Third party messaging apps offer more consistent, expressive & compelling experience than SMS, finds Strategy Analytics

Consumers are becoming less social in person by becoming more social ‘virtually’ through advanced messaging features. Achieved through pre-installed RCS platforms and self-installed third party messaging apps, these platforms are providing a more consistent, expressive and compelling messaging experience for the sender.

A recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) service at Strategy Analytics, “The New Messaging Experience: Bringing Standards and More Features To Enhance Messaging” has investigated the emerging behaviors, needs and pain points of consumers regarding the use of advanced messaging platforms.

Key report findings:

  • Unlike SMS – a universal standard available across all phones – social messaging apps are run by third-party companies and need to be downloaded separately. This does mean however, that OTT messaging apps are consistent across all devices, regardless of operating system.
  • Features that attract users are critical to the success of social messaging apps. Capabilities such as payment or game options within one app make it more compelling; but without anyone to communicate with – and this does mean that the app needs to be installed by both the sender and recipient – there is no motivation to use them.
  • But trends are fleeting, and people will shift to whatever is new and popular without consequence; these kinds of apps are free and readily available.

Mathew Alton, senior analyst and report co-author commented, “The nature of communication for all parties involved in messaging is constantly changing and this changes the communication needs of the user. Friends and family don’t necessarily fit into all ecosystems. As a result, users will typically have multiple messaging apps installed for different groups of people, and this has implications for usability, time and convenience.”

Chris Dodge, associate director and report co-author, added, “The feature set and overall core functionality of third party apps far surpasses that of SMS, but users will still treat them as disposable. RCS has the opportunity to change user loyalty and could potentially create a solid position next to these third party apps. However, it is also likely that iPhone users will be reluctant to give up their native iMessages. RCS needs itself to be considered native.”

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