Push Notifications VS SMS: which is a better option for your business?

push notifications vs sms

When comparing Push notifications vs SMS a question all businesses ask themselves at one point is if it’s really possible to increase customer engagement with only one of these tools.

While it’s true that push notifications and SMS can help you greatly in keeping your customers engaged with your brand, they do have a unique set of features that need some highlighting. This will help you determine which tool will give you that upper hand. Or, discover that maybe both are just on the same level but differ in ways as to how you should use them.

So, let’s dive in.

Push notifications vs SMS

Studies have shown that 49% of people love shopping via mobile apps, which makes it one of the top reasons why they use smartphones in the first place. That’s also why for many brands it’s imperative for them to build their own app.

Once downloaded, users will begin to receive push notifications from the developer as a way to increase engagement. This technique has been proven 50% effective among users who said that they tend to use the app more after receiving push notifications.

Meanwhile, SMS amazes brands with its 98% open rate, making it an effective promotional tool for retailers, restaurants, nightclubs, among other businesses. SMS makes great use for sending out time-sensitive messages as your customers will be able to receive and read it immediately.


Opt in – In push notifications, customers have to download your app first before they could start receiving alerts. On the other hand, in SMS, customers have to provide their personal and contact details through a signup form. Or, opt in via a keyword and send to your mobile short code.

Data usage– Customers obviously don’t need to turn their data on to receive SMS, unless they are being prompted to click on an external link. An internet connection is needed however to receive push notifications.

Content– SMS is text-based content, while push messages can contain photos, videos, GIFs, and emojis. Alternatively, you can use a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) for your business instead if you don’t have the means to send out colorful push messages.

In general, there’s really no easy way to choose between push notifications vs SMS. They complement each other and are a great way to engage users, if used correctly. The trick is to think about what you’re going to use push and SMS notifications for and plan your timing and frequency.