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Why texting is a must for increasing mobile app adoption in the Philippines

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Kristela Panesa

Content Writer

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16 Mar 2022
6 min read

Why texting is a must for increasing mobile app adoption in the Philippines

Cisco’s Asia Pacific SMB Digital Maturity Study of 2020 revealed that despite the growing internet penetration rate of 73% in the Philippines, 73% of the region is still digitally indifferent to several reasons including the lack of digital literacy to use complex applications. 

One solution that businesses can implement to bridge the digital divide is to utilise a platform that the Filipino people are already familiar with – a short message service or SMS.

SMS still captures hearts today 

Despite the growing popularity of mobile phones, social media apps, and messaging software in the country, mobile text messages still occupy a special place in the hearts of the Filipino people. With over 149 million mobile subscriptions in the country, sending SMS to your Filipino audience could be the key to increasing your business’ mobile app adoption.

The Philippines was dubbed as the texting capital of the world when phone calls, texting, and international roaming started gaining popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, even hitting a record high of sending an average of 250 million messages a day in 2005

Although the country has evolved since 2005, with more communication channels present in the market - Facebook Messenger is now considered the most used chat app in the country with an 89% penetration rate with Viber following in second place - Filipinos remain fond of using the free service SMS on their mobile phone. 

Rakuten Insight indicates that 37% of Filipinos experienced an increase in texting on their iOS or Android devices last November 2020, showcasing the nation’s clear attachment to the platform. 

5 reasons why SMS helps improve  app adoption

High open and read rates 

90% of SMS text messages are read within the three first minutes — that’s a stark difference from the 20% open rate of email marketing, which shows the leading impact of SMS. Unlike emails, an incoming text message goes directly through the messages app. You can rest easy knowing that your Pinoy audience will immediately see your message. 

Direct, immediate, and reliable 

An SMS text message ensures that your users stay posted on anything important even without a stable internet connection. If mobile apps rely too much on online messaging alone, there’s no guarantee that their users will receive or see their messages immediately.

But through the help of SMS, users of the mobile applications stay updated and informed even in settings with poor internet connectivity, so long as there is mobile coverage available.

Reaches a wider demographic 

Filipinos are already used to texting, making it much easier to reach a wider audience, regardless of how tech-savvy they are. Most users can easily buy a SIM card in their local store to make phone calls or send SMS text messages to another mobile number.

Text messages can help marketers expand the mobile app’s reach to a wider demographic without having to worry much about user experience. You can use SMS to build your application’s reputation as a user-friendly platform, even for those who find modern tech challenging. 

Suitable for multiple deployments 

SMS messaging is flexible enough to be deployed for various strategies. Besides helping businesses spread awareness of their newly developed app, text messages can also be used to promote the app’s features or help users create their online accounts without the need for a web browser. 

With the help of two-way SMS, a feature wherein virtual numbers are used to help users receive inbound and outbound messages, you can invite your target audience to pre-register for your app or a short demo! 

Local banking apps in the country have used SMS messaging to send out two-factor authentication to verify newly a registered phone number or to connect a new device. Users receive a short code that they can use to activate their new online account on the said mobile app. 


An SMS text message is affordable enough to help businesses reach their audience without breaking the bank – compared to email marketing, texting costs less than sending out large volumes of emails. Not to mention that SMS marketing’s unexpected high return on investment (ROI) makes it worthy of your investment.

How to boost mobile app adoption with the help of texting

Spread the word

Awareness is a crucial element in boosting a campaign's ROIs. If the Pinoy community remains unaware of the existence of your application, it’ll be difficult to convince them to download it in the first place. 

Use SMS to highlight the value that your mobile software offers. You can talk about the problems that your app aims to solve or you can offer them app-inclusive promotions or discounts. Because Filipinos aren’t always necessarily connected to the internet, text messages offer a powerful way of promoting your app without reliance on connectivity. 

Ensure an easy onboarding experience 

A study on the acceptance and use of technology revealed that effort expectancy greatly affects user behaviour. This means that the harder it is for a person to use a mobile application determines whether they’ll continue to use the said system in the future. 

You can make the process of downloading your new app easier by providing a link to it in your text messages! By doing so, your users no longer have to go through other platforms like App Store or Google Store to look for your software. 

Additionally, you can utilise a two-way SMS function to help users pre-register for your app. You can invite your target users to pre-register for your mobile app by sending their personal information via text and using the details they’ve sent to pre-fill your app’s registration form once they download the software. 

Share guides and send invitations for demos

In addition to improving effort expectancy, businesses can also utilise text messages to share how-to guides or invite users for a short demo.

For example, if your support team has developed short guides or a set of troubleshooting tips for the software, they can promote this via SMS.

Should users find themselves having difficulty understanding the guide you’ve provided, you can also invite them for a short demo of the mobile application. You can include an SMS code that they can use if they want more help navigating their way through your app on their new device.

Thanks to the well-established relationship that Filipinos have with SMS and reliable mobile networks in the region, software developers have the chance to elevate their products and stand out amongst their competitors. Texting has plenty of untapped potentials, making it the perfect strategy to improve app adoption rates.

If you want to learn more about the power that texting offers to your mobile app adoption, make sure you check out Whispir’s guide on increasing app adoption rates or reach out to our team of experts for more information. 

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