Published: May 19, 2017
Last update: Jun 28, 2022
SMS Marketing

Differences between digital marketing with email or SMS

Differences between digital marketing with email or SMS
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Both types of marketing usually start from the same point but the result is completely different.

Send an email, or a text message? This is the classic dilemma many companies face when they want to advertise any type of product or service. Both channels can provide consumers with accurate information and promotional material but, although they might seem similar, the two channels have important differences that involve companies having to invest more time or money.

Although both types of marketing usually start from the same point (in general, both the customer’s phone number and email are collected through newsletter/text form, for which the company provides something in return), the result is completely different.

We’re going to analyse the topic in detail, through the following points:

Email marketing vs SMS marketing. Differences between digital marketing with email or SMS

Average open rate / average open time

The open rate refers to the percentage of emails/SMS that are opened or deleted.

It is estimated that an email has an open rate of approximately 28-33% – that is to say, of 10 emails sent, 7 of them aren’t read.

SMS is the real winner in this scenario with its open rate of 98% – that is to say, of 100 text messages sent, only 2 aren’t read.

Timing is also a crucial factor; it’s been calculated that a text message is read within 15 minutes of being delivered, whereas an email can be read up to several hours later.


One of the main problems of an email marketing strategy is that we are oversaturated with this type of content. Not one day passes when we don’t spend time emptying our inboxes and SPAM folders, due to the vast quantity of emails that we receive on a daily basis.

SMS messaging is not as popular as before, which makes SMS a real rarity for mobile users. This means that when a text message arrives, it’s an exciting moment, whether or not we are fundamentally interested in the information it’s offering us.

Click-through rate

We can include a hyperlink in an SMS, just like in an email. In fact, all text messages should include a link so that users can be directed quickly to the content of the message.

Let’s suppose that we create an email and an SMS advertising the same type of content and that both include the same link.

According to the statistics, the probability that we click on the link on the email is only 6-7%.

The difference, in comparison to the text message, is incredible. With text messages, this click-through rate increases to 36%.


Due to the high quantity of emails which we have to deal with on a daily basis, there are certain mechanisms that discriminate between SPAM and the normal emails that users want and expect to receive. These systems occasionally fail; you can invest a lot of time in sending out an email campaign, only to find that your clients’ email servers have put your emails straight in their SPAM folder.

This can even mark any email from your address as SPAM, meaning that none of the emails you send will be received.

Although with SMS certain blocks exist (special apps to block calls and incoming messages), they are rarely set up. This means that the message will arrive regardless.

Conclusion: what method should I chose for my marketing strategy?

Marketing using SMS is clearly more effective of the two, so you should start with that. However, each company is unique and one strategy might work better than another. For this reason, we recommend that you work with both.

Test both systems by introducing significant changes and analyzing the results.

Remember that the most successful marketing campaigns are multichannel, so it wouldn’t hurt to try more methods outside of this list as you never can tell what will work for you and what won’t.