RCS: The New Frontier of Rich Messaging

4 minute read

Rew Golding Senior Director, Product Marketing & Management

It’s not often that news breaks in the mobile messaging industry like this: Apple has announced it will support Rich Communication Services (RCS) in 2024. After pressure from regulators and competitors (including the European Union, Google & Samsung), RCS will eventually be coming to iPhones next year.  

Why should you care about this news? Well, this means that RCS will eventually be able to replace SMS, as it will soon be supported across all mobile devices. At Upland, we believe RCS is the next frontier of mobile messaging, alongside iMessage, Facebook Messenger, & WhatsApp, all providing the much-needed advanced messaging features for the phones of today.

As we move to a world with more channels, we need to focus on why we are using these types of communications in the first place: to connect and engage with people. At Upland, we know a thing or two about building audience engagementwe send over 2 billion text messages a year for our customers. We will be supporting the move to RCS in 2024 and wanted to share the benefits we believe users will gain by utilizing it.

Better customer experience 

We all want to give our customers the best experience possible, and that includes giving them peace of mind that they’re really talking to you. We believe one of the strongest features of RCS is verified sender, as it helps build trust between you and your audiences. Your message will appear as sent from your brand (e.g. Upland), rather than an unknown phone number, plus all sender IDs are verified by Google themselves.

A few other features worth mentioning are the addition of read receipts—how many times have you wanted to know if your SMS’ have been read? Also, typing indicators and better sharing of weblinks all help you provide a better customer experience than you would previously be able to via SMS.

Next-level audience engagement 

SMS is great, but it only gets you so far when you want to increase engagement with your audience. Enter the possibilities of rich mediahigh-resolution images, video, GIFs, & QR codes to name a few. We believe this will be a game changer for those wanting to grab their audience’s attention. For example, receive more zero-party data than ever before by sending an interactive poll with a choice of favourite mid-day snack or increase onboarding rates by sending a link to a YouTube video explaining how your sign-up process works. The possibilities are endless, but some use cases may be more helpful than others in certain industries. To shine some light on what this could look like, we’ve highlighted the following:


Make replying faster and easier by implementing suggested replies and one-touch actions e.g. re-schedule an appointment time by providing the customer with three button options: 13:00, 13:15, or 13:30. One-tap is all that’s required to re-schedule using suggested replies. 


Streamline operations by sharing stock’s geolocation throughout the supply chain. Or use QR codes to launch and send RCS messages when urgently needing to order a new part for example.  

Marketing agencies

Rich media (e.g. images, videos, & GIFs) wouldn’t be without another mention especially for marketing & sales campaigns. However, one advanced feature we’re excited about is rich card carousels. Scenario: a customer asks if you have any gifts for the holidays under $15. A carousel will help you showcase up to 10 products matching these criteriahelping you keep the person engaged and navigate them to your site, all within their messages.  

Success for you & your customers 

What is clear are the positives not only for you, but your customers as well by upgrading from SMS to RCS. If you are wanting to grow your business, RCS could help you get there. 

If you’re currently using SMS, consider RCS. If you’re not currently using SMS, why not? It could be seriously beneficial to your communications strategy—just ask us, we can help. 

We’re excited for this next phase in mobile messaging. We truly believe it will revolutionize customer experience, customer engagement, and marketing & sales. 

These thoughts from Dan Doman, Upland’s Chief Product Officer, sum up how we feel: 

“The announcement by Apple is fuelling an exciting trajectory for RCS, which supports our commitment to innovation in mobile and rich messaging. Mobile messaging is a cornerstone of the Upland product portfolio, and we are excited to build cutting edge capabilities that put our customers in a position to drive greater engagement.” 

Let’s buckle up for the ride!

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