May 18, 2022

What is RCS Messaging? Ultimate Guide for 2022

what is rcs messaging

Consumers and businesses these days are asking themselves, what is RCS Messaging?

We’ve all received bank alerts, flight statuses, or package delivery notifications to our phones at least once. These simply make life easier. They make traveling more convenient and online shopping less stressful. They make customer support much more effective.

Today, the term ‘RCS messaging’ is getting more and more attention. Google has even released RCS functionality for smartphones using their “Messages” app. This feature-rich platform allows sending notifications and other media through your phone’s native messaging app. 

But what’s the difference between RCS and those notifications you already receive? What’s the difference between SMS and RCS? And do you really need RCS messaging?

In this article, I explain what RCS messaging is all about and outline its benefits for businesses, telcos and consumers. I also help you decide whether or not RCS messaging is right for you.

What Does RCS Stand For?

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services.

What is RCS Messaging? What Are RCS Messages?

RCS messaging allows rich communication via your smartphone’s native text messaging app. It features shopping, interactivity, payments, chatbots, HQ image & video, group calls and a long list of other RCS chat features.

For businesses, this means enhanced branding, useful analytics, more targeted campaigns and a lot more. 

For consumers, it means feature-rich communication and shopping experiences from one platform.

What is the Difference Between SMS and RCS?

The main difference between SMS and RCS messaging is that rich messaging is sent over the cellular network via a native messaging route. Secondly, RCS messaging offers a range of interactive features unavailable via SMS or OTT apps like WhatsApp or Viber. 

Sounds pretty cool, right? Let’s take a deeper look at how all this benefits you and the businesses you shop from each day. 

If you’re only interested in how rich communication services benefit everyday people, then skip to this section. If you’re a business that communicates with your customers, then read on to learn all about how RCS can transform your business-customer relationships. 

What is RCS Messaging Used For in Business?

Traditional SMS (text messaging) campaigns enjoy a 98% open rate and an average response rate of 90 seconds. Considering that RCS utilizes the native SMS messaging app of a smartphone, it’s clear to see how its added functionality paired with this read-rate greatly benefits a business.

With RCS messaging features, enterprises can provide better customer support and keep clients informed of important events. They can promote their products more efficiently and even offer a shopping experience via the native messaging app. All of this leads to greater brand loyalty, enhanced customer retention, decreased churn, and increased revenues. 

Furthermore, businesses know their messages aren’t disappearing into a void. They’re being read. 

This leaves no doubt that RCS messaging will soon become a key customer communication channel for brands. To lay this out more clearly, here are 10 ways RCS advanced messaging benefits enterprises. 

RCS Messaging – 10 Key Benefits for Businesses

1. Convenience

Rich communication services offers all of the features of each OTT app in one platform.

2. Reach & market penetration

RCS messaging integrates with the native messaging app of a smartphone. Therefore, it inherits both the presence and market penetration of SMS. SMS is still the most reliable channel of all messengers – 90% of SMSs are read within 3 minutes of delivery.

3. Branding

Instead of using the messaging platform of another company with your brand name and account, RCS advanced messaging features the custom design and branding of your enterprise.

4. Brand verification

This feature is similar to the verification feature we see on Twitter, Instagram and other social media apps. Rich messaging combines this with business messaging. This ensures brand spoofing (fakes) doesn’t happen and makes unauthorized use of a brand name and its features much more difficult.

5. Deep analytics 

SMS offers almost no visibility or follow-up after a message is sent. However, with RCS text messaging, you can see:

    • Exactly when a person opened your message
    • Whether the person responded immediately or with a delay
    • Was the message comprehensive (i.e. does the response show that the person understood the message and had a reaction)
    • Were there enough options for the user, was the user confused, etc. 

Such analytics allows marketers to fine-tune messaging campaigns for immediate results.

6. Better targeting 

With such user data on brand interaction, an enterprise can quickly identify relevant offers and target specific users interested in a product or service. 

7. Functionality of RCS messages

RCS messaging offers a wide range of features, some of which aren’t even offered by current messaging apps: 

    • In-app shopping
    • In-app purchases 
    • Interactive chatbots with AI
    • Action buttons

And much more. 

One of the biggest differences is no character limit on messages (unlike the 160-character limit of SMS). This immediately translates to a better user experience and greater value for operators.

8. RCS utilizes smartphones

While this may seem redundant, the fact that rich messaging utilizes smartphones is actually a key feature to note. Here’s why: 

SMS messaging via a smartphone has almost no advantage over SMS messaging with a traditional button phone (except for sending URLs in messages). 

