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STUDY 2020

How do companies use SMS in 2020?

Our SMS A2P 2020 study highlights, identifies and provides an understanding of 2020 trends in usage, sending habits, content and other significant A2P mobile messaging issues.

The SMS A2P (also known as business SMS) remains an essential and unavoidable mobile interaction channel between companies and their customers.
At the dawn of its 30th anniversary, SMS remains an essential mobile communication channel. While the number of P2P SMS (between 2 people) exchanged is declining, A2P SMS continues to grow... and thus to be a powerful medium in the mobile communication landscape.

To establish this study, smsmodeĀ© collected a large data set. More than 83 million SMS messages sent by some 1,299 brands and companies between 15 October 2019 and 14 January 2020 were analysed.

SMS A2P 2020 study



With nearly 65,000 SMS messages sent per month per advertiser, the use of A2P SMS is a practice that is very much ingrained in the practices of marketing professionals.
Almost as many SMS notifications (48.73%) as SMS advertisements (51.27%) were sent by companies. A more recent use in SMS communication, SMS notification is thus on the way to dethrone advertising SMS and become the main use of A2P SMS.

However, these two uses of SMS deserve to be differentiated as their uses are so far apart. Informative one-to-one communication, the volumes of SMS notifications vary little over the weeks. On the other hand, and unsurprisingly, SMS advertising is strongly influenced by periods of commercial events (sales, Black Friday, pre-Christmas period, etc.) during which advertising pressure is 3 times higher than during a period with no significant commercial activity.


In terms of sending habits, the beginning of the week (Monday and Tuesday) is more conducive to sending SMS notifications. Nevertheless, it can be observed that notification traffic remains fairly steady until Friday and fairly high at the weekend (especially on Sunday, when reminders for Monday's appointments are sent out).

On the other hand, on the advertising side, marketers clearly prefer Thursday to carry out their promotional campaigns by SMS (+52.20% traffic observed on the marketing channel compared to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or even Friday).

Now on the question of the time of dispatch. The times of the day chosen by companies to carry out their SMS operations - marketing & notification combined - are quite extensive and cover the wide time range from 8am to 8pm: 93.76% of SMS are sent during this period.

There is a slight preference for late morning and early afternoon - 51.91% of SMS messages are sent during this period - with a small peak in the early afternoon (between 1pm and 3pm) and sustained activity in the late morning between 10am and 1pm.


distribution of A2P SMS by operator

The breakdown of A2P SMS campaigns by mobile network operator in mainland France is consistent with their respective market shares.

The Top 4 operators are thus composed of : Orange (32.91%), SFR (26.32%), Bouygues Telecom (19.37%) and Free (18.12%).


Our analysis shows that the technical constraints and possibilities of SMS - as well as their optimizations - are quite well used by communication professionals.
The personalization of the Sender ID or personalized transmitter is well known and well used by professionals. More than 9 out of 10 SMS messages are sent with this feature.

number of characters in A2P SMS messages

SMS A2P and Sender ID

At the same time, the content of 3 out of 4 SMS messages contains 160 characters or less. In other words, they are optimized messages and take into account the character limit of the SMS. Among the so-called long messages, we will notice that 20% of SMS messages exceed the 160-character limit by a few characters. (up to 40 characters longer) and which could be deemed undesirable.


SMS A2P return code

unsubscribe & interaction in SMS A2P

Unsurprisingly, the SMS key performance indicators (delivery, unsubscription and error rates) are performing very well and are consistent with the various studies carried out on the subject. With more than 95% of messages received by recipients, and a very low error rate, the appeal of SMS marketing is partly due to its unparalleled deliverability through other communication channels. This is perhaps the most important indicator and explanation for its longevity.

The interactions measured with the data from our study correspond to the number of SMS messages sent by the final recipients in response to SMS messages sent with a short number. This commitment rate of 9.35% is already honourable knowing that it does not count the clicks on the links that could appear in these messages, nor any other return in physical or virtual store (drive to store).

It should be noted that the new opportunities in terms of SMS (notably Rich SMS and the preview functionality) will make SMS much more visual, interactive and therefore attractive. Undoubtedly, the performance of the SMS channel will therefore evolve in 2020. To be continued...