As the final days of WhatsApp’s support for smartphones with “aged platforms” such as Android 2.1, 2.2, iOS 6, and Windows 7, draws ever closer, the company has recommended that those affected upgrade to a new smartphone by the end of the year or get disconnected from the OTT app – sounds like an expensive option, no?
Back in February, WhatsApp had initially added Blackberry to their list of smartphones to be affected by the upgrade, but since more than 7 million users purchased a Blackberry in 2014, with tens of millions of users globally, they announced earlier this week in a U-turn decision that they would be extending support to Blackberry and Nokia until early Summer 2017 – well, that’s ok for now.
Mobiles, mobiles everywhere
In today’s world of mobile-first communication, mobile apps, software and websites are relied upon for creating and supporting vital connections with consumers, but which way is the right way for your businesses?
As of November this year, there are still 8% of registered iPhone owners using versions iOS 9 or earlier and there are around 2% of Android users on the blacklisted versions, which means millions are set to lose support for the popular app.
While WhatsApp remains a service relied upon heavily for communication with distant family and friends, reliance on the app, and similar apps, for mass communication or business announcements is looking more and more redundant as OTT providers look to isolate millions of users for their choice of phone.
How do you ensure your important messages are delivered, regardless of age of handset or operating platform? SMS of course!
Here are 3 ways SMS beats OTT apps for mass communication:
1. SMS is omnipotent
Text messaging capabilities are available on every mobile phone or smartphone, while apps are not.
In the UK only 66% of adults own a smartphone (Ofcom), the rest own a mobile without connection to the internet. This means that a third of the adult population are ineligible to browse, download or update a chat app on their mobile, let alone use one. And I won’t go into the details about how few of those smartphone owners actually use the apps they download.
In a saturated market of apps there will always be intense competition irrespective of the categories the app falls into. But SMS is the only one of its kind boasting a 98% open and read rate within minutes and achieves the highest engagement rate at 43% within 15 minutes (Dynmark) when compared to an average of 34% overall from OTT apps.
The technology for sending and receiving a text message is also not reliant on a high internet speed which makes anyone with a mobile phone (that’s 93% overall) reachable anytime, anywhere, while on-the-go.
2. Text messages are reliable
It is very uncommon to find or download an app that doesn’t require an internet connection when being used. With OTT apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype & Twitter a good data connection, usually 4G, not 3G, is vital in order to get messages delivered and read by recipients
Poor connection, means no communication.
Where critical communications are required, and instantly, your business is better to rely on text messaging which use satellite signals that provide coverage to the mobile user when there is no data connection available. Useful in emergencies.
Esendex can process 90% of text messages within 5 seconds and you can see the progress of your sends within your account with Push Notifications options via our API.
3. SMS stands for “Secure Message Service”
Well it doesn’t, but perhaps it should.
SMS is often used, not just marketing but for authenticating online interactions in banking transactions and even for first time WhatsApp registrations (the irony!), which suggests how secure it is considered to be.
Although end-to-end encryption is now available across multiple devices there are always security concerns with its potential vulnerabilities to hackers. WhatsApp provides a HTTPS-secured web interface but still poses opportunity for message interception if a malicious version of the application were to be delivered on page load. A security flaw that would be better resolved using safer delivery routes.
If you were to lock something really precious behind a door, you’d likely put more than one lock on. For extra security you may even keep the two keys separate from one another for complete peace of mind.
This method epitomises the way SMS Two Factor Authentication works by providing one factor and placing another barrier (a second factor) to authenticate entry or access. This is something SMS doesn’t need.
So suddenly WhatsApp’s upgrade doesn’t seem as important after all…
Interested in being able to communicate with your customers and staff without barriers? Considering making SMS a part of your existing mobile strategy or combine with existing solutions? Call us on 0345 356 5758.