in one place in their messaging app.

Building Successful RCS Marketing Campaigns

How can businesses start using RCS text marketing? Businesses can start using RCS text marketing by finding a platform that supports this messaging protocol. Begin by researching the best RCS messaging platforms for text marketing. Look into their features and pricing, then choose the one that best aligns with your budget, preferences, and business goals.

 

Measuring Success and Optimizing Your RCS Campaigns

As with any text marketing campaign, monitoring your performance is crucial. So, how can you track the success of my RCS marketing campaigns? You can track the success of your RCS marketing campaigns by analyzing your metrics and adapting for improvement.

 

Analyze Your Metrics

You won’t know how well your RCS text marketing campaigns are performing if you don’t take the time to monitor your analytics. This involves looking at metrics like your open rates, click-throughs, and engagement rates to determine how your customers respond to your marketing efforts.

Moreover, unlike the basic analytic dashboards available for SMS and MMS, RCS tracking tools provide deeper insights into customer engagement. They can see when a customer opens a message and when they begin to type a response. RCS also provides read receipts, which is unique to this messaging protocol.

 

Adapting for Improvements

Monitoring your metrics won’t do your business any good unless you make inferences from that data and use it to inform your future marketing initiatives. Look at your performance numbers, and compare your current campaign to your previous ones. For instance, what can you change about your outreach efforts if your open rates begin to tank? Even small tweaks can make a big difference in your marketing strategies.

The Future of Mobile Marketing: RCS Leading the Way

Is RCS the future of mobile marketing? Yes, RCS is considered the future of mobile marketing. This more intelligent and customer-focused text messaging opens the doors for all applications, creating a more personalized, interactive, and immersive customer experience.

 

Learn More About EZ Texting and RCS Messaging

EZ Texting is part of Google’s Early Access Program for RCS, meaning we’re at the forefront of this exciting new text messaging technology. Contact us today to learn more about how you can implement RCS into your own business marketing strategies.

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