The Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging market is both vast and varied. Nothing stays the same for long and the only REAL barometer of how the industry is truly doing surely can be through speaking to the people whose lives we are attempting to impact – subscribers, consumers – and asking them? Well, this is what we have continued to do here at MEF, year after year. On behalf of MEF, On Device Research surveyed 6,500 smartphone users, 650 in each of 10 markets.

Dispelling the A2P Myths

Mention the topic of A2P and it’s easy for many to fall into the trap of thinking it’s all just about SMS and chat apps – so what some might call ‘text messaging’. But that would be to make a mistake. SMS might have been around for 29 years but the Internet has been around for almost a decade longer – January 1st, 1983 is considered the official birthday. And without the internet you wouldn’t have email.

Email as a digital channel might not be the topic of multiple panels at business messaging events or getting masses of column inches in industry journals the world over but few truly understand just how important it still is when it comes to enterprises and organisations wanting to interact with their customers or indeed potential customers. It plays a huge role today and you’ll be pleased to read that we have not forgotten that important fact in our A2P survey questioning.

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With the industry initiatives that exist to attempt to block fraud and spam everywhere, we’d all like to think we are winning the war but the jury is out on that one. The likes of spam are most definitely still out there and collectively we must work together and double down on our efforts to protect consumers everywhere.

Key Findings

  • Young Users Are The Least Targeted

Think mobile gaming and other apps and young people surely constitute the sweet spot marketeers the world over are aiming to convert into purchasers. Yet young people are the least targeted by A2P channels and furthermore use P2A the least as well. They also have a very fragmented channel usage profile…

  • Has Email Reached Its Climax? The Debate Still Continues

P2P email usage has been overtaken by SMS and OTT this year. Even where A2P user preferences are concerned, OTT and SMS combined yield higher results. Yet in terms of transaction volume, the industry still seems to be over-reliant on email

  • Fraud Concerns Have Increased

With 71% of survey respondents either moderately or very concerned about fraud in messaging this means the situation has worsened over the past year. None of us can rest on our laurels

  • ‘Mobile First’ Economies Lead Usage

94% of users in China and 92% in Brazil receive commercial messages. The survey average across all respondents might be 89% but the USA lags at 83% so there is plenty of headroom left for growth.

A2P Messaging continues to capture the imagination of so many who are part of the MEF community. Two-thirds of our members sit within our Future of Messaging (FoM) programme and over the past year it has been exciting to see the many and varied digital channels coming into play where A2P is concerned. The era of true conversational commerce is upon us and whilst much of the limelight goes to the richer messaging channels out there, the old faithful continue to do so much of the heavy lifting globally – think the likes of email and SMS. Never forget the role they play. And the fact that we across the mobile ecosystem all have to do far more to reduce the fraud concerns so many consumers have. They’re real and the only way we will truly get a handle on them is by collaborating effectively. Something we at MEF give you, the industry, ample opportunities to do. Use them!

James WilliamsMEF Director of Programmes