Skip to content

SMS Marketing Simplified

Search Blog

Email vs Text Marketing: Which Approach is Better for Business?

Email vs Text Marketing: Which Approach is Better for Business?

When planning a marketing campaign, there are hundreds of choices to make. Should you use a sans-serif font or a serif one? Should the promotion run for two weeks or a month? But one crucial decision about delivery jumps out: Email vs. text—which is best?

Well, it depends.

SMS and email should both be integral parts of your marketing efforts, but they ultimately fulfill different needs. With that in mind, we’re comparing text message marketing vs. email marketing to help you understand when and how to use them.

Comparison #1: Open Rate

When you spend time crafting clever copy and eye-catching graphics, you want your audience to see them. Ultimately, the percentage of people who open your message—the open rate—plays a critical role in the success of your marketing efforts.

In this category, SMS is the clear winner. With 98% of text messages opened—many of them within minutes—texting all but guarantees eyes on your marketing materials.

Email, on the other hand, has an average open rate of 21%.

The primary reason for this difference is the lack of spam filtering on text messages. While mobile phone carriers are slowly seeing some requirements for blocking perceived spam texts, most messages come through loud and clear. Marketing emails often end up in spam or promotions folders; in these cases, your customers won’t even see your message, let alone open it.

Comparison #2: Click-Through Rates

So, once your customer opens your message, what are the odds they follow through? This statistic is your “click-through rate” (CTR), and, as always, higher is better.

Once again, text messages have the advantage here. Click-through rates average between 20% and 35%, though they can reach as high as 50%. In general, the higher your open rate, the more clicks you’ll have. But even without factoring in the higher open rate, texting still gives better results, thanks partly to sophisticated targeting options.

Case in point: For emails across all industries, the average CTR hovers at around 3%. While this is slightly better than the average rate for PPC ads (1.11% for Facebook and 0.22% for Instagram), email marketing is still no match for SMS in this arena.

Comparison #3: Content Capabilities

When it comes to text vs. email marketing, one of the most notable (and noticeable) differences is the content each option can convey.

By design, text messages are relatively simple. Most marketing texts contain a few lines of copy, a link and maybe an emoji. When you expand to a service that offers MMS messaging, you gain the ability to send pictures, videos, QR codes and more.

As a whole, however, SMS marketing is all about quick, clear messaging. This simplicity has its uses: Time-sensitive notifications, promo code offers and product launches all work well as to-the-point texts.

With email, there’s an opportunity to provide more content. While texts often rely on external linking to paint a complete picture, emails can be as long as you want them to be. You can display long-form content and visuals to customers all within the email—no click-through necessary.

Marketing materials that may be best delivered via email include:

  • Blog posts
  • Success stories
  • Interviews
  • Whitepapers

Overall, there’s no clear winner in this category; it all depends on your goal and how you want your customer experience to go.

Comparison #4: Return on Investment

Your return on investment (ROI) is the benchmark for your marketing campaign’s success. Open rates and CTR are part of the picture, but ROI affects the most important factor: Your bottom line.

On the surface, email marketing campaigns can seem more appealing, as they’re often less costly than SMS campaigns. However, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Remember, customers are more likely to open, interact with and respond to your text messages.

With that in mind, the average ROI for an SMS marketing campaign varies. Some retailers report earning $37 for every $1 spent, but there’s not enough data to make a definitive call. What we do know is SMS is a cost-effective way to revive engagement.

Email marketing has been around for a long time, so we have a pretty clear picture of the average ROI for a campaign: $36 in revenue for every $1 spent.

So, in this category, the race is probably too close to call. Both marketing channels can generate exceptional ROI when used strategically.

Comparison #5: User Experience

SMS and email are both familiar methods of communication that come through on our mobile devices. But which one would a consumer rather receive?

According to a recent poll on marketing messaging, 85% of smartphone users prefer text messages to emails or phone calls.

What makes SMS messages more user-friendly than email? There are a few reasons to consider:

  • Texts are short and sweet – As a marketing tool, SMS doesn’t ask much from its recipient; all it requires is a few seconds of reading time.
  • Texts feel more personal – Because we typically use SMS to communicate with friends and family, a text from a business seems more warm and human than an email.
  • Texts are still new and exciting – Even though many companies successfully leverage SMS marketing, it’s still a novel concept—especially when compared to email. A marketing email feels expected; a marketing text message feels new and intriguing.

Discover the Benefits of Text Message Marketing with Texting Base

With the latest marketing statistics suggesting that text message marketing is more effective than email marketing, the email vs. text comparison appears to be a closed case.

With that said, texting is by no means the only answer; email marketing still has its place in today’s business landscape. However, text messaging boasts several clear advantages, and as long as you follow all TCPA compliance rules, you can improve your marketing strategy. All you need is a partner.

For that, there’s Texting Base. With unlimited contacts, scheduled texts, MMS support, and so much more, there’s nothing you can’t do in your next marketing campaign.

With a free trial from Texting Base, there’s no risk in experimenting with texting and email. Try it today!



Gartner. The Future of Sales Follow-Ups: Text Messages.

Mailchimp. 2022 Email Marketing Statistics and Benchmarks by Industry.

Engadget. New FCC rules could force wireless carriers to block spam texts. 

Forbes. 4 Reasons Why SMS Is The Future Of E-Commerce.

HubSpot. What Is An Email CTR? How to Calculate and Improve It.

Smart Insights. Average CTRs display and search advertising – 2022 compilation.

Forbes. Connecting The Dots On Investing In SMS Post-Purchase Messaging.

HubSpot. The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2022. 

PC Mag. Businesses, Take Note: Your Customers Prefer Texts.