Recovero white logo

The History of the Most Successful Marketing Channel: Text Messaging

Table of Contents

marketing icon

Text messaging has become a go-to mode of communication as mobile usage continues to rise. Five billion people use mobile phones today throughout the world. Users have been texting one other for years, but brands have only just realized the power of SMS.

SMS is now the fastest-growing marketing channel for businesses all over the world. Almost half of the consumers (49%) have already agreed to receive SMS messages from brands.

Before learning about text messaging marketing, let’s first discuss how did text messaging emerge.

The History of Text Messaging

Texting, commonly referred to as SMS (short message service), is a form of communication in which messages are sent between cell phones (through SMS or SMPP) — or from a computer or portable to a cellphone (SMTP). The term “short” refers to the maximum length of a text message, which is 160 characters (letters, numbers, or symbols in the Latin alphabet), independent of the phone, provider, or technology.

Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert created the SMS concept in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984.

But when was the first text message sent?

On December 3rd, 1992, Neil Papworth, a former developer at Sema Group Telecoms, sent the first text message. Papworth had to type the message on a computer because mobile phones didn’t have keyboards at the time. Papworth’s text, “Merry Christmas,” was successfully delivered to Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis.

The capacity to transmit text messages was not supported by the majority of early GSM mobile phones. Network notifications, such as voice mail messages and billing warnings, were the first SMS gateways for cell phones.

In 1993, Nokia was the first handset manufacturer to offer user-sending of SMS text messages over their whole GSM phone line. It was the first company to release a mobile phone with a complete keyboard, the Nokia 9000i Communicator, in 1997.

SMS’s initial growth was modest, as it is with any new technology. Phones and networks gradually improved their text messaging capabilities. Texts could eventually be shared between multiple networks in 1999, enhancing their utility. By the year 2000, the average number of text messages sent per person in the United States had risen to 35 per month.

“Multi-tap” was the original and most frequent method of commercial texting. Each phone number was associated with three or four letters. The “3” key, for example, displays “D,” “E,” and “F.” Multi-tap is simple to grasp, yet it is inefficient. Cliff Kushler, a co-founder of Tegic, devised T9, which stands for “Text on 9 Keys,” in the 1990s. Predictive text technology displays words from a single keypress instead of multi-tapping. T9 grew acquainted with the texter’s common words and phrases, and they began to correspond in order of frequency. Swype, a texting tool for touchscreens that allows users to drag their fingertips to join the dots between letters in a word, was designed by Kushler in 2011.

Smartphones now come with virtual keyboards as standard equipment. In 2007, Americans sent and received more text messages per month than they did voice call for the first time. This was just the beginning where people preferred to chat or just send an SMS over phone calls.

Eventually, group texts among people also became popular. It was easier and more fun to chat with friends and family than doing voice or video calls. Text messaging was also better to hold a conversation with friends and family.

With 81 % of mobile phone users utilizing SMS, it is now the most frequently utilized data application on the planet. SMS has evolved into much more than a way to text with friends; it now allows us to receive updates and notify us, check our money, send an email, and much more.

Now, most users opt to receive text messages instead of a voice call.

The rise of text messaging marketing or text messaging service

The simple ping of the SMS, which was invented in 1992 in the United Kingdom, started the history of mobile marketing and mobile advertising. Until the 2000s, marketers, and advertisers had never heard of this channel. A Finnish news source chose to use text message to advertise their most recent news headlines. As a result, mobile advertising and mobile marketing were born, and marketers began to experiment with this new and interesting medium.

Marketers were accustomed to reaching users on their mobile phones and experimenting with new channels and ad formats by the time phone usage and ownership became widespread among consumers. As a result, the logical next step was to move into new formats and increase investment in mobile marketing.

How does text messaging marketing or text messaging service work?

In text messaging marketing or text messaging service, there are various advertising forms, they are:

  • Promotional text messages sent through SMS and MMS multimedia messaging.
  • Push alerts for apps that have been downloaded.
  • Scanning QR codes with mobile devices.
  • In-app or in-game marketing.
  • Mobile websites.

The growth of text messaging marketing

We spend a lot of time on our smartphones and tablets. In fact, you’re most likely reading this from your palm. While mobile has permeated our lives and the lives of our customers, changing the way we purchase, study, communicate and exist, these changes have yet to be fully reflected in advertising and marketing.

Due to the increasing use of mobile marketing and mobile advertising by users, the fact that this is the fastest expanding channel, and the absence of advertising competition relative to consumer demand, there is a strong case for the development potential of mobile marketing and mobile advertising.

Benefits of text messaging marketing

  • You can communicate or chat with your target audience at any time and from any location.
  • Improved targeting
  • Cost-effective
  • Results are easier to track.
  • There are numerous channels to pick from.


What is evident is that, from a consumer standpoint, mobile usage and ownership are currently dominating marketing. As a result, if you want to reach out to your customers, you should consider the most successful mobile marketing tactics.

© 2023 All rights reserved