Messaging • Last Updated 10/18/2023

What is OTT messaging for business?

Discover the benefits and challenges of using OTT messaging for your business’s communication needs.


By Kelsie Anderson

Woman checks phone. Title card reading: What is OTT messaging for business.

Clear communication is key to attracting and maintaining customers. Appropriate messaging tactics and targeted campaigns are, of course, critical for successful customer communication. However, businesses often forget one of the most critical communication fundamentals: using the right channel.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how persuasive your tone is or how many great discounts you offer. If customers never see your messages, your efforts will be useless.

OTT (over-the-top) messaging is one of the tools that helps address the issue of meeting customers where they are. In this article, we’ll explain what OTT messaging is, its benefits and challenges, as well as its future prospects.

What is OTT messaging?

OTT messaging refers to the transmission of messages over the internet, without the involvement of traditional telecommunication networks. With the rise of smartphones and the increasing availability of the internet, OTT messaging has become the preferred mode of communication for millions of people worldwide.

WhatsApp, by far the most popular messaging app, has over 2 billion users worldwide—over 700 million more users than the second-most popular app. That’s still fewer people than the number that use SMS (5 billion) or email (over 4 billion). However, the growth of alternative messaging apps—WhatsApp has grown by over 200 million users on average every year since 2012—makes OTT messaging worth keeping an eye on.

At its core, OTT messaging offers a convenient, cost-effective, and user-friendly alternative to traditional SMS messaging. It allows users to send and receive messages, images, videos, and voice notes using data or WiFi connections.

The benefits of OTT messaging

A number of benefits have contributed to OTT messaging’s widespread adoption. The main benefits include:

Cost-effective communication

OTT messaging’s reliance on data or WiFi connections makes it a cost-effective mode of communication. Using an internet connection rather than the traditional phone network means users can send and receive messages, images, and videos without incurring additional charges.

In contrast, traditional SMS providers charge per message, making it more expensive, especially when sending messages internationally.

Enhanced user experience

Compared to traditional SMS messaging, OTT messaging offers a more enhanced user experience. With OTT messaging, users can send and receive images, videos, and voice notes, making communication more personalized and interactive. Moreover, OTT messaging apps offer additional features such as group chats, emojis, and stickers, making communication more engaging and fun.

Global reach

OTT messaging has a global reach, making it ideal for international communication. Since OTT messaging doesn’t require sending a message to a traditional phone number, users can communicate with people from different parts of the world without incurring additional charges.

OTT messaging’s minimal number of barriers has made it an essential tool for businesses with a global reach, as it allows them to communicate conveniently and cheaply with their clients and partners across borders.

Challenges of OTT Messaging

Despite its numerous benefits, OTT messaging still faces several challenges. Primary challenges include:

Security and privacy concerns

OTT messaging apps are susceptible to security and privacy breaches, making them vulnerable to hacking and data theft. These breaches have raised concerns about the safety of personal and sensitive information shared over these apps. Moreover, some countries have imposed regulations on OTT messaging apps, requiring them to provide access to users' data, which may compromise their privacy.

Network dependence

OTT messaging is dependent on data or WiFi connections, which can be unreliable in some regions. In areas with poor internet connectivity, users may experience delays or difficulties in sending and receiving messages.

Interoperability issues

Since OTT messaging apps aren’t always compatible with each other, it can be difficult for users to communicate with individuals using different apps. The development of multi-platform messaging apps has made it easier for users to communicate with others using different messaging apps. However, compatibility issues can still cause issues.

The future of OTT messaging

OTT messaging is rapidly evolving, and its future prospects look promising. Here are some of the trends that are shaping the future of OTT messaging:

Integration with AI

OTT messaging apps are integrating AI-powered chatbots to enhance their functionality. These chatbots can perform various tasks, such as booking appointments, providing customer support, and delivering personalized recommendations.

Emphasis on security and privacy

To address the concerns raised by users and governments, OTT messaging apps are placing greater emphasis on security and privacy. Some initiatives include adopting end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication (2FA), as well as providing users with more control over their data.

Expansion of features

OTT messaging apps are expanding their features beyond messaging to offer additional services such as mobile payments, games, and social networking. These new services aim to create a more comprehensive platform for users, enhancing their overall experience.

Use OTT messaging for your communication needs

OTT messaging offers a cost-effective, convenient, and user-friendly alternative to traditional SMS messaging. It has several benefits, including enhanced user experience, global reach, and cost-effective communication. However, it also faces several challenges, such as security and privacy concerns, network dependence, and interoperability issues.

Despite these challenges, the future of OTT messaging looks promising, with trends such as integration with AI, emphasis on security and privacy, and the expansion of features. As the world becomes more connected, OTT messaging will continue to play a vital role in facilitating communication across borders and enhancing the user experience.

Businesses and individuals that embrace OTT messaging can enjoy the many benefits it offers, while taking steps to address its challenges. However, while OTT messaging is a useful tool, it’s important to remember that it’s just one piece of your overall communication stack. Email, voice, and SMS/MMS channels are still critical for reaching your customers wherever they may be.

With a global, private network that provides secure, reliable communication and local numbers in over 140 countries, Telnyx’s Voice and SMS APIs can help you contact customers across the globe.

Contact our team of experts to learn more about how our tools can help you reach your customers.

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