Shopify Marketing Tips: Messenger Vs. SMS Marketing - What’s the Difference?

In a marketing context, you can use both SMS and Facebook Messenger channels to send messages directly to a subscriber’s phone. Does this mean then that these channels are effectively the same? Should you use focus your efforts on just one channel or both for your Shopify marketing communications?

The short answer is that they’re not the same by any stretch and neither one should be overlooked as a marketing channel. Keep reading to understand the critical differences between SMS and Messenger, why both channels should form part of your marketing strategy and how Tobi, an automated SMS, Messenger and email marketing app, can help you to sell more.

Benefits of SMS marketing

The “ping” of a text message is often too intriguing to ignore. Text messages receive an incredible 98% open rate, a figure that significantly outperforms email, which has an average open rate of 20%. The response rate for SMS campaigns is just 90 seconds on average.

Add all that to the fact that the average smartphone user checks their phone 63 times per day, and there’s no wonder that many marketers are leveraging the power of SMS as a direct line to customers.

Benefits of SMS marketing

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Text messages are delivered instantly, giving you real-time visibility for your Shopify store. SMS marketing is a useful strategy to employ when you need to send time-sensitive marketing messages, like abandoned cart reminders, or when you want to encourage prompt action, like getting your customers to leave a review.

Unlike with email, there’s less chance of your text messages going ignored (known as subscriber fatigue) as SMS is still an underused marketing channel. SMS marketing is a relatively low-cost option compared to Facebook and Google Ads.

Benefits of Messenger marketing

Messenger is a free instant messaging platform developed by Facebook. To carry out marketing through Messenger, you can take advantage of Facebook bots to send a variety of promotional messages and automated conversations.

Facebook Messenger has massive potential for online marketing success, according to marketing expert and entrepreneur, Neil Patel, who suggests you can get 88% open rates and 56% click-through rates through Messenger bots.

So why should you use Messenger marketing? Well firstly, Messenger is used by 1.3 billion people worldwide every single month, so a large proportion of your target audience will be hanging out on this chat platform. Secondly, your prospective customers don’t have to give away their email address to opt-in to notifications. It involves a one-click process – quick and easy.

With Messenger bots, you can set up different sales funnels to push traffic directly to your online store. Communication via Messenger, like SMS, is instant. And, although subscribers can open their messages on their mobile device, they can also access them through a web browser on their desktop too.

The main differences between SMS and Messenger for marketing

You could reach more people through SMS marketing

5.11 billion people worldwide use a mobile phone, according to these latest statistics from We Are Social and Hootsuite. That’s about 66% of the entire global population! More people are using mobile phones than they are the internet, which has 4.39 billion users in 2019.

digital around the world in 2019

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It’s essential to include SMS marketing in your overall strategy, simply because there’s scope for reaching a wider audience. Although Messenger messages go directly to a person’s phone, they need to be accessed via the internet, whereas text messages are sent and received as part of a data plan. Also, text messages can be received by the 26.9% of people who use feature phones (non-smartphones).

Messenger is free, whereas SMS marketing is not

Though relatively inexpensive, there is a cost involved in sending SMS messages. These may vary depending on the country your subscribers are based in. Messenger, on the other hand, is accessible via the internet, meaning you can send messages to your subscribers for free no matter where they are in the world.

You can build relationships through Messenger

Where text messages are useful for grabbing attention, the native environment of Messenger allows you to interact with existing customers and prospects more conversationally, almost on a personal level.

Collecting subscribers is trickier with Messenger compared to SMS

Getting subscribers for SMS marketing requires a quick and simple opt-in. Getting Messenger subscribers is a somewhat lengthier and more complex process. It requires some sort of interaction with your Facebook posts first, or someone sending a message to your page.

To get more Messenger subscribers, encourage people to chat with you on Facebook and post interesting content on Facebook to increase engagement levels through comments. Be careful not to push too much though, as you may end up getting blocked by Facebook!  

Messenger works with Facebook Ads

Another difference that Messenger has compared to SMS is that it integrates with Facebook Ads. That means you can set up targeted ads on Facebook and set up a call to action such as clicking through to Messenger to start a conversation with you.

Automated SMS and Messenger marketing for Shopify stores

There are some Shopify apps available that allow you to send promotional SMS and Messenger messages to your Shopify subscribers, once they’ve opted in to receive notifications from you.

You can use Tobi, for example, to automatically send abandoned cart reminders and news about flash sales, discounts, or other incentives, at a time when your subscriber is most likely to take action.

With Tobi, it’s easy to send a welcome message to new subscribers or to request a review, and carry out customer remarketing. It can also be used to keep your customers informed about their order through automated delivery updates too.

Tobi can help you significantly reduce your cart abandonment rate and help you recover lost sales from people who leave your store without completing their purchase. 

The average click-through rate (CTR) for abandoned cart messages through Tobi is 19.47% for SMS marketing and 9.23% for Messenger. The average conversion rate for abandoned cart messages through Tobi is more than 2% for Messenger and 1% for SMS marketing. Tobi’s SMS bulk conversion rate is 0.2% and across all automated messages, Tobi offers an impressive 27.46% CTR.

abandoned cart recovery stats

Tobi is loaded with other intelligent features such as behavioral tracking so that you can get insights about your customers’ shopping habits. Pre-written message templates are also included to save you time when putting together your campaigns. Learn more about all the ways Tobi can drive customers and prospects to your Shopify store here.

Top takeaways

As a marketer, even though you can send messages to subscribers directly to their phones via SMS and Messenger, each channel is different. 

As you can see from the Tobi app stats provided above, Messenger has a higher conversion rate compared to SMS for abandoned cart messages. Bear in mind though, that delivery of abandoned cart alerts through Messenger is more difficult than SMS simply because collecting Messenger subscribers is a somewhat lengthier process than getting SMS signups.

Another point to note is that general promotional SMS campaigns have a much lower conversion rate compared to abandoned cart alerts.

With that said, you should include both channels as part of your overall marketing strategy, to reach as wide an audience as possible and get the best results from your campaigns.