Apple embraces RCS in iOS 18—and marketers should be celebrating

The news: At its annual WWDC event, Apple announced that its Messages app will support Rich Communication Services (RCS) in iOS 18, marking a significant shift in how communication between Android and iOS devices will function.

  • This move is expected to phase out SMS, replacing it with a more advanced and feature-rich messaging standard.
  • The announcement follows a period of heightened industry pressure and regulatory scrutiny from the EU.

Why it matters: With numerous brands already running RCS campaigns globally, especially in Android-dominant markets like India, Brazil, and Mexico, the US should see a surge in RCS adoption following the iOS update. This shift will not only improve communication but offer marketers a powerful tool to enhance customer interactions and achieve better outcomes.

  • Apple's adoption of RCS is particularly significant for marketers. Some US marketers are already deploying RCS campaigns, and with Apple's support, their reach will likely expand dramatically. Companies like Best Buy, Subway, and Warby Parker, which already use RCS, can now engage more effectively with a broader audience, including iPhone users who previously couldn't use RCS features.
  • The iOS introduction of RCS addresses several current limitations in cross-platform messaging including lower-quality media, truncated messages, and no end-to-end encryption; RCS solves these issues.

Our take: Apple's endorsement of RCS will revolutionize mobile marketing, providing a robust platform for richer, more engaging customer experiences. As marketers adapt, expect innovative and effective campaigns leveraging RCS's full potential, including the following:

  • More immersive and interactive customer experiences, including personalized messages and videos for individual users that should increase engagement and relevance.
  • The addition of alternative response options, such as quick-reply buttons to streamline interactions with chatbot-like features powered by RCS.
  • Location-based suggestions guiding users to nearby stores or local deals.
  • Dynamic carousels that can allow users to swipe through various options.

Go further: Read about the big Apple Intelligence announcement at WWDC.

First Published on Jun 10, 2024