2020 will be a year of increased opportunity for text message marketing. People are using their mobile phones more than ever, with the average smartphone user touching their device over 2,617 times per day and 48.7 million people opting in to receive business SMS messages.
Consumers use their mobile devices to make decisions at almost every point of the buying process – searching for products, reviews and ratings, price comparisons, and more. This means businesses have more opportunities than ever to make a personal connection with consumers via mobile.
Artificial intelligence will continue to dominate the technology sphere in the next year, affecting text message marketing with the increased use and sophistication of chatbots. Over the past decade, AI has been constantly learning and improving, and it will progress in 2020 to the point that many chatbots will be indistinguishable from human service agents, with the abilities to solve problems, answer questions and direct customers on the spot.
AI is a popular tool for text message marketing providers because it performs many essential functions without the fallibility of human workers, making it a cost-effective choice, and can sometimes provide functions that humans cannot, like 24/7 instant service and sheer speed.
There will be increased pressure on companies in 2020 to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which forbids marketers to contact anyone who has not provided written consent. Many TCPA violations have turned into costly lawsuits, so as text message marketing becomes more popular, it's in businesses' best interests to brush up their knowledge of the TCPA and ensure they stay within its guidelines.
Many experts are hopeful about an existing technology, Rich Communication Services (RCS), working out its problems to enter mainstream use. RCS is a texting protocol (like SMS) that allows marketers to provide a richer experience with more multimedia options. Currently, RCS is not supported by Apple and does not offer end-to-end encryption. It will be interesting to see if RCS can take hold in 2020.
May 2020: According to the Wall Street Journal, text message marketing campaigns have experienced a significant uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attentive Mobile Inc. reported that the average daily number of people signing up for texts from Attentive clients from March 30 through April 12 was 53% higher than the average for January and February 2020. Companies could continue to see an upward trend as in-person interactions continue to be limited in many states.