What is the Difference Between Push Notifications and Text Messages

Push notifications and text messages might look similar to the end-user, but there are six significant differences between these two services.

Generally, SMS text messaging is a reliable communication service that people have been using since the 90s. Many texts are sent from person to person, but companies may send direct messages to consumers if they have the recipient’s opt-in and phone number. Previously, text content goes through a Short Message Service Center (SMSC), handled and transmitted via mobile towers before reaching the user’s device. Presently, text messages are sent via API (application programming interface) and don’t go through SMSC.

On the other hand, push notifications are messages that pop up on a device, such as a phone or a computer, via the app installed by the user. These notifications are sent directly to users’ devices via an app’s push notification server. Apple first introduced push notifications to its iPhone in 2009, and both app developers and users have widely adopted the feature.

Let us know more about the differences between SMS messaging and Push notification in delivery, visibility, sending methods, content, device, and audiences.

SMS messaging and Push notification in delivery, visibility, sending methods, content, device, and audiences


SMS text messages are delivered straight to your phone’s inbox. There is no need to download an application to access, create and send messages. Users may open, read and take action on these messages at any time.

On the other hand, push notifications are messages delivered straight to a mobile delivery or desktop, regardless of whether there is an application open. In some cases, due to the volume of push messages received, a recipient may overlook, miss, or ignore the notifications.

If you want your messages to be read and acted upon by your recipient, you should prioritize the use of SMS text messages in your marketing campaign. 


Recipients will typically see the text message right away from the phone’s lock screen or in their text inbox if they receive an SMS text message. Furthermore, research shows that most text messages are typically opened within the first few minutes of receiving them!

Meanwhile, depending on the volume of push notifications received, they may be missed, ignored, and overlooked. Also, the recipient will no longer see or check the message once these notifications are viewed.

Text messages are hard to miss. It is the most reliable means of getting your messages across all audiences. 

Sending Methods

Text messages are sent as an SMS or Short Message Service. It is a text-only communication that transmits between mobile phones. The message is transmitted from the sending device to the nearest cell tower when you send an SMS message. The message is passed from a cell tower to an SMS center (SMSC). Then the SMSC routes the text message to a cell tower near the target device. Then, that device receives it.

On the other hand, push notifications can be sent as rich media content such as images, GIFs, and videos. Only the app that was registered will receive the notifications. If you delete an app, you will lose any associated push notifications.


Text messages can send 160 characters and include text, emojis, images, and videos. Any company category, including retail, religion-based, food and hospitality, fitness, nonprofits, real estate, and more, may benefit from an SMS campaign.

Since push notifications are asynchronous, they don’t conform to any character limit. However, statements with a lot of text can be overwhelming and may lead to users opting out of notifications.

If you feel limited by the 160 character limit of SMS messaging, you should use push notification to impart more content to your audiences. 


SMS messages are sent and received on mobile phones only. There is no web interface. Many businesses prefer to use SMS messaging for their marketing campaign because everyone with a mobile phone can receive text messages any time of the day.

On the other hand, push notifications can be received on mobile devices and computers. Push notifications, unlike SMS messages, are not limited to just text. Businesses can include rich media content such as images, videos, and GIFs in their notifications.

For wider coverage and inclusivity, using SMS messaging for your marketing is more advantageous. 


SMS messages are intended for one-to-one communication with the recipient. These messages can be sent to an individual or a group of people. SMS notifications are a great way to keep your users informed about new improvements, maintenance issues, and other information that impacts their experience. If you need to deliver customer service or want your consumers to respond with questions or requests, this is an excellent option.

Push notifications are not intended for one-to-one communication. They are instead designed for group communication with a set of people. This type of notification is great for announcements, such as new products, features, sales, or anything that you want your users to be aware of. Also, there is no option for users to reply to push notifications if they communicate with the sender.

Which One Has the Most Advantage, SMS or Push Notification?

There is no definite answer as to which one has the most advantage between SMS messages and push notifications.

SMS Messaging is the ideal choice if you are looking for the following advantages:

  • Guaranteed delivery to the recipient’s inbox. The user will receive the message even if there is no wi-fi or internet signal. As long as they have a mobile network, they will get the message.
  • Speedy delivery. The state of the mobile network heavily determines the delivery speed of SMS messages. Nonetheless, SMS communications are delivered within minutes in metropolitan areas with excellent coverage.
  • SMS messages can be received both by smartphone and non-smartphone users. Text messaging offers a broader audience reach than push notification and instant messaging apps. Even areas with low-bandwidth and non-active internet users can receive and read SMS messages.
  • The customers’ phones retain the SMS messages. The data may be viewed repeatedly until it is physically deleted after delivery.

Push notifications, although they lack some of the advantages of SMS messages, make up for it with the following benefits:

  • Notifications can be sent to users even when your app is closed.
  • Rich media content can be included in push notifications, such as images, GIFs, and videos.
  • Users cannot block or unsubscribe from push notifications the way they can with SMS messages.

Additionally, it should be noted that the benefits of SMS messages and push notifications can be used together to maximize their advantages. For example, you can send a push notification to all app users about a sale and then follow up with an SMS message reminding them about the sale and providing the location and time.

Does SMS or Push Notifications have a Higher Conversion Rate?

Statistics show that SMS notifications have a higher conversion rate than push notifications.

According to a study by Localytics, Push notifications had an average open rate of 16 percent, while SMS messages had a 98 percent open rate. Additionally, the click-through rate for push notifications was just 0.6 percent, while the SMS message CTR was 12.1 percent.

It means that if you are looking for a way to increase your conversion rate, using SMS messages is the better option. However, it is essential to note that this may vary depending on your industry and the type of notification that you are sending.

We already know that our clients use their mobile devices for various purposes, including entertainment and work. With so many people using their cell phones daily, mobile marketing is one of the most important weapons in your arsenal.

Can SMS and Push Notifications be used together?

Yes, SMS messages and push notifications can be used together to provide a more effective notification system. It will ensure that not only are your users notified about the sale, but they also have all of the necessary information to take advantage of it.

By using both methods, businesses can reach a wider audience with their notifications. Additionally, using SMS messages and push notifications together can help to increase the conversion rate of notifications.

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