Business rich communication services (RCS) messaging has been waiting for its turn in the spotlight for well over a decade now. 

The long-awaited replacement to short message service (SMS) was first conceived back in 2008 but the progress of the new messaging platform has been stuttering at best. Many would call it an utter shambles.

For consumers at least, RCS is now available to all android users in the U.S. as Google rolled out the new messaging platform in December.

But where does this leave businesses and organizations that want to use RCS to market and communicate with their customers?

What is business RCS messaging?

RCS is the evolution of the clunky and outdated text message. SMS is over 25 years old and despite being an incredibly powerful and responsive channel, its replacement is well overdue.

With RCS you can send images, video and share files. The new protocol supports read receipts and read notifications. Essentially it does everything that you’d want in a messaging app.

It doesn’t have any killer features to trump other apps but has the distinct advantage that it works in the same way that SMS does. As long as you have a mobile number, you’ll be able to send an RCS message.

At least, that’s the theory.

Business RCS faces multiple challenges

This leads us to the long list of problems that RCS faces before it can become a viable alternative to SMS.

Marketers are longing to get their hands on it. It could transform the way they communicate with their customers. But until all the issues are solved, RCS could be a spectacular failure.

On evaluating its chances of success, Tim Green from Mobile Ecosystem Forum said:

 “RCS is – for now at least – classic ‘vapourware’. It’s something that might take off… at some point in the future… we’re not sure when. “

– Tim Green

It’s highly unlikely that Apple will ever adopt RCS business messaging

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Apple is not going to adopt business RCS in the foreseeable future. It competes with its own iMessage and there is no reason why Apple would want its iPhone users moving away from it.

In a recent interview, Nick Lane from the UK-based research company Mobilesquared, said:

“In terms of supporting RCS business messaging, that won’t happen. Why would they want to do that?”

Nick Lane

As an alternative to RCS, marketers will need to deliver a text message to iPhone users containing a link to a mobile-optimized landing page that replicates the content of the RCS message.

It’s going to be highly complex and expensive to implement. For most, the benefits will not outweigh these additional hurdles.

Business RCS pricing is still unresolved

Industry insiders have been demanding some sort of resolution on pricing for the past three or four years and yet, we’re still waiting for clarity on what sending a business RCS is going to cost.

Nick Lane at Mobilesquared referred to the lack of progress as “groundhog day.”

A few pricing models have been suggested but these have all been complex or unrealistic.

RCS is different from SMS in that it encourages ongoing communication, rather than a simple one-way push of information. An RCS message flow might include multiple messages and interactions.

So unlike SMS, you need to have a pricing model that allows for multiple RCS but without the costs spiraling out of control.

One suggestion is to have a “cost per session.” Once an RCS conversation has begun, you simply pay a flat fee for a set period, probably 24 hours.

Another more outlandish idea is to set the price of RCS based on the profit that results from the RCS exchange. Thankfully this idea seems to have quietly disappeared. It would have been unworkable and impossible to regulate.

RCS tokens

Mobilesquared appears to be taking the lead on pricing with its token-based proposal.

Their suggestion is that you would purchase a block of RCS tokens from your RCS provider. Different types of RCS messages would use different numbers of tokens.

If you were sending a simple image then you might use one token but if you had a scrollable element or button options, then you would use two.

How this would work in reality is unclear, as there will be almost infinite numbers of ways that an RCS message could be presented.

The whole pricing of business RCS is still in utter chaos and without a universally agreed approach, RCS simply can’t be used.

RCS messaging is not encrypted and can lead to hacking

Surprisingly RCS, unlike most other messaging apps, is not end-to-end encrypted. It uses the same rules and protocols as SMS.

Network providers can keep records of all RCS messages in a fully readable format and these could be accessible to anyone with legitimate legal access.

More recently there have been troubling security concerns when German security company SRLabs demonstrated that RCS could allow hackers to access SMS and voice data. Sloppy implementation of RCS by both Google and carriers could allow messages and calls to be intercepted or altered at will.

SRLabs founder Karsten Nohl argues that:

“RCS gives us the capability to read your text messages and listen to your calls. You’re going to be more vulnerable to hackers because your network decided to activate RCS. If you put out a new technology for a billion people, you should define the whole security concept.”

– Karsten Nohl

10 years on and we’re still in case study mode

As the years drift past, we still haven’t seen any examples where companies are using RCS as an integrated part of their customer communications.

There have been some very eye-catching case studies, notably Subway who achieved a 140% uplift in sales with their RCS campaign in early 2019. 

The latest RCS campaign from Papa Johns in the UK achieved a 23% uplift compared to SMS.

But these campaigns are all one-off marketing tactics. You send an RCS message and then measure the sales and compare it to your usual response rates. Then you dash off a press release, trumpeting your success which is then gleefully published in the world’s marketing press.

