Commentary

Searching For A Free Text Message Option

Dear Google,

Please create a tool that allows me to send SMS text messages for free. You did a great job with the call feature on Gmail. Now it's time to move on to similar mobile features. The carriers will move in to take advantage if you don't create a method to lower SMS campaign costs for advertisers and make it less expensive for consumers to share.

The biggest problem: Carriers can't support the increase in use of services by mobile subscribers in any capacity. For example, when I exceeded my limit of 200 monthly SMS message for $5, my carrier AT&T called to try and sell me more. During the conversation the call dropped and the sales rep had to call me back.

Today, society tells us to share. Share information, content, and knowledge through searches, links and networks. Mobile consumers are prone to share content and broadcast what they do. So, as people increase sharing, and content gets more social, eMarketer estimates staggering numbers for mobile use in the United States outlined in a report released Tuesday.

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1) 94.9 million U.S. mobile gamers in 2014 will generate $1.51 billion in revenue, up from 64 million and $849 million in 2010, respectively

2) 52.2 million U.S. mobile music listeners will generate $676.5 million in mobile music revenue in 2014, up from 52.2 million and $143.2 million in 2010, respectively

3) 56.7 million U.S. mobile video viewers in 2014 will generate $1.34 billion US mobile video revenue in 2014, up from 23.9 million and $548.3 million in 2010, respectively

The question of free or fee content seems to baffle service providers, marketers and advertisers. They don't seem to have a clear footing on what works when. As eMarketer Senior Analyst Noah Elkin explains in the report-Mobile Content: Games, Music and Video Take to the Cloud--consumers will pay if it means unlimited access to music and fewer ads for example. "With app downloads tilting in favor of free apps, publishers and marketers must adopt a multipronged strategy built on a small number of successful paid titles and an extensive back catalog of paid apps that capture long-tail searchers," he writes. "They also need a comprehensive approach to monetize free downloads that includes ad support and sponsorships."

Maybe ad-supported targeted text messaging with a non-intrusive blurb at the bottom that reads sponsored by AT&T, sponsored by Verizon, or sponsored by Nike. The consumer opts into the service, which might include direct text messages from merchants providing specials and coupons. Similar to a Promoted Tweet on Twitter, except this would become a Sponsored SMS.

Advertising or marketing in the age of overload, as Mark Kroese, general manager for the Advertising Business Group, Entertainment & Devices Division at Microsoft, put it in a blog post. He's suggesting a variety of features on XBox Live apps, but I believe a more subtle approach serves as continuous reminder.

 Emarketer

  Emarketer2

4 comments about "Searching For A Free Text Message Option".
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  1. Linda Daichendt from DAIMAR Enterprises, August 31, 2010 at 2:31 p.m.

    There are already a variety of free and low-cost options available for sending SMS messages to customers. Our firm specializes in providing access to these types of services to small business owners as they are EXACTLY the group that can benefit most from Mobile Marketing.

    We can provide access to self-managed systems, or we can manage mobile campaigns for you. All of it, alot more cost effectively than you might think. And again, there are also FREE options available that we can direct you to - but there will be trade-offs in using those systems. Typically the number of messages you can send/people you can reach are extremely limited, and the per message cost after you've exceeded those limits are higher than they need to be.

    One of our best-selling systems for small business is a system where you can send UNLIMITED messages for as little as $25 per month!

    If you would like to know more, please contact me at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

  2. Bayard Saunders from Miiacom, August 31, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.

    On the consumer side, there is a pre-beta test of a new text messaging app "TexTango" that attaches a banner ad to outgoing SMS messages. The app is free to download and use, and every text sent is an entry in their sweepstakes to win a Smart car. See it in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQKlu06lqyc

    In the future, their plan is to compensate consumers directly for sending these messages (enough to pay for their data plans).

    On the advertiser/brand side, the appeal of this model is that rather than text messages coming directly from a company, the consumer is receiving the information in the context of a message from a friend, family or known contact. Text messaging is a regular, daily point of engagement for consumers, and now, a new mobile ad network channel.

    Also, consumers will have editorial control over which banner ads they are sending (so they can support their favorite nonprofit charity, or just sport their favorite brand like wearing a logo t-shirt). The entire process is opt-in (consumers can't receive TexTango messages with ads from their contacts unless they have agreed to).

    See for yourself - be part of the beta test and give them feedback: Download the free app at http://TexTango.com

  3. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, August 31, 2010 at 7:27 p.m.

    Evidently, Google also has a free SMS text message offering through Google Voice. I received the demo today, along with a few other features offered in Gmail's call phone app. Very nice.

  4. Chris Nielsen from Domain Incubation, August 31, 2010 at 11:20 p.m.

    Maybe Google should provide free SMS, but I'd rather see it come from someone like Skype.

    I would like to be able to use SMS, but I don't have a cellphone. SMS on my computer would be nice. Think I'll see if I can still get into my unused Grand, I mean Google voice account and look for it.

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