We don’t have a crystal ball. But our teams are pretty hooked up in the world of text messaging, mobile and customers.

They told us what’s on the horizon for 2024.

We hope this will help you keep your finger on the pulse (and the heart of your SMS communications beating).

Here are our top seven trends for 2024:

  • Going beyond personalisation
  • Text to pay and text to give
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Blended experiences for channel switchers
  • Tighter global restrictions and regulations
  • More businesses will start to text
  • Transactional becomes actionable

Go beyond SMS personalisation

Graphic of woman and man at a laptop with lightbulb and text message bubble

Text messaging is personal. It’s the channel we use to connect with family and friends. That’s one of the reasons why personalisation is still so important when messaging your audience.

That being said, is it time to get a little more familiar with your customers? (Especially when 90% of consumers say they find personalised marketing appealing).

As text messaging continues to grow, your audience is going to receive more and more messages. Standing out from your competitors is going to be key.

Hi, [insert customer name] — just won’t cut it anymore.

Our prediction

This year, customers will expect a hyper-personal approach. Messages that sound like they’re written for individuals, not a whole audience, will make an impact.

It will be important to use customer data like past purchases, behaviour and demographics to build relationships and brand love.

Each communication should be sent at the right moment in the customer life cycle. Every message should be as relevant as possible.

Think: right message, right person, right time.

And your effort will pay rewards. 86% of companies report a measurable uptick from hyper-personalisation. Plus, relevant messages should reduce unsubscription rates and increase click-throughs and conversions.

Who doesn’t want to build a more stable ROI and blossoming relationships with their audience?

The rise of text to pay & text to give

Have you heard the newest buzzword yet; “conversational commerce”?

We have.

The way that people are paying is changing. They’re not just buying on their phones, they’re buying during SMS conversations too.

Whole transactions, from beginning to end, are happening via text.

Customers are reaching out to businesses to buy via message. And businesses are offering customers personalised product recommendations based on real-time automations.

Our prediction

As conversational commerce becomes more popular, customers will continue to ask for payment reminders and bill pay options through SMS.

69% of consumers want to receive texts related to making payments.

Read: Discover how to add SMS to your billing and invoicing communications to secure on-time payment.

Customer demand will pressure companies to add this text-to-pay functionally to their communications. Even not-for-profit organisations will harness the power of text-to-give services to increase their donations.

Toll-Free Number rules continue to make a splash

In late 2022, Toll-Free Numbers (TFN) happened. Businesses that use SMS in the United States, Canada and New Zealand had to register a TFN to continue sending unrestricted messages.

This was all part of a plan by carriers to crack down on spam and fraud (which is ultimately a good thing for everyone).

However, good and easy aren’t always the same.

Registering a TFN takes time. It can take up to five weeks in some countries.

Our prediction

Organisations who plan on sending large volumes of SMS will need to start the set-up process earlier if they want to send unrestricted texts. Especially in the US, Canada and New Zealand, where the TFN rollout continues to affect businesses.

Discover more: Your Toll-Free Number (TFN) has to get validated: here’s how to do it.

Blended experiences for channel switchers

Mobile handset graphic with bar chart showing bars increasing and message bubbles

Customer’s buying behaviour is evolving. They’re often jumping between channels, or channel-switching, as they make a purchase.

Here’s an example:

A customer visits a large store to shop for a new television. Customers need more clarity about features, so they ask questions via SMS customer support (because it’s quicker than finding a sales assistant). Then they need additional help regarding the warranty, so they jump on a quick phone call. Finally, they finish the purchase within an app for a discount or easy delivery.

You’ve probably done something similar at some point. Customers often channel-switch without thinking. And regularly do it when making a purchase.

Our prediction

Omnichannel marketing will still matter. But you’ll also need to consider how all your channels work together to provide an optimal customer experience (CX).

The number of companies using SMS for customer service will grow as customers want to connect with businesses instantly via their preferred channel. And text is the perfect solution for businesses that want to improve CX with minimal effort.

Let’s face it — SMS is the perfect vehicle for providing quick information for customers who channel-switch as they buy. Text messages are sent fast and opened in minutes, with a 98% open rate. And there’s no need for an internet connection.

Discover more: How to use text messaging for customer experience.

Tighter global restrictions and regulations

You’ve likely received a spam or smishing text.

In April 2022, an estimated 378,509,197 spam texts were sent each day, and 2,649,564,381 smishing texts were sent a week. However, only 35% of people know when they’re a target of smishing.

Protecting people, their data and their privacy are more important than ever. (And something we take very seriously at ClickSend).

With SMS spam and fraud on the rise, new rules and regulations to reduce occurrences are likely.

Read more: Spoofing and smishing: your need to know

Our prediction

There will be a growing demand for tighter global restrictions and regulations for businesses that use SMS.

Regulators in some countries may start talking about the pre-registration of campaigns. As a result, businesses that use SMS may need to allow more time when planning their communications.

However, tighter regulations could increase audience trust in SMS. More trust would mean that business text messaging maintains its high click-through and conversion rate.

More businesses will start to text

Four different cartoon people using their mobile phones

Even though it might seem like business text messaging is everywhere, it’s still relatively young.

Almost every business uses email marketing.

Yet, only 49% of marketers use SMS marketing in their current strategies. However, 73% plan to start using it soon.

Our prediction

This one is pretty obvious — we predict that SMS will go through a growth spurt in 2024.

Especially when you consider that 98% of people texting would recommend it to another business. That’s some solid word-of-mouth marketing.

The time to trial an SMS platform, start sending, or extend your text strategy is now. Get going before all your competitors get in on the action.

Transactional needs to become actionable

SMS works wonders for notifications, reminders and any transactional messages. Everybody loves being in the loop.

However, customers want more than just one-way updates. Often, they’d like to respond and take action in the most convenient way possible.

For example, imagine you run a hotel. A couple has booked a room for the weekend. You could send them a booking reminder. Or, you could improve their experience by giving them options to change their reservation, pre-order breakfast or upgrade their room.

That’s just one example of how to make a transactional message actionable. If you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider what action they’d like to take next, you can apply this approach to every transactional message you send.

Our prediction

Many businesses will make transactional messages actionable. They will need to consider how to turn one-way notifications into two-way conversations.

The key will be anticipating their customers’ needs or frustrations. And making sure they provide clear options to solve them.

We’re likely to see a rise in SMS automation and integrations as customers’ replies trigger actions. Along with the growth in SMS for customer support.

Plus, the eventual rollout of RCS messaging will give businesses more scope to add multiple calls to action.

Our experts love talking about all things text. We’d be happy to chat with you about how you can bring SMS to your business or expand your current strategy to meet audience needs.

Reach out to us. We’re available 24/7.