Email Preferred Over SMS For Promotions, Especially In U.S.

by , Mar 28, 2012, 9:27 AM
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Smartphone-Email-iconDon’t expect mobile messaging to replace the struggling email platform anytime soon. According to a worldwide survey of mobile users by Ipsos, 75% of consumers said they preferred to have brands or stores send their promotions via the in-box. Even more revealing is that age proved to be of little significance in the response, with only 28% of the under-35 demo opting for SMS compared to 25% among 35- to-49-year-olds and 22% of the 55-64 segment. Curiously, women seemed more willing to take promotions from text messages (27%) compared to men (24%).

Ipsos analyst Jill Wiltfong admits there are a range of reasons that explain why consumers still prefer email over text. The cost of texts still weighs on many consumers’ minds. I tend to think that attitudes toward the SMs channel are still pretty protective. Since SMS is the message we almost always check, there is just no tolerance for irrelevance. Wiltfong says that Ipsos finds relevance correlates with levels of acceptance. “When the right message -- or offer -- is delivered at the right time and place, the mode of delivery becomes far less of a factor.”

Of course, with a range of channels now available to people and marketers, consumers are likely to distinguish different roles for each and parse their communications accordingly. Wiltfong reminds us that email was widely viewed by consumers many years ago with a special kind of intimacy. “Email promotions, when they were new many years ago, were very difficult for consumers to accept,” she tells me. “But time has lessened that opinion and feeling of obtrusiveness. It's easy to suspect that over time, texted promotions will feel less obtrusive as well.”

The responses to the question also varied markedly by country. Ipsos fielded this survey with about 1,000 respondents in each of 24 nations. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, 48% preferred text promotions, and in South Korea 43% did.

It turns out that the United States is the second-most text-sensitive country of all, with 86% of respondents saying they preferred email and only 14% saying they wanted offers and promotions via SMS. Great Britain is the least tolerant of text offers, with 87% saying they want email instead. 

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