Push Notifications vs. Bulk SMS: What’s the Difference?

Push Notification vs. Bulk SMS

Nearly every market has a variety of communication and media tools that might help you connect with your target audience. Push notifications and SMS text messaging are two of the most well-liked and reasonably priced solutions. These tools may appear to be the same from the outside, yet they actually differ significantly.

What are the differences and which is the best alternative between Bulk SMS and push notifications as a means of reaching your audience? This article outlines the distinctions between the two and will assist you in selecting the strategy that is most appropriate for your target audience.

What Are Bulk SMS (Text Messages)?

For text messages delivered via mobile phones, the term “Bulk SMS” is frequently used. As opposed to Apple’s iMessage, which can only be used between Apple devices, Short Messaging Service (SMS) is a universal text messaging service.

Each SMS text message can only include 160 characters. You can input a longer message, but the system will send the recipient many messages, sometimes out of order. SMS messages are delivered via a mobile network, and recipients need an active network to receive them, unlike other messaging systems like iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Bulk SMS cannot be sent via an internet connection because of this.

The advantages and drawbacks of Bulk SMS Service are listed below.


  • Delivery happens instantly.
  • To send or receive messages, the internet is not required.
  • It already has the default app installed.
  • There is a stream of two-way communication available.
  • Companies can monitor delivery status, responses, opt-outs, and other information.
  • Unless it is erased, all communication content is saved and accessible.


  • Without permission, promotional messaging is forbidden.
  • The opt-in process might be difficult.
  • There is a 160-character restriction for messages.
  • Data authentication is difficult.
  • Customers may blacklist your phone number.
  • Messages can be flagged as spam by users.

What Are Push Notifications?

Short, informational messages known as push notifications appear on the recipient’s computer or mobile device. Push messages can have up to 240 characters, however, they should not exceed 40. Rich media, such as images or GIFs, can be included to push messages to enhance the content.

A mobile or web application’s backend uses an OSPNS, or Operating System Push Notification Service, to deliver push notifications. Push messages can be received by anyone with an internet connection; the recipient does not need to be signed up for a mobile carrier’s service or have an active network.

The advantages and drawbacks of push notifications are listed below.


  • One-click, simple opt-in procedure.
  • Users are not obliged to enter their phone number or email address.
  • Real-time delivery of personalized, segmented messages is possible.
  • Links and CTAs may be included in messages.
  • Based on user activities or triggered events, push notifications can be automated.
  • High rates of conversion and open.
  • Rich media messages may include pictures, movies, GIFs, and other types of media.


  • Push notifications can only be received by users who are online.
  • Users must download a mobile app or open a browser to access a website or web app.
  • Push message opt-out and disabling is simple for users.
  • Consumer annoyance and app and notification fatigue may result from the oversaturation of the push notification industry.

Key Differences Between Push Notifications and Bulk SMS

Despite their similarities, SMS text messaging and push notifications have some key distinctions that may affect how your audience perceives your communications. To make the best decision for your organization, you must fully comprehend their distinctions.

The Subject Matter

When it comes to content, push notifications have few restrictions. Push notifications, as opposed to Bulk SMS, provide more creative freedom because they support both text and rich media. The material is sent separately via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) when sending Bulk SMS.

The two also have different amounts of content. Although there aren’t any specific character restrictions for push notifications, there is a general guideline that marketers use to succeed. Push alerts should typically not exceed 40 characters, and successful push notifications with high click-through rates typically have 10 words or fewer.

The character restriction for SMS, however, is 160 characters. The material will be transmitted in numerous SMS messages if it exceeds that limit. Marketers have discovered that customers respond best when only one message is presented to them.

Permission Request Process

Push notifications and SMS messages are both permission-based, which means the recipient must give their consent to be reached. The requirement that businesses obtain recipients’ written agreement before sending commercial or marketing messages via SMS is a significant distinction between the two. Other marketing methods, such as email, text-to-win promotions, or online forms, can be used to obtain consent.

Push notification permission with opt-in seems to be easier to obtain. When consumers access your website or download your app, a notification will ask for their consent. Users can sign up for this with only one click. Through the app’s or their phone’s notification settings, consumers have another option for opting in.

Users can opt out of both SMS and push notifications in a fairly straightforward manner. Users can simply reply to a text message with a keyword like UNSUBSCRIBE or STOP to opt out of receiving SMS messages. They can call the business and request to be removed or they can block the phone number. A few additional steps are needed to disable push notifications; normally, users must access the settings of the device they wish to disable the notifications on. By accessing the settings of the mobile app, users can easily turn off notifications.

The ability to transfer messages from one browser to another must be granted for web/browser push notifications to function. Meaning that the user must turn off alerts on both Google Chrome and Safari if they have both granted permission to receive them.

Display on Screen

The hardware and operating system of a device can have an impact on how a push notification appears. The majority of push notifications can appear on your screen with or without sound and stay there for a brief period of time before settling on the notification center or lock screen. Until the user selects or clears it, the message will then stay on the lock or notification screen. On the actual app icon, push notifications can also take the form of a red badge.

SMS notifications mimic push pop-ups, but users can choose whether to read the text preview or not. Push notifications are transitory, but SMS messages are retained and always available in the device’s default messaging program. Push notifications to vanish after being read or deleted.

Device Compatibility

Regardless matter whether it is a smartphone or not, any mobile device can send and receive text messages. The only need is that a mobile carrier’s cellular network is used to connect the device. Bulk SMS can’t be sent exclusively through the Internet.

On the other hand, push notifications do not require a cellular connection and are compatible with current smart devices, desktop computers, and web browsers. Push notifications can be received on devices with just an internet connection.


Another significant distinction between push notifications and SMS messages is to the impact these marketing techniques have and how users interact with them. When the purpose is specific, push notifications have shown to be highly effective, although SMS messages typically work better for a wider range of issues including travel, critical financial alerts, and reservation check-ins.

According to data from 2021, push notifications typically have a CTR of 35% or higher, whereas SMS messages have a lower CTR of 7%. Push notifications trail closely behind with open rates of 90%, while open rates for Bulk SMS continue to be higher at 98%.

In the end, your business objectives and your target market will determine the impact that either of these tools has on your operation.

Push vs. SMS Text: Which Should You Use?

In their respective domains, push alerts and Bulk SMS are useful and productive. You may choose which technology to use in your overall marketing strategy by knowing the differences between these two messaging platforms and how they each operate. A multi-channel strategy is typically the best course of action for marketing.

Depending on your audience and your growth objectives, you should decide whether to use push alerts or text messages. Push notifications are a great tool to use to boost traffic, engagement, and conversions.  If you’re ready to implement push notifications into your growth and marketing plans, we recommend using Msgclub.

An innovative and user-friendly notification system with an inbox to collect and store messages from all channels is provided by Msgclub. Additionally, Msgclub can quickly add this feature to your application, saving you the time and effort associated with using alternative alternatives.

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