Google RCS vs. Apple Messages for Business

Today’s customers are looking for mobile-friendly, conversational experiences with brands, in which they can conveniently engage, search and purchase all from the same channel. Emerging from this trend are three particular channels: RCS Business Messaging, Google’s Business Messages (GBM) and Apple Messages for Business (AMB). All three provide rich, conversational experiences from the comfort of your customers’ mobile screens. 

There are differences in how communication on these platforms are initiated, and they have different entry points, but each has significant potential benefits for improving customer comms and engagement.

In this post, we’re going to explore the similarities and differences between RCS, GBM and AMB, and look at the best ways to use them for marketing, support and nurturing.

What is RCS messaging?

RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a messaging channel that includes rich features, such as carousels, rich cards, quick-reply buttons and call-to-action buttons. It’s actually been around for a while too – longer than both WhatsApp and iMessage. RCS was first available in 2007, but it didn’t gain as much traction as other messaging services until 2015. It was then that Google ran with it and carriers started getting more interested, and started making RCS plans of their own.

How it improves on SMS:

  • Supports sharing of rich media
  • Includes read receipts & typing indicators
  • Supports more group chat features
  • Can integrate with various services, enabling users to interact with businesses & organizations directly in the app
Example of RCS message

It’s worth noting that RCS differs from RBM (RCS Business Messaging) as RCS is P2P (person-to-person), while RBM is A2P (application-to-person).

A few other points about RCS messaging:

  • IP-based messaging service
  • Branded & verified sender
  • Used for person-to-person and application-to-person comms
  • Multimedia messaging capability available on native phones without the need to download an app
  • Has not been available on iOS but Apple will support RCS by 2024

The fact that RCS is an upgrade on SMS means it provides a more interactive and engaging customer experience when used for business communications. But what about the other options?

What is Google’s Business Messages

Google Business Messages (GBM) is a channel with entry points via Google Search, Google Maps, Answer Cards and brand websites. Customers can use GBM to choose products and service options, schedule appointments, or be guided to a relevant team. 

Businesses can use this messaging channel to create asynchronous communications experiences that help customers achieve what they want to achieve quickly and easily. It provides customers with a simple way to get in touch with a business from the various entry points mentioned, and creates a way for businesses to respond promptly. 

Google's Business Messages example

Benefits of GBM:

  • Text options to contact a business reduce incoming calls & associated resource requirements
  • Consumers don’t message from their phone number, so that means no carriers or messaging app restrictions
  • All messages are encrypted
  • Messages and media are branded and verified which increases trust

What is Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business gives consumers the ability to message your business directly from their iPhone, Mac, or Apple Watch. And similarly to Google Business Messages, customers can connect with you via branded entry points – namely, Apple Maps or Spotlight search. 

Apple Messages for Business example

Also like Google’s offering, Apple Messages for Business lets users choose products – including seeing products showcased with a 3D feature –  and purchase options, book appointments and reach out to a business without the need to download a separate app. Rich-text capabilities mean business agents can send text, in-channel slideshows and other media to help customers get the information they need to help them convert.

The differences between RBM vs GBM vs AMB

So, what are the main differences between RCS, Google Business Messages (GBM) and Apple Messages for Business (AMB)? And which channel might be best for your business? Let’s focus on the first question first and look at the main features of each messaging option. We’ve laid them out in a table so that you can see their similarities and differences clearly:


  • Users: Android, iOS (promised by 2024)
  • Entry points: Brand-initiated alerts, campaigns and push notifications
  • Who initiates: Brand-initiated, customer can respond to message & re-engage later
  • Rich features: Yes
  • Use cases: Marketing: promotions, back in stock reminders, cart abandonment triggers, product recommendations
  • Benefits: Proactive customer support, customer lifecycle management, soon available to Android & iOS users, native, verified & branded sender, engaging communication, rich features, true metrics


  • Users: Android & iOS (if they have Google Maps installed)
  • Entry points: Google Search, Google Maps, Third-party message links
  • Who initiates: Customer-initiated, customer can respond to message & re-engage later
  • Rich features: Yes
  • Use cases: Customer support: respond to inbound queries, deliver support during buyer’s journey
  • Benefits: Call reduction, rich support experiences, brand discovery


  • Users: iOS
  • Entry points: Search, Apple Maps, Spotlight search, website button, app button, social media, QR code, NFC tag
  • Who initiates: Customer-initiated, customer can respond to message & re-engage later
  • Rich features: Yes
  • Use cases: Customer support: respond to inbound queries, deliver support during buyer’s journey, promotion (after user initiates first message)
  • Benefits: Call reduction, rich support experiences, brand discovery

While all three channels have their strong points, when used together or in conjunction with SMS or email, that’s when you can maximize their potential. RCS is great for conversational marketing, and encouraging people to move down the funnel. On the other hand, GBM with ABM help cover the entire android and iOS market from search to pay. This was certainly true for our client CIAK Auto, who saw great results from a combination of Google Business Messages and Apple Messages for Business.

When should I use RCS, GBM, or AMB?

The best time to use one or more of these platforms of course depends on what you want to achieve, but we’ll give a quick overview of which should work best for different uses.


As mentioned, RCS messaging is business-initiated – in other words, outbound, though once the conversation is initiated a user can reach out via this conversation. This means that it can be a great option when your organization wants to launch a marketing campaign or begin a new process of lead generation. Though once a business has initiated the first conversation, the user can reach out for support on the same chat. One benefit worth reiterating here is that, according to Apple’s prediction, RCS will be available for users on Android and Apple by 2024 – something the platforms below can’t offer.


Because of their similarities we’re grouping GBM and ABM here. Both are customer-initiated, so provide a valuable opportunity to respond to users who reach out to businesses, and to use the channel to support and engage them all the way through to making a purchase. They provide invaluable entry points too to encourage productive communications.

As we’ve just mentioned, each platform is limited to either Android or iOS users, but as the case study above from CIAK Auto shows, harnessing both GBM and ABM can lead to impressive results.

How to integrate different messaging channels

RCS can be easily integrated with your existing systems via API, enabling you to use all the rich features, as well as campaign analytics. Using a single omnichannel communications platform, Infobip can help you connect RCS to the tech and tools you and your customers already use, and optimize the customer experience. 

To achieve the full potential of RCS as a conversational marketing tool, our customer data platform can help leverage customer data to create hyper-personalized campaigns. These can be further automated with our customer engagement solution Moments, to create a chatbot-like experience. And because it’s still vital to have human involvement, our contact center solution Conversations can help you get the best results.

While RCS is a boon for conversational marketing, AMB and GBM can provide an end-to-end conversational experience. And via our communications platform you can integrate a customer data platform to track customers from the get-go. Then leverage our customer engagement solution, chatbot building platform and contact center solution to create the entire experience.

Make it easier to connect with your customers

RCS, GBM and AMB clearly have their differences, but each has something valuable to offer your business – whether now or in the future. 

Each channel supports rich media sharing and offers an interactive way to support customers towards making a purchase. And each can be easily integrated into your existing systems to help optimize your customer communications – both outbound and inbound.

RCS will soon be available on iPhone, learn all you need to know

Apple RCS coming soon
Feb 15th, 2024
6 min read