Commentary

Right Back Atcha

According to Digital Marketing Writer Chris Camps for ClickZ, SMS, a channel with a host of potential benefits has fallen out of favor recently with marketers in the US and Europe. But with benefits like immediacy: messages are delivered to phones within seconds of being sent; direct to individuals, forcing them to engage; and, high open rate, with 82% of recipients opening immediately, why should Short Message Service be rejected?

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In 2012, 6 trillion text messages were sent worldwide. This number is on the rise, as Q1 2017 saw 107m new mobile subscriptions, bringing the total to 7.6bn; predicted to rise to 9bn by 2022, says the report. But recent statistics show that more than half of the 7.4bn mobile connections are not smartphones (the total is 3.6bn).

There are broad demographic differences when it comes to SMS usage. Just 75% of 50-64 year old Americans use their phone for text messaging, compared to 97% of 18-29 year olds. There is also a gender split – women tend to read text messages less frequently than men.

SMS Usage

Read Messages?

% of Female Respondents

% of Male Respondents

No, I don’t read text messages

0.57%

1.59%

No, I only read texts from people I know

20.78

12.75

Yes, I read every text message

78.57

86.66

Source: SHIFT Communications

More than 1 in 10 SMS exchanges in the US are with businesses. Typically these messages fit into one of three categories, says the report:

  • Confirmations and verifications (such as purchase confirmation, identity verification)
  • Customer service (asking questions, resetting passwords)
  • Coupons and special offers (timely deals, location-based marketing)

There are laws surrounding unsolicited SMS messages; users must opt-in to receive texts. According to a recent report, the top reasons users opt-in are:

Reasons consumers Opt In to Brands’ Text Messages

Reason

% of Respondent

For coupons or deals

77%

Personal alerts

50

Like being in the loop

48

More meaningful content

33

Don’t want to visit business/website/app for information

31

Quick access to information

29

SourceSource: 2014 Mobile Behavior Report

Although SMS opt-in rates are typically lower than those of other channels, 91% of users who do opt-in see the texts they receive as either somewhat or very useful, says the report. 64% of consumers think businesses should use SMS more, and 70% think SMS is a good way to get their attention. What’s more, 77% of consumers have a more positive perception of a company that offers text as a communication channel, notes the report.

But this may be skewed towards a younger generation who are more used to receiving a high volume of text messages, says the report. Consumers aged 45-54 are more likely to think a brand’s text messages don’t provide meaningful content (62%).

SMS marketing texts average a URL click rate of between 20-25%., says the report. This is an effective complement to other aspects of a marketing strategy, such as email.  The use of SMS alongside email increased by 210% in 2015.

At the very least, these statistics show that SMS is still a relevant channel for marketers to explore. 89% of marketers employing SMS said they found it either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ effective for marketing activities. In one report, they found it more effective than both corporate websites (64%) and display advertising (59%). 82% of those using it said they planned to increase or maintain their spending on SMS marketing over the following year.

SMS marketing is under-utilized, concludes the report. As a channel, it provides direct access to a huge volume of users interested in interacting with brands. And with high engagement and click-through rates, it has the potential to be an effective add-on to the right mobile marketing strategy.

For additional material from ClickZ about this report, please visit here.

 

 

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