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SMS link previews, the long-awaited evolution of mobile messaging!

24 Apr 2020 - 3 min read

The latest update for Messages, the Google application for sending SMS brings with it loads of new features for Android smartphones. Among these new features, a new preview for received links, a massive revolution for SMS marketing.

Android’s messaging application follows closely on the heels of Samsung which has already been offering this functionality for a few weeks now, as well as iOS, but with some limitations. The market is ready to fully use this new functionality.

Image showing mobile phone screen with a clickable link

The sms link previews allows you to view and set:

  • A title
  • A page description
  • An image
  • A URL

All these elements can be customised and will be an excellent tool to get users to interact with the message.

The appearance of a visual in the SMS is a great tool to counter the failure of MMS!

The SMS preview: a powerful CTA

Without a doubt, an SMS with a preview is a powerful CTA to get users to click. Vodafone recently announced a click rate 8 times higher for SMS with a preview. By giving visibility of the page being shared, the user is reassured and their customer journey is improved.

Pros:

  • Size of SMS is bigger
  • SMS click zone is bigger
  • Contents viewable
  • Information is customisable to get users to click
  • Customers feel more confident with a link that they can preview
  • No extra cost

Cons:

  • To receive a preview, mobile data must be available
  • Users must have a mobile compatible with this new functionality

Image showing phone handset before and after preview link

The preview works in the following way: The messaging app reads the landing page and displays the first data that it collects to create a preview: a title, a description, an image and the URL.

First data? Not always! By configuring the Open Graph tags of the page, it’s possible to control this data and customise it. These tags are integrated into the code of the webpage and allow for there to be a preview of the sites when they are shared on social networks or in a messaging application (WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger).

What’s new is that the Messaging application now has is capable of reading these tags and displaying these previews directly to the messenger.

Previews: a new game changer

This new feature will quite simply provide an enhanced user experience for SMS. These previews can work for any landing page: a web site, a Rich SMS link or a redirection link.

It is now essential to implement these tags during the creation phase of a mobile campaign. The decision to display or not link previews is the user’s and not the company’s. This means that by not working with these tags, there is the risk of displaying incorrect information. These unchecked previews take away from the user experience of your SMS and could, in the worst of cases, even be incoherent with the message.

Image of phone screen showing comparison of with and without link preview

So, it’s essential to use a developed messaging solution to carry out SMS campaigns containing links at risk of providing contents that are inconsistent with the campaign.

It’s also easier to create a Rich SMS on the myElefant platform to guarantee proper data management, rather than using a link that is resent to a mobile site or with unchecked contents.

Article originally published on the myElefant blog site – November 2018

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