You pull out your phone and shoot a message to your friend about a new restaurant that they’d love. Have you sent an instant message or a text? Though both are often just referred to as ‘messaging,’ they’re actually different actions.

Whether you’re sending an IM or a text, you’re still messaging someone. But instant messaging uses the Internet to send messages via an application, whereas texting uses your cellular phone service.

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This is the primary difference between instant messaging and texting, but there are several other facts that make each a distinct action.

What’s The Difference Between Texting And Messaging?

When you send a message using your phone’s built-in messages application, that’s texting. But you’re instant messaging if you use a third-party system, such as Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, or Skype. These apps are also known as ‘over the top’ or OTT applications.

Your phone’s messaging app uses your cellular phone service to send messages, which is why you can send texts anywhere you have service. Instant messaging uses the Internet, so you need to be able to connect to the Internet or wi-fi.

Usually, this means that texting is a more reliable method of communication. You can send texts whether you’re at home, out running errands, or traveling.

But with the rise of public wi-fi and hotspots, the Internet is more accessible than ever before. So unless you’re somewhere with limited Internet access (or no access at all), chances are you can also use instant messaging.

However, the method through which messages are sent isn’t the only way texting and instant messaging are different.

Instant Messaging vs. Texting: More Differences

The way in which messages are sent via IM or text isn’t the only difference between these two methods. There are other differences that further separate them, including:

  • Character Limit – Texts are typically limited to 160 characters, whereas IMs can be significantly longer.
  • Session Duration – Each text represents an independent messaging session that ends after it’s delivered; but with IMs, the session stays open until you or someone else disconnects and ends the session.
  • Contacts – Typically, you can send a text to almost any number, even if it’s not a registered contact. But with instant messaging, many platforms require the contact to be a fellow user.
  • International Coverage – International texts are limited based on your carrier plan and may cost an additional fee; instant messaging allows you to connect with anyone, anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection.
  • Device Accessibility – Almost all phones are capable of texting, whether or not it’s a smartphone. Instant messaging apps are accessible via smartphones and other devices that can connect to the Internet, including tablets, laptops, and smartwatches.

Though these differences may not be immediately noticeable for users, they create an important distinction between the two types of messaging.

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Instant Messaging, Text Messaging, and Your Business

Both instant messaging and texting are efficient, effective, and cost-effective tools to reach your customers. They offer a dynamic, user-friendly experience that increases conversion rates and customer engagement.

Despite these benefits, there are even more advantages that businesses can leverage by using texting. Because every modern mobile network and device supports SMS messaging, you’ll be able to reach every customer.

Even if they’re not connected to the Internet or a member of a third-party instant messaging app, you’ll be able to send promotions, notifications, and more.

And with the addition of services like MMS messages, video calling, file sharing, and more, you have even more tools at your disposal to connect with customers.

Leveraging SMS APIs to Boost Your Business

SMS APIs maximize your customer reach via texting. Programmable APIs replace the need for expensive telecom infrastructure and allow companies to send text messages in bulk rather than individually.

Esendex’s SMS API platform is a dynamic, robust service that sends mass texts to your customers in seconds. We offer global, interruption-free reach to more than 190 countries on a Tier 1 SMS network with a 99.9% guaranteed uptime SLA.

And with features like SMS encoding, MMS messaging, short codes, and two-way texting, you can reach more customers than ever before.

For companies that want to add accessibility options or increase their reach with complementary communications software, we also offer services like voice broadcast API.

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