Why Your Next Text May Be Your Last

Turns out that marketers messaging to consumers is a lot like PR people pitching "Mobile Insider" columnists. Neither of us like getting them via SMS.

How do I know this? Because I received a new study from the mobile messaging experts at Sendbird, and it appropriately came to me in my inbox, not via text.

The study, which was conducted by Arion Research, surveyed 1,200 consumers in 14 countries during the first two months of the year, and found a quarter of them dropped a brand because they were receiving too many messages.

Specifically, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said SMS is the "least trusted" channel for communicating with brands, while many other respondents indicated they simply were receiving messages too often from brands.

Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, are not fans of the increased volume and growing use of text from marketers.

Thirty-two percent of millennials and 27% of Gen Z respondents said companies sent too many text or SMS messages, compared to Gen X (18%) and baby boomers (12%).

Speaking as a boomer trade journalist, I can tell you that receiving more than one unsolicited SMS message from a brand -- or a PR person -- leads me to block them altogether. But that's just me.

Sendbird's new report, "Consume Channel Preferences For Communicating With Businesses," is part of ongoing tracking to understand rapidly changing consumer sentiment vis a vis mobile communications.

There is some upside to the findings, too. The study shows that when brands work with consumers' preferred communication channel, they are more likely to remain customers (82%), buy more (69%) and become advocates (66%).

The big bullets include:

  • Tracking is OK– with a purpose: Interestingly, 85% of respondents usually allow (some or all) applications and/or websites to track their activity across other applications and websites.
  • Live chat is gaining momentum: Live chat has grown significantly as people spend more time online and businesses increasingly deploy mobile apps with live chat capabilities. Last year, 43% of mobile app users 18+ around the world have used chat to interact with a business.
  • SMS is losing attention: While 49% consumers report using SMS in the past year to interact with businesses, 34% say they get more unwanted SMS spam, 26% ignore messages from businesses more frequently, and 19% block more businesses from text/SMS messaging.
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