Text To Me

After a not-so languid summer (thank you, mobile-delivered email), we are into the conference and summit season with a vengeance. At any number of upcoming gatherings that focus on mobile, speakers will discuss how to innovate with new mobile ad units.

I expect there will be lots of interesting discussion around applications, video, the mobile web and in particular, the announcement that Google is returning to pay-per-call as a mobile ad format. According to analyst Greg Sterling, Google experimented with pay-per-call and click-to-call functionality in AdWords several years ago on the PC and then killed it. Now it appears that Google is revisiting this emerging new mobile monetization ad format.

This makes good sense. When building mobile ad units, it's critical to take the device into account, but also how people use it most. That folks make mobile or "voice" calls is an obvious assumption, but know going in that most teens hardly ever call anyone. They text. According to Nielsen, they sent almost 3,000 text messages each per month as compared to making only 191 calls in Q4 of last year.



In fact, the best way for advertisers to engage this demographic is with conversational SMS ad units. An old format, but when leveraged effectively can be fun, personal, relevant and extremely effective. In addition, there are ways to leverage calling (or voice) to extend SMS ad units with creative response-based Text-to-Call (TTCall) and even a Text-to-Call Back (TextToConnect) CPC ad units.

How can you, as a marketer leverage the conversational features of the mobile device? At ChaCha, we use that as a "hook" to get teens and young adults to talk to you. We help you ask them questions about their likes and dislikes, hobbies and activities in the language they understand -- texting. Once we have them engaged, we give them a way to reach you or hear from you in your our own "voice."

Embed an 800#. Make it trackable so you can measure different creative executions. Take a cue from the Obama campaign and record a message or a song. Teens and young adults will call a number to hear a recording and often act on whatever they hear if the message is strong and targeted. At ChaCha, use that as a "hook" to get teens and young adults to talk to you.

Here's another idea. Let them text a keyword to get a call back from you using "TextToConnect" ad units. A real, live person can then call them back, answer their questions or help them with a purchase. This feature has been wildly popular with young adults because they have so little patience. They don't want to sit on hold for hours waiting for a sales pitch or help with something.

Remember: Phones are primarily for conversation. SMS, or texting is the preferred method of conversation by teens and young adults. So, when marketing to teens on mobile devices, SMS ad units are the best way to engage them. Once "hooked," advertisers can get them to call, or have an advertiser call them back.

1 comment about "Text To Me ".
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  1. Elliot Benn from, October 1, 2009 at 3:16 p.m.

    Susan! Great stuff! SMS has always been to me the gateway to a number of mobile interactions.As a very smart mobile mind said to me "the connective tissue". Using SMS to click to video, click to a wap site or initiate a phone call has proven to be an extremely effective way to reach that mobile user,and in this case, teen. Keep up the great work at Cha Cha.

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