Texting used to be a very basic form of communication. People with phones could only communicate over simple SMS text messages, that had to be less than 160 characters, with no options for photos, videos, or any other files. In fact, many abbreviations in texting developed simply because the SMS medium that texts were delivered over was so limited in size and functionality.
But as technology has advanced and become more flexible and powerful, the features that go into texting have also become more advanced and functional. While this can be seen in more direct ways like being able to send longer messages and multimedia files over text, many more subtle features have been added, including read receipts. Even though they are comparatively small to other features, read receipts have a huge impact on how people text today. Here is what they are, and why they are important.
What Is A Read Receipt?
A read receipt is essentially a small message that is sent between phones to indicate when someone has opened up your text thread, and most likely read a text message that you sent. It’s a very helpful little feature that allows you to know when your message has actually been read, as opposed to just delivered.
Due to the highly specialized nature of read receipts, they typically require the use of a shared dedicated text messaging service. SMS or MMS messaging, which are the most popular forms of texting in the world today, don’t support read receipts. They typically can only send messages, and won’t receive other types of messages than the standard text and multimedia messages.
A variety of different third party texting services use data or wifi tend to use read receipts. Apps like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger typically support these features, simply due to their more tightly integrated ecosystems.
However, one of the most common first party texting systems actually supports this feature as well: Apple’s iMessage. iMessage is a text messaging service that is included in almost all Apple products, and is one of the best integrated and most feature rich texting services in the world. If you or anyone you text has an iPhone, that means that you both are capable of sending read receipts. It’s a feature that makes texting on iPhones much more appealing to many people, and makes using SMS and MMS messaging much less exciting by comparison.
However, over the past few years, Android phones have started to catch up with Apple phones in terms of read receipts. The advent of RCS (Rich Communication Services) texting has allowed a large number of Android smartphones to have the features of read receipts and typing notifications, just like iPhones. This means that many Android phones are now also able to make use of these features. While it is still as common as SMS, MMS, or iMessage texting, RCS is bringing more native features to different kinds of devices.
How Can You Enable Read Receipts?
The process for enabling read receipts on your phone differs depending on whether you have an Apple smartphone or an Android smartphone. While the overall process is very similar, the actual way that it works is specific to your operating system. Here are the processes to enable read receipts on both kinds of devices.
Since this feature is native to iMessage, it is very easy to find and enable this feature.
- Open up the settings app.
- Scroll down until you see the “Messages” tab. It is in the same section of the app as many of the other native iPhone apps, like Notes, Calendar, and Phone. Open the “Messages” tab.
- Scroll down until you see the “Send Read Recipts” switch. This typically defaults to being activated, but you can turn it off or on depending on your preference.
- When set to on, it will allow other people to be notified if you have opened up their text messages to you, as well as the time and date that it was read.
It is important to note that you don’t need to have this option enabled to see other people’s read receipts, and it will only impact whether your phone sends read receipts. That means that your read receipts can be off, but you can still see other people’s.
The Google Messages app supports read receipts, which means that most Android phones should natively support them, because the Google Messages app is the most common native text messaging app on Android phones.
- Open the Google Messages app.
- Open settings. This is the button with three dots or lines on the top of the screen.
- Tap on “Chat Features,” “Text Messages,” or “Conversations.” The actual verbiage used will often depend on the brand of the phone or operating system that is being used. If none of these options are immediately available, they will likely be found under the “More Setting” tab in the settings menu.
- In this menu, you will be able to find the “Read Receipts,” “Send Read Recipts,” or “Request Receipt” options. Again, these will depend on your specific phone.
- Toggle these settings on or off, depending on your preferences.
- Another option that is available is turning on delivery receipts. These don’t tell you if the message was actually read, but it will indicate if it was delivered to the person’s phone. This can be found by going to “Settings” and then “Advanced.”
Again, turning on these settings will only impact what your phone sends out, and won’t impact what other people’s phones do. If the settings on the recipient’s phones are set to on, then you will be able to see if they have read your messages.
How Do Read Receipts Work?
Read receipts are fairly natural and easy to understand in the way that they work. Basically, when you open up the texting app and see different text reads with notifications by them, it will show that new texts have been delivered to you, but have not yet been read. When you open up the text thread, it automatically sends out a read receipt to the other person in the text thread, letting them know that you have at least opened up their message.
This means that it’s generally important to be intentional about opening up text messages. If you open a message and don’t respond for a long period of time, it can potentially send an unintentional message that you don’t care about the message enough to respond. While that may not be the intention, it’s still generally important to make sure that you don’t open a message unless you are able to quickly respond.
If the person who you sent a message to has their read receipts enabled, then they will automatically send a read receipt when they open the message. Some people don’t have receipts enabled, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell. If you send messages to them and they respond to you, but there is still no read receipt, odds are good that their read receipts are disabled.
How Community Tells You Message Are Read
With Community, there are typically not regular read receipts that go along with text messages. That’s because the massive scale at which community works doesn’t generally work well with the way that read receipts are typically sent out.
However, Community’s platform actually offers something that can often be a lot better than just a simple read receipt - analytics. If you are a small business or public figure who is sending out links and forwarding your community to other places, Community actually helps to show when your community actually interacts with what you send. This can help to inform how you interact with your community, and can help to inform decisions you make as a business or professional.
It isn’t quite the same as read receipts, but in a functional way, it actually provides a lot more useful information. There are many case studies done by Community that have shown that analytics have made a huge impact on the effectiveness of Community texts, and have displayed a huge increase in the amount of interactivity.
Due to Community’s highly specialized service, Community leaders can have access to this critical information through the app. It can be a game changer in terms of how you interact with your community, and inform decisions that you make when interacting with people.
Read receipts are one of the most subtle, yet most helpful parts of modern texting. While they may not be as dramatic as being able to send pictures and videos, they definitely make texting a much more interactive and personable experience.
Community uses its analytics resources to further enhance the interactions that are made over text, and can allow people to have much more intentional and personalized interactions. These make it so that your text based marketing strategies are much more effective, and your community is much more deeply connected to you and each other. To learn more about the power of high level text marketing, check out our website today!