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May 02, 2022
4 minutes read

RCS vs. SMS messaging: a comparison

Thanks to its rich content and other interactive features, RCS messaging is taking the SMS marketing world by storm. But what is the difference between RCS and SMS? Today, we’ll compare RCS vs. SMS for use in your mobile marketing campaigns.

What is RCS?

RCS, short for Rich Communications Services, is an upgraded messaging protocol created to replace SMS and MMS messaging. RCS offers many features available on popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WeChat.

RCS messaging enables consumers to interact with your brand within their phone’s native messaging app instead of downloading another app. For example, users can book appointments, browse product catalogs, and even make purchases without leaving the messaging app.

RCS messaging provides a more detailed user experience, ultimately improving customer engagement.

RCS Features

Although SMS was designed for simple text communication, RCS takes it to the next level. Here are some of the powerful features available in RCS messaging.

Rich Cards

Rich cards condense lots of information into a single interactive message. For example, your brand can use rich cards to showcase your product offering using photos, videos, text, and links to your website. You can even use rich cards to share updates about orders, events, and flights in real-time.

Suggested Replies or Actions

Suggested replies guide users through a conversation. They make it easier for customers to ask predefined questions, dial a phone number, open a webpage, create a calendar event, and much more.

Verified Business Profiles

Verified business profiles help eliminate fraud and spam by requiring businesses to prove their identity before using RCS. When your brand sends messages via RCS, they display them as “verified” so your customers know they have received a legitimate message.

Larger File Sizes

Larger file sizes enable your brand to share high-quality images and videos in messages up to 105MB. This means that your media files won’t be condensed, eliminating image or video degradation for your recipients.

What is SMS?

As the standard messaging protocol for two decades, SMS has transformed how brands communicate with their customers. SMS, or Short Messaging Service, enables users to send simple text messages limited to 160 characters. To send images, videos, or audio, users can send messages via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service),

Although it has limited features compared to RCS and other messaging apps, SMS messaging is still the default for many users. In fact, SMS is still the most popular form of communication, with over 4 billion users worldwide. That’s because any phone can send and receive SMS messages without connecting to the internet.

SMS Features

Although SMS is a pretty basic messaging service, it plays a vital role in mobile marketing. Studies have shown that consumers prefer to be contacted by brands via text. Recent research found that 91% of consumers are interested in receiving texts from brands, but not every business offers it yet. Here are some of the features available with SMS messaging.

Simple Messaging

Simple messaging makes mobile marketing accessible to brands no matter their budget. Sending a text message costs about £0.10, so your business can send a text blast anywhere in the world.

Two-Way Conversations

Two-way conversations make it easier for customers to contact your business directly. You can quickly answer questions, schedule appointments, and fulfil your customers’ needs in just a few texts.

Links With Preview Images

Links with preview images can add an interactive element to your SMS marketing messages. For example, using a link as a call to action can guide your customers to visit your website, place an order, or check out a specific landing page.

Will RCS Replace SMS?

Although RCS may become the new universal standard that replaces SMS, we don’t expect to see that happen soon. RCS offers powerful features that improve the user experience for both brands and consumers, but not every device can use it.

Currently, RCS is only available for Android users, either through their native messaging app or Google Messages. But nearly 47% of smartphone owners in the United States use iPhones, which do not support RCS.

In recent years, Google has paved the way for RCS adoption in collaboration with mobile carriers and Android phones to make RCS more accessible. As RCS becomes more widely available, we will likely see more brands and consumers use RCS for more enriched communication.


What exactly are the differences between RCS and SMS messaging? Let’s compare them:


  • High-quality file sharing up to 10MB

  • Various data formats, including photos, videos, audio, locations, stickers, emojis, and more

  • Typing indicators and read receipts

  • Verified business profiles

  • Rich cards for location sharing, payments, and real-time updates


  • File size limited to 3.5MB

  • Limited to image, video, and audio files

  • Message delivery confirmation only

  • No verification to prevent spam or fraud

  • Link sharing only

Scale Mobile Messaging Fast With’s CPaaS

Mobile marketing channels like RCS and SMS messaging enable brands to reach customers where they spend most of their time — on their mobile devices.’s unified Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaas) helps brands connect with customers worldwide within a single user-friendly platform. With access to over 10 conversational channels, you can engage your customers via their preferred channels for support, marketing campaigns, notifications, and more.

Learn more about the benefits of using CPaaS for your mobile marketing efforts.

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