Back to all articles
WhatsApp 101
How to's

WhatsApp marketing, SMS marketing, email marketing: how do they compare?

Marketers are increasingly turning to WhatsApp to reach their customers more authentically. The question is, will it replace your SMS and email marketing?

Kiosk CEO - Paul Lafforgue - Expert in WhatsApp Marketing
Paul Lafforgue

Co-founder & CEO @Kiosk

Kiosk - WhatsApp marketing, SMS marketing, email marketing: how do they compare?

Marketers are increasingly turning to WhatsApp to reach their customers more authentically. The question is, will it replace your SMS and email marketing?

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, connecting with your audience isn't just about broadcasting messages—it's about choosing the right channel to spark conversations and build relationships. Whether it's the immediacy of WhatsApp, the reliability of SMS, or the depth of email marketing, each platform offers unique pathways to engage with your customers. Let's dive into what makes each channel stand out, and how you can leverage them to enhance your marketing strategy.

WhatsApp marketing: the dynamic communicator

WhatsApp has quickly grown from a messaging app to an indispensable marketing tool, connecting over 2 billion people worldwide. It's like having a direct line to your customers, enabling real-time conversations that feel personal and genuine. With features that support rich media and interactive messaging, WhatsApp breaks down the barriers between businesses and consumers, turning every message into an opportunity for engagement.


Enhanced open rates: The immediacy and personal nature of WhatsApp drive open rates that traditional channels can rarely match, ensuring your message isn’t just sent but seen and considered.
Rich multimedia: Beyond text, WhatsApp enables the sharing of vibrant images, engaging videos, voice messages, polls and buttons, enriching the conversation and making every interaction personal memorable.
Global reach: With its extensive user base, WhatsApp erases geographical barriers, allowing your message to reach corners of the globe.
Centralized consumer experience: From getting their questions answered about their next purchase to finding out about your next sale, WhatsApp puts everything in the same place for a coherent experience with your brand.


Dependent on internet connectivity: Its reliance on an internet connection could limit accessibility in regions with limited connectivity, potentially missing segments of your target audience.
Opt-in constraints: The requirement for users to opt-in before receiving messages means building your audience can take time and strategic effort, initially limiting reach.

SMS Marketing: the reliable messenger

SMS marketing's main strength lies in its broad reach and reliability. It's a channel that doesn't depend on internet connectivity, ensuring that messages are delivered to almost any mobile phone worldwide. This makes SMS an excellent option for time-sensitive alerts and reminders. However, its text-only format limits the ability to engage users with compelling content, and without the interactive functionalities available in WhatsApp, SMS campaigns can feel one-dimensional.


Accessibility: SMS's universality ensures your message reaches virtually anyone, anywhere, without the need for a smartphone or internet, making it the most inclusive form of digital communication.
Guaranteed visibility: The simplicity of SMS, combined with high open rates, means your messages are not just delivered but also read, making it a powerful tool for immediate communication.


Content limitations: With just 160 characters, messages must be concise, limiting the depth of communication and the ability to engage audiences with more complex messaging. Images, buttons, and polls are also not possible via SMS, meaning content can be quite dry.
Cost implications: For businesses with extensive contact lists, the per-message cost associated with SMS marketing can become a significant expense, impacting the overall budget.

Email marketing: the content king

Email marketing is versatile, allowing for detailed storytelling and a wide range of content formats. It's the go-to channel for delivering long-form content, newsletters, and promotional offers. Email platforms offer sophisticated segmentation and automation tools, making it possible to customize campaigns based on user behavior and preferences. Yet, the clutter of modern inboxes and the challenge of standing out among countless promotions have made it increasingly difficult to capture users' attention, leading to lower engagement rates compared to WhatsApp.


Diverse content capabilities: From text and images to embedded videos and interactive links, email supports a tapestry of content types, enabling creative and comprehensive storytelling.
Adapted to long-form content: For content marketing with an editorial or thought-leadership focus, email marketing is necessary. You can send out thought-provoking deep dives that carry a lot of value for your audience.
Cost-effective: Offering one of the highest ROIs in digital marketing, email allows for extensive and repeated engagement at a fraction of the cost of other media.


Lower open rate: Standing out in an overcrowded inbox demands creativity, relevance, and timing, challenges that require continuous innovation in strategy and execution.
Heightened spam sensitivity: The ever-present challenge of spam filters means that even legitimate, well-intentioned emails risk being unseen, necessitating careful attention to content and delivery practices.

Conclusion: WhatsApp and email, an engagement powerhouse

We think there is a time and a place for each platform. While email lays a foundation for in-depth content, WhatsApp offers a platform for dynamic, interactive exchanges, and SMS ensures critical messages achieve immediate visibility.

The increasing sophistication of WhatsApp marketing software, like Kiosk, suggests that there will most likely be a future where WhatsApp reduces reliance on traditional SMS - especially since most of us nowadays spend as much time connected to the internet as we do breathing. With open rates of 98%, WhatsApp enables personalized, direct, interactive, and rich engagement with your customers - but leveraging email marketing for long-form, in-depth content still has its place.

For now, the optimal mix of communication channels will depend on your brand’s unique audience, objectives, and priorities.

If you still have questions about WhatsApp marketing, we'd be happy to answer them for you. Get in touch with us here, and if you like, we can give you a demo of Kiosk.

If you intend to use this component with Finsweet's Table of Contents attributes follow these steps:
  1. Remove the current class from the content27_link item as Webflows native current state will automatically be applied.
  2. To add interactions which automatically expand and collapse sections in the table of contents select the content27_h-trigger element, add an element trigger and select Mouse click (tap)
  3. For the 1st click select the custom animation Content 27 table of contents [Expand] and for the 2nd click select the custom animation Content 27 table of contents [Collapse].
  4. In the Trigger Settings, deselect all checkboxes other than Desktop and above. This disables the interaction on tablet and below to prevent bugs when scrolling.