SMS Open Rates: What Makes Them So High?

Anahid Akkam
Anahid AkkamContent Manager

Published: Oct 10, 2022

SMS Open Rates

We all know that SMS open rates are significantly higher than email or push notifications, which have an open rate of around 5%.

In fact, almost everyone who receives an SMS message opens and reads it.

That’s why most businesses use SMS for marketing efforts, sending reminders, authentication services, and more.

But why is it that they have such a high open rate?

Read on to find out.

What is the Open Rate of SMS?

SMS has an open rate of over 98%, with most text messages being opened and read within three minutes of being sent.

This is compared to email, which has an average open rate of around 20%.

As the texting statistics suggest, the high open rate means that it is an effective way to reach your target audience with a message that is likely to be read and acted upon.

Therefore, it's no wonder that experts advise business owners to include text marketing in their strategy.

It's worth mentioning that there is no way for businesses to check the actual open rate for their business text messages.

Unlike iMessage or RCS (Android native messaging), it is technically impossible to track this metric directly.

SMS open rates are calculated through research and surveys conducted by SMS marketing platforms.

These studies often involve analyzing interaction rates and response times, which consistently show that SMS messages have an average open rate of around 98%.

At Dexatel, we use the same methods to estimate the overall SMS open rate for different types of messages, including marketing, verifications, and alerts.

Our findings align with the industry standard, consistently achieving the same high open rates as reported in other studies.

Is the SMS Open Rate the Same for Every Business?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the SMS open rate for businesses can vary depending on a number of factors.

However, some common factors that can affect the SMS open rate include the type of business, the size of the business, the industry the business is in, and the target audience of the business.

Additionally, the SMS open rate can also be affected by the frequency of the text messages, the content of the messages, and the send time of the messages.

Although the higher the better, businesses should aim to have at least a 70% open rate, averaging between 80 and 90%.

Please check our SMS marketing best practices to help you maximize your open rate.

Why are Text Message Open Rates Higher Than Email?

Constant Accessibility

The vast majority of people have their mobile devices within arm's reach at all times.

This constant accessibility ensures that SMS messages are seen and opened promptly.

Immediate Notifications

Mobile devices typically notify users instantly when a new text message arrives, prompting immediate attention.

This instant notification system significantly contributes to the high open rates of SMS messages.

Direct Delivery

Text messages are delivered directly to the recipient's phone, while email messages can get caught in spam filters or end up in the recipient's junk mail folder.

This is the biggest difference between email and SMS.

The direct delivery ensures that SMS messages reach their intended audience without interference.

Personal Connection

The personal nature of SMS texts makes them more likely to be read and responded to than emails.

People often associate text messages with personal communication, making them more engaging and compelling.

Higher Trust Factor

SMS messages are often perceived as more trustworthy than emails, which can be rife with phishing attempts and spam.

This trust encourages recipients to open and read text messages more readily.

Simplicity and Effectiveness

The simplicity of SMS messaging, without the need for subject lines or extensive formatting, makes it a straightforward and effective communication channel.

The Difference Between CTR and Open Rate

First, let's understand what CTR is.

A CTR is a click-through rate, which is the number of times a link placed within a text message is clicked divided by the number of times it is seen.

This performance metric is used to gauge the effectiveness of SMS marketing campaigns.

The higher the CTR, the more effective the text messaging campaign.

A higher CTR generally indicates that the text message copy is relevant and resonates well with the audience, resulting in more clicks.

How High Should an SMS CTR Be for a Business?

A business's SMS CTR should be as high as possible in order to maximize the number of customers who are reached and interacted with through this marketing channel.

While there is no definitive answer for what a CTR should be, a good rule of thumb is that businesses should aim for a CTR of at least 2%.