But this is all a bit thin. We don’t see any companies who have taken RCS to the next stage of its development.

Until we see examples where a company has integrated RCS into all their other communications and tackled the complexity of having a solution for iPhone users, RCS will remain on the fringes, with promising potential but never quite delivering.

Unsustainable response rates

The fast food RCS case studies have produced impressive response rates. But it’s unlikely that these sky-high results will be sustainable.

As users become accustomed to the new messaging, then response rates are likely to settle down to levels that are similar to SMS.

Unless you believe that RCS messaging can increase the amount of pizza sold globally, then we’re bound to witness a readjustment to the high levels of engagement that the early case studies delivered.

A long and uncertain road ahead for RCS

With the catalog of issues facing RCS business messaging, it’s hard to predict when and even if it will become a credible option for marketers.

Just one of the problems would be challenging enough but with so many forces working against it, RCS may never emerge as a fully formed communication platform.

Optimism, goodwill and great case studies will only get the new channel so far. If RCS is to become a success, we need to see wide adoption in the next 12 months or it may sink without trace.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Henry is a two-time entrepreneur, founder and director of The SMS Works, a low cost and robust SMS API for developers. He’s been involved in SMS and mobile marketing since 1999 and helps companies of all sizes develop integrated mobile strategies. Henry also writes on a range of topics from mobile marketing to entrepreneurship.


  1. I read this article fully on the topic of the comparison of newest and preceding technologies, it’s amazing article.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something.
    I believe that you could do with a few p.c.
    to force the message home a bit, but other than that, that is great
    blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  3. I think this is among the most vital info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The site style is great, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good job, cheers

    Take a look at my web blog …

  4. This is the right blog for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not
    that I personally would want to…HaHa). You
    definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time.

    Great stuff, just great!

    my blog post; download epicwin

  5. I’m extremely inspired together with your writing
    skills and also with the layout in your weblog.
    Is this a paid topic or did you customize it your self?
    Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to see a great blog like this one today..

    my web-site; gem playboy2

  6. Heya terrific blog! Does running a blog like
    this require a great deal of work? I’ve no understanding of coding however I
    was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, if you have any suggestions or techniques for new
    blog owners please share. I know this is off topic nevertheless I just wanted to ask.
    Appreciate it!

    my page – joker123 login ios (Susanne)

  7. Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

    My blog – pussy888 ios download –,

  8. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure.
    Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Good day very cool web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful
    .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also?
    I am glad to find so many useful info here in the post,
    we want develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

    Also visit my site: i1 club suncity

  10. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the
    excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

    My blog … hengheng2 calibet

  11. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to grasp so much about
    this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something.
    I feel that you simply can do with a few p.c. to pressure the message house a little bit, however other than that, this is fantastic blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

    My page;

  12. After looking at a handful of the articles on your site, I really like your way of writing a blog.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the
    near future. Please visit my web site too and let me know what you

    Also visit my webpage

  13. I used to be suggested this web site through my cousin. I am not positive whether or not this submit is written via him as nobody else recognize such certain approximately my trouble.
    You’re incredible! Thank you!

    My website

  14. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your
    website, how could i subscribe for a blog web site?
    The account helped me a appropriate deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of
    this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent

    Also visit my site

  15. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am
    going through problems with your RSS. I don?t know why I cannot subscribe to it.

    Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone who
    knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    Also visit my site –

  16. I will immediately clutch your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription link or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly let me recognise in order that I may just subscribe.

    Here is my website

  17. I’m extremely impressed along with your writing skills as smartly as with the structure for your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent
    quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a great blog like this one today.

    Feel free to surf to my site –

  18. I love what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to
    my own blogroll.

    Review my web-site … Breanna

  19. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and
    would really like to have you share some stories/information. I
    know my visitors would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send
    me an e mail.

    Also visit my blog post ::

  20. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward
    this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

    my blog post:

  21. Greate article. Keep writing such kind of info on your site.
    Im really impressed by your site.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]Hello
    there, You have performed a fantastic job. I’ll certainly
    digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I am sure they
    will be benefited from this web site.

    Feel free to surf to my blog …

  22. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering issues
    with your RSS. I don?t know why I can’t join it. Is there anybody
    having identical RSS issues? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond?

    my homepage …

  23. I wanted to follow up and allow you to know how great I liked discovering this blog today.
    We would consider it a real honor to do things at my place of work and
    be able to utilize tips discussed on your website and also participate in visitors’ responses like this.

    Should a position connected with guest writer become available at your end, i highly recommend you
    let me know.

    Also visit my web blog …

  24. I’m extremely impressed with your writing abilities and also with the format for your weblog.
    Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to look a great blog like this one today.

