The research, which was conducted in January 2012 by Vanson Bourne, explores messaging usage patterns – analysing device type, subscription type, messaging services, usage patterns and user experience – using a representative sample of 1000 consumers aged 18 years and upwards.
Seizing the Opportunity in Mobile Messaging, which is available to download via Acision’s website by clicking here, examines today’s messaging realities taking a deep dive into the research results and comparing these with predictions and data from mobile industry analysts on messaging usage and operator revenues. It also provides a theoretical framework on messaging in the Smartphone era, including a high level view of what services consumers are demanding, what drives the uptake of different messaging services and defining recommendations and opportunities for operators as they evolve their messaging strategy.
“Our motivation for undertaking this research was to understand the usage of SMS messaging versus SMS alternatives such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook, particularly in light of recent news on the pressures these alternative services are having on operator SMS traffic and revenues. Acision also wanted to assess and understand the consumer drivers behind alternative messaging services,” said Steven van Zanen, SVP Strategy and Marketing at Acision. “ After a detailed analyses of the US research results we have created this report to provide insight into actual usage and messaging trends and provide operators with guidance on how to deal with messaging in a Smartphone dominated world, outlining how they can secure messaging revenues now and into the future and successfully compete and co-exist with alternative services.”
Key findings from the report show that while OTT messaging is growing in popularity, the ‘death of SMS’ has been highly exaggerated. Acision’s research found that SMS is still the most prevalent messaging service in the US today when compared to other messaging services. 91% of users that owned a Smartphone reported using SMS despite having the ability to access different OTT messaging services on their device. In fact, the five most popular OTT services used by Smartphone owners included Facebook (37%), Skype (17%), Twitter (17%), Apple iMessage (11%) and Blackberry Messenger (10%) – predominantly social media networks. This demonstrates that while OTT messaging services drive up messaging traffic they cannot be credited as a substitute for text.
Other insights in the research included:
• Two thirds of US Smartphone owners (65%) state they need SMS, of which 45% would be lost without it
62% of US Smartphone users have unlimited SMS bundles, concluding that the right price is a main factor influencing popularity of SMS vs OTT services;
• Over half of Smartphone owners surveyed stated they also use SMS alternatives (55%), showing consumers use multiple messaging channels simultaneously;
• Smartphone owners cited the main reasons for using SMS were core service capabilities: speed of delivery (47%), reach (43%) and reliability (38%);
• On the other hand, the top 3 reasons to use OTT messaging services are enhanced service features: content sharing (28%), speed (27%) and works across devices (25%);
• Over half of US Smartphone users (52%) said they would use an operator OTT-type service, especially consumers aged between 18-34 show high interest (60%).
A number of respondents stated that they would be likely to use SMS based personalised services if they were offer by operators including: message delivery notifications (36%), black/white listing (33%), message search (29%), and group messaging (32%).
“Our research proves there is still a high consumer dependency on SMS, not just because of the considerable amount of users without Smartphones or mobile internet connections. With this in mind, we believe there are opportunities for operators to continue to exploit what’s in their backyard by enriching traditional messaging services with value add and personalised messaging services which unlock and protect the full potential of these messaging channels. In addition, operators are now looking to launch new messaging services over IP and LTE networks, with their own Over-The-Top, rich communication and enhanced SMS services. Acision provides operators with an evolutionary path to enrich the core SMS service and generate revenues from P2P, A2P and A2A messaging, while introducing innovative new messaging services and consumer applications which can be monetized and create the new user experience,” concluded van Zanen.
Based on the research results, combined with market analysis and Acision’s own expertise in the mobile messaging market globally, the following conclusions and recommendations have been defined in the report:
• Critical mass of Smartphone penetration is the key pre-requisite for OTT adoption;
• Price is one of the key consumer requirements that determines choice of messaging channel;
• Core service performance is the most important driver to use a messaging service and is a key driver to use SMS instead of the OTT apps;
• Enhanced messaging features are what consumers want;
• SMS and OTT apps co-exist as consumers use multiple messaging channels depending on the type of message they want sent and to which audience;
• Enriched messaging features are the next competitive battleground where operators can really make a difference.
Recommendations for operators:
• Eliminate the cost incentive for Smartphone owners to use alternative messaging services;
• Enrich the SMS service by introducing notifications and personalised messaging services;
• Utilise the full potential of MMS as it allows for content sharing;
• Launch an enriched messaging service, like RCS and/or OTT type of service;
• Secure native SMS in LTE;
• Focus on utilising the full potential of enterprise messaging such as Machine to Machine (M2M) and Application to Person (A2P) messaging.
Acision’s report, Seizing the Opportunity in Mobile Messaging, will also be made available at Global Messaging World Congress this week, where Acision will be present as the Messaging Industry Sponsor, and Steven van Zanen will be speaking on 'The Power of Seamless, Relevant Messaging Services’. To meet Acision at the event or speak to an expert about their mobile messaging solutions, please email events[.]acision.com or contact Nicola Brown on +44 (0)1189 9308620.
Acision (acision.com) will also be present at CommunicAsia 2012 (Singapore 19-21st June) and Mobile Asia Expo (20th – 21st June).