Africa’s largest content platform as a service (CPaaS) provider, SMSPortal, has seen the COVID-19 pandemic intensify the demand for Content-as-a-Service, with some 1.3 million businesses using app-to-peer (A2P) SMS in 2020, according to their data.

“The CaaS market is growing massively, both globally and here in SA,” says James Pearce, co-founder of SMSPortal. “Today, the total number of businesses now using this channel, globally, is just under eight million, which is an increase of 20% on the number using A2P SMS prior to the pandemic.”

Given the impact of the pandemic and of course, the dispersed working environment most find themselves in today, it has been critical for Governments and organisations to find quick and easy ways to communicate around lockdown requirements and vaccine rollouts – and A2P delivers this.

“We don’t see this changing past the pandemic either,” adds Pearce.

“A2P messaging services enable businesses and governments to deliver, at scale, whatever message they need, via a simple SMS. While the types of SMS being sent will still include the standard one-time-PINs (OTPs) and alert notifications, the big change, however, will be those with additional rich content and we have already seen this shift where such content already constitutes over 30% of SMSPortal’s own traffic.”

SMSPortal believes that the trend around rich content SMSes will continue, and even increase, post-pandemic, as it gives consumers a complete journey to engage without them having to do any of the heavy lifting themselves.

The SMS marketing channel grew at a handsome rate in 2020 with 48.7 million people choosing to receive business SMSes, Predictions also suggest that the number of SMSes will increase by nearly 40% in 2021 with SMS subscribers potentially reaching 8 billion by 2023. What’s more, GMSA statistics indicate that Africa’s smartphone adoption will also continue, with some 475 million people in the region expected to be mobile Internet users by 2025.

“As a result, the majority of consumers in Africa will soon be able to access rich mobile content delivered as a service – so the appetite is definitely there and the growth is certain to follow,” says Pearce.

Engaging consumers by providing relevant and personalised information is no longer a luxury but a prerequisite. As consumption patterns and markets shift, a company that can engage with consumers, in the manner that is best and most accessible for them, is the one that wins – and CaaS has already demonstrated a compelling case.

“The so-called humble SMS will continue to evolve. In fact, it has the power to become an entire engagement channel and a direct e-commerce tool, as A2P messaging evolves further, and the rise of content hungry consumers continues in 2021 and beyond,” concludes Pearce.

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