Rich communication services, however, brings the multimedia experience of web services and apps (WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) to all smartphones in one app.

9. Interaction standard (multiple-choice responses)

Similar to polling and other interactive features on social media platforms and messenger apps. Rich text messaging features pre-defined options for user reactions (think multimedia carousels, action buttons, and suggested replies). 

Users don’t have to type a response and hope the brand understands their message. By offering one-tap button responses, it establishes an interaction standard, making it easier for both brand and customer to communicate with each other.

10. RCS is instantly customizable

Since an RCS platform is a digital product, a campaign manager can always customize campaigns and messages on the go, instantly correcting and fine-tuning them as needed.

Let’s look at this point in more detail. 

What is RCS Messaging Used For in Marketing? 

Many enterprises today use an omnichannel messaging platform to communicate with customers. This platform allows brands to communicate seamlessly with their customers via the many channels they already love and use daily – email, chatbots, messengers, SMS, voice, etc. 

RCS is one of the most useful channels of this platform. It lets marketing teams promote their services, offer customer support, and inform their clients of important events such as package deliveries. It facilitates communication with the customer at each point of the customer journey. 

You can promote your services with RCS. You can offer shopping for your services within the messaging app. You can inform your customers of key events like package deliveries. You can offer customer support. And you can do it all with a range of unique features and analytics that drastically improve customer experience and ROI. 

Here’s a detailed look at how marketers use rich text messages to better interact with their audience.

RCS Messaging – 3 Key Benefits for Marketers

1. Highly targeted campaigns

RCS generates user data such as read receipts, response delays, and suggested alternative replies and options.

Marketers can use the built-in analytics of RCS technology to create highly-targeted campaigns.

A team can send messages to customers most likely to take action, improving conversion rates and cutting down on marketing costs.

2. Keeps customers informed

Internet connection isn’t needed to receive an SMS. Notices like delivery confirmations or flight delays arrive on time and businesses know their customers will receive and read them, with or without an internet connection.

3. Improves brand relevancy

By regularly connecting with customers, brands remain relevant in their customers’ minds. 

Pretty cool, right? Now let’s look at how RCS messaging benefits everyday people.

Rich Messaging – 9 Key Benefits for Everyday People 

1. Higher-quality media

Send bigger, higher-quality images.

2. Ease-of-use

Better, clearer user interface.

3. Personal touch

The RCS messaging interface uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to learn user and community habits and introduce useful and needed features.

4. In-app streaming

Stream video and audio files directly within the app.

5. Group chat

With enhanced functionality.

6. Enhanced security

Greater security than messenger apps like WhatsApp and Viber.

7. Shorter journey to purchase and payment

You can browse, order and pay for products all from within the messaging app.

8. In-call and post-call features

Fewer call limitations and extra features make communication more convenient.

9. More ways to express yourself

Access to an even greater range of emojis.

And much more.

The benefits of the RCS service go both ways for businesses and consumers. While RCS messaging is a relatively new technology, it’s on the cusp of a breakout. Any business that needs to stay in contact with its customers can transform its ROI with RCS. And any business that doesn’t, will most likely be delaying the inevitable. 

Should I Use RCS Messaging?

As the next phase in the evolution of texting, RCS messaging offers the eye-catching functionality of messaging apps with the unbeatable reach of text messaging. 

If you’re a business, we can confidently say yes. If you’re a consumer, it offers an exciting and convenient way to communicate. It expands the convenience and possibilities of in-app communication even further. 

A Growing Market

Today, about 50 operators have already launched RCS solutions or plan to do so. 

The market consists of 421 million monthly active RCS users and 1.2 billion RCS-ready devices. This is compared to 30 million users in 2016. That’s 1,300% growth in just 6 years.

Meanwhile, the market for traditional SMS-based business-to-customer messaging was forecast at $19.7 billion in 2020. By 2022, that figure grew to $25.1 billion. That’s 27% growth in just two years for the entire SMS business messaging market.

Why Wait?

The growing demand for RCS messaging is undeniable. These are monumental steps in the right direction for operators worldwide who will positively change day-to-day consumer interaction and improve brand reach for marketers.

Whether you are a consumer or an enterprise, RCS messaging is bound to reshape mobile messaging experiences. Ultimately, it will benefit us all, keeping us connected to one another in the most useful, convenient and cost-effective way.

If you’re one of the lucky people who already have an RCS-ready device, why not try it today? And if you’re a business, it’s hard to believe that RCS messaging won’t be a standard customer-communication channel in years to come. Implementing this technology early can enhance your brand reputation early on. Why wait?