You may be of the opinion that SMS marketing is a vestige of a bygone era, being taken over by more advanced forms of mobile marketing as more and more of the general population take to using smartphones. According to a new white paper published by leading UK SMS marketing platform Textlocal, however, you’d be wrong, very wrong in fact.

The white paper, titled ‘The State of SMS,’ takes a look at mobile marketing in a society which, according to the latest estimates from Ofcom, has a massive 91% mobile usage among UK adults, with 71% smartphone usage.

Time and again throughout the white paper, the statistics show that SMS marketing is the fastest growing marketing channel in the UK, with a huge amount of potential for businesses. At the end of 2016, 37.2 million consumers had opted in to receive business SMS, with this figure expected to rise to a staggering 48.7 million by the year 2020.

Not only is SMS marketing the UK’s fastest growing channel, it is also one of the most effective. According to the white paper, of the 7 billion business texts that will be sent this year, an average of 98% of mobile users will read the text, while 90% of those 7 billion will be read within the first three minutes of being sent.

SMS marketing has also been found to outperform mobile marketing – such as mobile search advertising & video bumpers and banner ads – in many different categories. For example, SMS has an 8% response rate for taking the action of going in-store to make a purchase, double mobile advertising’s 4%.

Furthermore, of the 37.1 million people who receive business SMS, the response rate revealed by ‘The State of SMS’ is 23.5 million, a proportionately huge number. Compared to the peak email response rate of 23% across all industries, the fact that the white paper lists the average response rate for a bulk SMS campaign as 32% shows just how effective SMS marketing can be, preferred ahead of even Facebook, Twitter and app push notifications.

But it seems that businesses aren’t yet taking advantage of all SMS marketing has to offer, as, across all researched sectors, businesses will only operate the SMS channel at 38% capacity, which means they will fail to reach more than half the consumers who are willing to receive business SMS.

However, according to Jason Palgrave-Jones, Marketing Director of Textlocal, this could all change in the shape of an increasingly “mobile-first” society, with SMS taking its rightful place among other marketing channels. “My point is; there’s a change in emphasis and businesses are starting to take note of text messaging. Of course, like any other marketing channel, SMS requires a certain level of thought.” Palgrave-Jones states; “But the underlining fact remains; SMS is here and will continue to grow in 2017.” So it is up to businesses themselves to realise all the potential that SMS marketing represents in the years to come.