WhatsApp vs SMS: Which is better for your business

WhatsApp vs SMS: Which is better for your business


24 Mar 2023

Whatsapp business vs sms
Whatsapp business vs sms
Whatsapp business vs sms

For years, SMS has been the go-to channel for customer communication. But that is changing. Many businesses are now turning to WhatsApp as data prices decrease and smartphone access increases. Both SMS and WhatsApp provide businesses with the ability to send messages to customers directly, but there are significant differences between the two channels.

In this post, we will compare WhatsApp and SMS outlining the pros and cons of each channel. Additionally, we will provide a breakdown of the key features and differences between the two channels.

Whatsapp vs SMS


SMS typically involves per-message charges, which can add up quickly if a business has a large customer base or sends frequent messages. There may also be additional fees for the use of third-party SMS marketing services.

In contrast, WhatsApp Business API may have higher upfront costs, as businesses are required to work with an authorized WhatsApp Business solution provider to set up their account and integrate it with their existing systems.

The winner: SMS

Benefits of SMS over whatsapp

Message Type

Another key difference between WhatsApp Business and SMS is the type of messages that can be sent. WhatsApp Business allows organisations to send text messages, images, videos, audio, and documents, while SMS is limited to text-only messages.

WhatsApp Business also offers interactive message types that allow customers to find info or take action at the touch of a digital button.

The ability to send multimedia messages can be useful for businesses that want to provide customers with more detailed information or visual aids.

The winner: WhatsApp

Whatsapp Business vs SMS


When it comes to building an audience or customer database, WhatsApp Business is limited to customers who have opted-in to receive messages from the business. This means that businesses can only communicate with customers who have permitted to receive messages from them.

On the other hand, SMS has a broader audience reach as businesses can send messages to anyone with a mobile phone number. However, this often leads to more spam complaints and uninterested customers who take no action.

The winner: WhatsApp

Whatsapp chatbot

Two-Way Communication

WhatsApp Business allows two-way communication, meaning businesses can enable and respond to customer inquiries and have conversations with them directly through the app. This can be a valuable feature for businesses that want to provide customer support or answer questions in real time.

SMS, on the other hand, is a one-way communication channel, and customers cannot respond to the messages they receive outside of opting out.

The winner: WhatsApp

Whatsapp Business

Delivery and Open Rates

Both the WhatsApp Business platform as well as an SMS supplier can provide message delivery insights, letting businesses know if their messages were successfully delivered to customers and if they were opened.

Both WhatsApp Business and SMS have high open rates but studies have shown WhatsApp API messages have a 98% open rate while SMS has a slightly lower average open rate of 90%.

This means that businesses can expect a high percentage of customers to see messages sent on either channel but WhatsApp messages edge out the competition from SMS.

The winner: WhatsApp

Message Length

SMS messages are limited to 160 characters. However, WhatsApp Business messages can be up to 1024 characters long for template messages and 4096 characters for session messages. This makes WhatsApp the perfect channel for businesses that want to convey lengthy or detailed messages to customers.

Template Messages: A WhatsApp template messages is an outbound messages to customers using a template that has been pre-approved by Meta.
WhatsApp Session Messages: WhatsApp session messages are replies to customers who have sent you a message. Businesses have a 24 hour window to respond with a session message.

The winner: WhatsApp

The Cue Conclusion

Both WhatsApp and SMS are valuable communication channels for businesses, each with its strengths and weaknesses.

WhatsApp Business provides businesses with a platform that allows for multimedia messages, two-way communication, and long message lengths. On the other hand, SMS has a broader audience reach, slightly lower open rates, and is cheaper than WhatsApp Business.

When deciding which customer communication channel to use, businesses should consider their audience, budget, message type, and desired communication features.

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