Twitter is currently celebrating its tenth birthday. On the occasion of the celebrations, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey made an announcement that drew a sigh of relief from many users: The limit of 140 characters, so characteristic for the messaging service, will now after all be maintained for the time being. Two months earlier it had come to light that the company was thinking about allowing up to 10,000 characters in the future. For many users the limiting of communication to the bare essentials is a big part of the appeal of this form of communication. The great similarity between the Twitter character limit and the (original) SMS limit of 160 characters is, by the way, much more than mere coincidence. The founders consciously chose the amount of characters at that time, so that Tweets could also easily be distributed via short message. Nowadays, this is still one of many options for getting in contact with the world via Twitter.
Connecting via web interface: internet economy informed by SMS
With this close dovetailing of the SMS standard and web service Twitter is by no means on its own. No matter whether it’s online delivery services, car sharing providers or hotel booking platforms – in order to notify customers and partners dependably and without delay, many internet economy companies rely on SMS services from the cloud. From authentication with secure two-way SMS to booking or reservation confirmations, short messages perform excellent services. Thanks to suitable web interfaces, web portals are able to link their SMS alerts seamlessly with their own systems and reflect customized communication processes. Customer responses by means of SMS can also automatically be forwarded for instance to CRM systems.
Push notifications from apps no substitute for SMS
Although most web services are equipped with their own apps, an increasing number of providers are additionally banking on notifying users via SMS. The benefits are perfectly obvious. For one thing, many customers are fairly reluctant to download a dedicated app for each and every web service. This is also shown in a study conducted by market researchers at Nielsen. Despite a consistently growing range of options in app stores, the number of smartphone apps actually employed by users has remained constant at about two dozen per user for several years now. And even if an app does find its way onto the phone, its push notifications are seldom even remotely comparable with the potentially record-setting opening rates for SMS. If companies would like to make absolutely sure that a booking confirmation or announcement of a date actually reaches a recipient, SMS remains the first choice medium. And this is also true, incidentally, when the customer might not have a mobile data network at their disposal at that exact moment – no matter whether it’s due to a holiday abroad or because the monthly data volume has once again already been depleted by the middle of the month.