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SMS stands for Short Messaging Service, most commonly known as text messaging. SMS messaging involves typing and sending a brief, electronic message from one mobile phone to another. A user can also synchronize a message via the Internet to a mobile phone. An SMS message can also be sent from a mobile phone to an email address. Organisations can also use SMS to send mobile phone alerts to mass audiences. When used at the right time and in the right context it can be a very efficient means of providing value to your audience.

A good example of SMS in use!

Many food safety agencies have set up SMS allergen alerts to inform subscribers of the presence of allergens in inappropriately labelled foods. Click here to read more about the use of SMS by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Advantages of SMS

  • MMS, multimedia messaging service, which is an enhancement to SMS text messaging, allows the transmission of images, audio and video files along with the text message.
  • Text messaging is quickly becoming a vital tool for the delivery of health information and engaging users to improve their health. Recent research indicates that interventions delivered by text messages have positive short-term behavioural outcomes.
  • Important features of SMS delivery include dialogue initiation, tailoring of content, and interactivity.


Disadvantages of SMS

  • There is a character limitation. SMS text messages are designed to be short, so if you're trying to send anything of importance, or anything lengthy, think again.
  • SMS texting is not perfect and occasionally texts do not make it to the intended recipient.
  • Messages sent using services such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Skype chats are becoming increasing more popular than SMS messaging because users of these services are not charged per message but by overall data cost.

Learn more!

Get Going!

  • How to set up SMS messaging
  • Tips for successful SMS messaging

SMS Fact

Unlike desktop computers or even laptops, mobile phones are nearly always with the person. Many of us are rarely more than a few feet away from our mobile phones, and more often than not, they are in our hand or in our pocket or purse.

Klasnja P. & Pratt W. (2012).