If you’ve read our SMS Marketing eBook, you’ll know that the first text message, sent from Neil Papworth to his Vodafone colleague Richard Jarvis, read “Merry Christmas.” What you might not know is that this historic tech event took place exactly 20 years ago today.

So, it is with great affection that we, along with many others, wish SMS a happy 20th birthday.

Oh what a difference 20 years makes. Today, 8 trillion SMS messages land at their destination every year. To put that number in perspective, it would take the average adult (sends ~133 messages per week) roughly 1 billion years to send that many messages on his/her own.

As SMS embarks on the next decade of its existence, one thing is for certain: it’s not going anywhere. Sure, messaging apps will put a dent in SMS traffic, but competition is always a good thing in the technology world.

To fully appreciate the force that gives SMS its staying power, we like one analogy best: the ant. Sure, it’s not the flashiest means of transportation on the planet. Leave flash (and the technical challenges flash presents) to channels like app and web. For reliability and consistent output, however, SMS will continue: (a) delivering its payload and (b) far out-punching its weight class when it comes to bang vs. buck.

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