    My site …

  25. Wow, amazing weblog format! How lengthy have you ever
    been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The whole look of your web site is fantastic, let alone the content material![X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I simply couldn’t leave your web site
    before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info an individual provide to your guests?
    Is gonna be again ceaselessly to check up on new posts.

    Also visit my blog ::

  26. I’m really impressed with your writing talents and also with the structure to your blog.
    Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice
    high quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a nice blog like this one
    these days.

    My website …

  27. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  28. I am extremely inspired with your writing skills and also with the structure on your weblog.
    Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it your self?
    Anyway stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare
    to look a great weblog like this one nowadays.

    My web blog …

  29. I’m excited to discover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!!

    I definitely loved every bit of it and I have you
    book-marked to see new stuff in your site.

  30. Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone4.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix
    this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share.

    Feel free to surf to my homepage:

  31. Hi there would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re
    working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

    Here is my blog:

  32. Thanks for any other informative web site. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal approach?

    I have a challenge that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been on the glance
    out for such information.

    Look into my web-site –

  33. hello!,I really like your writing very a lot!
    proportion we be in contact more about your post on AOL?
    I need a specialist on this space to resolve my problem.
    Maybe that is you! Taking a look ahead to see you.

    Also visit my website: Eldon

  34. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you will be a great
    author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back at some point.
    I want to encourage continue your great
    job, have a nice afternoon!

    Feel free to visit my blog;

  35. obviously like your website but you need to test the spelling
    on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and
    I find it very bothersome to inform the truth on the other hand I’ll certainly come again again.

    Also visit my website …

  36. If some one wants expert view on the topic of blogging
    and site-building after that i advise him/her to
    pay a quick visit this web site, Keep up the pleasant job.

    Check out my web site Cecil

  37. I enjoy you because of your entire work on this website.
    My mom takes pleasure in working on research and it’s really obvious why.
    Most people know all concerning the powerful way you create helpful items on this web blog and in addition boost response from visitors on the subject matter then our own child is actually learning a great deal.

    Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year.
    You have been performing a remarkable job.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I’m extremely inspired along with your writing skills as neatly as with the layout for your
    blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize
    it your self? Either way stay up the nice high quality writing,
    it is rare to peer a great weblog like this one
    these days.

    My webpage ::

  38. I’ve learn several just right stuff here.

    Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put
    to create this sort of wonderful informative site.

    Have a look at my homepage ::

  39. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and
    I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back
    and aid others like you helped me.

    Here is my website ::

  40. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this fantastic blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and
    adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to
    fresh updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook
    group. Talk soon!

    Also visit my web site –

  41. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared
    to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they
    plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top
    as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    Here is my homepage

  42. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I
    find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give
    something back and help others like you aided me.

    Also visit my website

  43. Thanks so much for giving everyone an exceptionally superb chance to read in detail from here.
    It’s usually so enjoyable and as well , jam-packed with a great time for me personally and my office acquaintances to
    visit your web site a minimum of 3 times per
    week to read the latest issues you have. And indeed, I’m also
    always fascinated with your eye-popping techniques served by you.

    Selected two tips in this posting are ultimately the most efficient we have ever had.

    Stop by my homepage ::

  44. That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the
    blogosphere. Brief but very precise information…
    Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

    Review my web blog –

  45. Unquestionably imagine that that you said. Your favourite reason appeared to
    be on the web the easiest factor to remember of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as other people consider
    issues that they plainly don’t recognise about. You controlled to hit the
    nail upon the highest and also outlined out the whole
    thing without having side-effects , other folks could take a signal.
    Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

    my web site …

  46. I as well as my friends happened to be reading through the
    best information located on your site and then I got a horrible
    feeling I never thanked the blog owner for those techniques.
    All the people ended up as a result joyful to read all of them and have now unquestionably been using
    them. Appreciation for getting well kind and then for getting some useful resources millions of
    individuals are really wanting to be aware of. Our honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to sooner.

    Here is my web site …

  47. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet
    I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty
    worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post –

  48. Greetings I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by error,
    while I was searching on Digg for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to
    say many thanks for a marvelous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS
    feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a
    lot more, Please do keep up the great job.

    Also visit my webpage; Male Dominator Supplement Reviews

  49. Whats up very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..
    I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?
    I’m glad to search out a lot of helpful info here within the
    post, we want work out extra strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

    my homepage; Deanna

  50. I’m really impressed along with your writing skills and also with the
    layout to your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it your
    self? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare
    to see a great weblog like this one these days..

    my web-site:

  51. You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be really something that I think I would never
    understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely vast
    for me. I’m having a look ahead to your next put up, I
    will attempt to get the hold of it!

    my web site: ReMind Solution Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.