Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: What’s the Main Difference?

Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: What's the Main Difference?

Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: What’s the Main Difference?

Most consumers now prefer text messaging over phone calls. However, some confusion still exists about group text messaging vs. mass texting. Many users in their 50s and younger ignore or mute phone calls but respond almost instantaneously to a text message, so understanding the difference is critical. What is the main difference between the two and which method should you use? The answers depend on a few key factors. Learn more about group text messaging vs. mass texting and when to use each form of communication. 

Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: Side-by-Side Comparison

Group Text MessagingMass Texting
What It IsSMS or MMS messages sent to a small group of recipientsSimple messages sent to hundreds or thousands of recipients 
Primary UsePrivate consumers initiating a group conversationBusinesses sending marketing messages
Cost EfficiencyMost phone providers include unlimited texting in all packagesText marketing companies charge per number of message recipients 
How It WorksYour messages go to a group you select. Everyone can see the messages and all replies. A texting service sends your messages to a predetermined list of recipients. Replies can be allowed if necessary. 
RecommendationIndividual consumers wishing to start a conversation with a limited number of recipientsBusinesses wishing to send marketing messages, appointment reminders, and other similar communications
Millennial male in spectacles using a video chat app on modern cellphone device using 4g wireless during coffee break at street terrace, happy Caucaisan hipster guy in optical eyewear chatting and texting
Many phone users ignore or mute calls but respond almost instantaneously to a text message.

Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: What’s the Difference?

Group text messaging is featured on virtually every brand and model of smartphone. Simple SMS and more detailed MMS messages with graphics are supported. A user creates a list of recipients by selecting them from their contacts list. The maximum number of recipients in a group depends on your mobile device and service provider. Most phones allow you to create multiple groups of recipients for different purposes. Create your message and send it to the group. 

Mass texting sends a single message to multiple recipients simultaneously, creating separate, private conversations with each recipient. There are typically no limits on number of recipients. Users can send tens of thousands of messages. Text messaging’s overwhelming popularity makes this a tremendous communication method for businesses to interact with clients and subscribers. 

Functionality Concerns 

Group text messaging is a great option, but it has some drawbacks. MMS messages with images or icons may not be displayed correctly on some phones. For example, some iPhone text messages may appear differently on Android phones.

Mass texting generally must use simple messages that can be displayed on any type of phone since they are sent to thousands of recipients and the sender has no way to know what type of phones are being used. 

Privacy Concerns 

Group text messaging allows all your recipients to reply to your message, but everyone in the group also receives this message. So, this may be difficult to manage if you’re asking a question that demands a response. Plus it can be irritating to your group to receive all the replies. It is not the best option if some responses should not be public.

Most mass text messages are informational and require nor accept replies. However, any messages that do require a reply are a private conversation between the sender and the recipient. An example would be a large group of appointment reminders requiring the recipient to verify their appointment.

Cost Concerns

Modern service providers know the popularity of text messaging and most allow unlimited text messages, including group text messaging. However, most only allow a limited number of group recipients, like 30. However, there is no cost per message as in the early days of text messaging. You can send group text messages if you have a phone service plan.

Mass texting requires a marketing service that offers this form of communication. Providers typically charge for each recipient, with the cost becoming smaller with more recipients. For example, they may charge $0.03 per message for the first thousand recipients, $0.01 for between 1,000 and 5,000 recipients, and $0.002 for 5,000 recipients or more. 

History of Text Messaging 

On December 3, 1992, software engineer Neil Papworth used his computer to message Vodafone director Richard Jarvis. The message simply read “Merry Christmas,” but this was the first text message ever sent due to the fact that Jarvis received it on an Orbitel 901 cell phone. This first text message received no reply. 

Text messaging caught on in the early 2000s when better cell phones made creating and sending messages easier. At the time, providers charged for every message sent, and these were limited to simple 160-character SMS messages. No graphics or icons were available. More modern MMS messages caused the use to explode, and providers eventually included unlimited texting in their basic phone service packages. 

Statista reports that text messaging in the United States reached 162 billion messages in 2006 and 2.4 trillion messages in 2011. Use has since fluctuated with a strong resurgence in 2021 to 2 trillion messages. Newer messaging alternatives like iMessage and WhatsApp are likely responsible for the dips in text messaging. 

Man using iphone smartphone
Most users respond to texts within five minutes.

Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: 7 Must-Know Facts

Group Text Messaging vs. Mass Texting: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Group text messaging vs. mass texting is relatively easy to understand. Group text messaging is a better option when you have a small list of recipients and don’t mind if everyone can see each other’s responses. Mass texting is best if you have a large list of recipients and want to send them all the same message. Mass texting is a great way for businesses to send one-time marketing messages or start individual, two-way conversations with contacts who respond. 

Group text messaging is also affordable because it is built into most provider service packages. Modern smartphones include many ways to personalize these messages to improve communication and use. However, you are restricted to a smaller number of recipients per group. Additionally, responding to each message individually can be time-consuming and even confusing. Mass texting services offer great features like automated responses and keyword identification that help businesses respond better to contacts. However, a large number of recipients can make this marketing tactic costly over time. 

Examples of When to Use Group Text Messaging

  • You need to make sure your child’s baseball team knows the time of the next game. 
  • You need to order team uniforms and want to ask team members for their sizes. 
  • You are organizing a birthday party and need to share important information with invitees. 
  • You need to send all your family members critical information. 
  • You want to share this article with a select group who could use it. 

Examples of When to Use Mass Texting 

  • Your office needs to ask patients to confirm upcoming appointments. 
  • Your company wants to send new product information to subscribers. 
  • Your business is closing early and needs to share this information with subscribers. 
  • Your school is under a security lockdown, and you must notify parents. 
  • Your company is planning a special sale event, and subscribers are notified first to take advantage of the benefits. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the first text message sent?

On December 3, 1992, software engineer Neil Papworth used his computer to message Vodafone director Richard Jarvis on his Orbitel 901 phone. There was no reply to the one-line message.

Is group text messaging still used today?

Yes. Group text messaging is still very popular when users want to start conversing with multiple recipients.

How many recipients can I include in a group text message?

The number of total recipients you can include in a group text message will vary with your phone and service provider. Most limit groups to about 30.

How many recipients can I include in Mass texting?

Mass texting allows users to create enormous groups that all receive the same message. Text marketing companies can facilitate groups numbering into the tens of thousands.

What are the costs of group text messaging vs. mass texting?

Most phone service providers include unlimited texting in their basic packages, so sending group texts does not incur an additional cost. Text marketing companies provide mass texting and typically charge per number of recipients.

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