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STUDY 2020

How will businesses use SMS in 2020?

Our A2P 2020 SMS study highlights, identifies and provides insight into 2020 trends in usage, sending patterns, content and other significant issues in A2P mobile messaging.

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

To establish this study, smsmode© collected a vast set of data. More than 83 million SMS sent by some 1299 brands and companies from 15 October 2019 to 14 January 2020 were analysed.

SMS A2P 2020 study



With nearly 65,000 SMS sent per month and per advertiser, the use of A2P SMS is a practice that is well established among marketing professionals.
Almost as many SMS notifications (48.73%) as advertising SMS (51.27%) were sent by companies. SMS notification is a more recent use in SMS communication and is on its way to dethrone SMS advertising and become the main use of A2P SMS.

However, these two uses of SMS deserve to be differentiated as their uses are so far from each other. As a one-to-one informative communication, the volumes of SMS notifications vary little over the weeks. On the other hand, and not surprisingly, we could say that advertising by SMS is strongly punctuated by periods of commercial activities (sales, Black Friday, period before Christmas, etc.) during which we count an advertising pressure 3 times higher than during a period without notable commercial activity.


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

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

Concerning now the question of the sending time. The times of 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 the late morning and early afternoon - 51.91% of SMS 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 by mobile network operator in mainland France of A2P SMS campaigns is consistent with their respective market shares .

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


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

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 optimised messages and take into account the character limit of the SMS. Amongst the so-called long messages, we note that 20% of SMS messages exceed the 160 character limit by a few characters limit (up to 40 characters more), which could be considered undesirable.


SMS A2P return code

unsubscribe & interaction in SMS A2P

Unsurprisingly, the key performance indicators of SMS (message delivery, unsubscribe and error rates) show very good results and are consistent with the various studies conducted on the subject. With more than 95% of messages received by recipients, and a very low error rate, the attractiveness of SMS marketing is partly explained by a deliverability unmatched by other communication channels. This is perhaps the most important indicator and explanation of its longevity.

The interactions measured with the data from our study correspond to the number of SMS sent by the final recipients in response to SMS sent with a short number. This engagement rate of 9.35% is already honourable considering that it does not take into account clicks on links that may appear in these messages, nor any other return to the physical or virtual shop (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...