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20 posts categorized "History Of SMS"

July 19, 2014

From Zero to Hero: How Mobile Revolutionized Planet Marketing

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Mobile marketing has gone stratospheric since the advent of the smartphone, but it’s been around in some form or another for more than 20 years. SMS messaging gave marketers a whole new channel to pursue during the 90s, when cell phone ownership first became widespread. Now, with text messages the most commonly read form of communication, advertisers are cautiously rediscovering the possibilities of SMS marketing.

But mobile marketing is about much more than SMS. The smartphone age has seen to that by putting the power and connectivity of a desktop computer into the palms, pockets and handbags of almost everyone in the western world. Some inroads were made into serious, non-SMS mobile marketing tactics during BlackBerry’s first flush of success in the early noughties, but when the first iPhone hit stores in 2007, marketing execs really sat up and began to take notice. 

As developers clamored to create apps to go along with Apple’s devices, the first wave of modern mobile marketing tactics began to take shape. The focus was very much on volume, and publishers relied largely on getting high app store chart rankings in order to gain visibility. Marketing efforts were all about short-term gains, with the main objective to generate as many downloads as early as possible in order to climb the charts. Quantity reigned supreme over quality.

These early years of app/mobile marketing were dominated by incentivized downloads – something Apple continued to allow until April 2011, despite the obvious credibility problems. Tracking performance was problematic. Platform regulations were loose, and developers took full advantage; it was essentially a land grab, the Old West of app and mobile marketing. 

By 2012, developers began thinking about the possibilities of quality and performance tracking. CPI-based campaigns gathered steam and, and better quality tracking was sought. For their part, Apple tightened its rules, clamping down on people accused of gaming the chart system by using bot farms to generate inauthentic downloads.

Around the same time, publishers became more data-focused, integrating in-app analytics software to collect metrics like usage, engagement, retention and monetization potential. There was a growing focus on high-quality user experience – but mostly with the objective of retaining customers for the medium-term.

That all began to change over the last 18 months, as a new climate took hold in the tech world. The shift is now overwhelmingly moving in the direction of stellar quality, as mobile marketing campaign managers realize that acquiring new users, even for a pittance, is not sensible unless they are retained, engaged, and monetized. Against that backdrop, some unlikely transactions have taken place – such as the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook – but there is no doubt that the app world has raised it’s game. With GPS technology and other location-based tools fast improving, the future of mobile marketing is unpredictable, but undeniably exciting.

 

 

June 16, 2014

Where Will SMS Marketing be in 2020?

 

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The mobile landscape has undoubtedly changed the future of marketing. Thanks to touchscreen keypads, more people are sending text messages now than ever, and marketing campaigns are capitalizing on that trend. However, as technology evolves, companies must understand not only how consumers use their smartphones today but also how they will use them in 2020. 

The Future: SMS Marketing, Plus More Mobile Apps

While the year 2020 will see increased mobile customer service and messaging app use, trends also indicate that SMS will remain an effective way to convey appointment reminders, sweepstakes, voting campaigns, and other services. Thanks to iPhone, Google’s G1, and the Blackberry Storm, it is true that thousands of user-friendly mobile applications are now available. At the same time, when rethinking SMS mobile marketing efforts between now and the year 2020, one should realize that 7 out of 10 apps are created for use on iOS, not Android. SMS marketing, by contrast, is and will continue to be effective across platforms.

Messaging Apps and Mobile Marketing

In deciding where to concentrate today's mobile marketing efforts, businesses know that Facebook is the most popular app, with Google Play, Google Search, YouTube, and Pandora Radio at a near tie for second place. In the near future, however, messaging apps will be taking the lead. 

Facebook's own messaging app has become a major topic of conversation in mobile marketing due to recent discoveries that user messages were being scanned for marketing purposes. However, the mere fact that the company has introduced a separate messaging app is worthy of buzz. Doing so falls right in line with the trend that has Twitter and Instagram introducing their own messaging apps as well.

The effects of these messaging apps and others like them on the future of marketing promise to be great as companies seek out innovative ways to monetize the services. Taco Bell, for instance, has begun sending coupons via Snapchat. Similarly, Absolut Vodka is using WhatsApp to engage with consumers. Several chat services, including Japanese-based LINE and Dutch-based Nimbuzz, are enabling in-app purchases, with LINE generating revenue by allowing users to buy oversized emoticon “stickers” that they can then paste into mobile conversations.

Continued Role of SMS Push / Pull Messaging

Today, SMS marketing mostly means advertiser-initiated “push messaging” and consumer-initiated “pull messaging.” On the one hand, interrupting consumers with push messaging has the potential to negatively affect a brand. On the other hand, SMS coupons, for example, are still exchanged eight times more than their email equivalents. One growing trend that will likely continue through 2020 has been the use of push messaging to win over customers by offering them something of value, whether that be a mobile coupon, doctor's appointment reminder, or golfing weather forecast.

Popular examples of pull messaging today, by contrast, include campaigns encouraging consumers to opt in by texting to a shortcode. For instance, in exchange for texting a question, the user receives not only an answer; s/he is also opted in to receive future sales notifications, coupons, etc.

The two most popular uses of pull messaging—sweepstakes and television viewer voting—are simple ways to generate revenue and thus unlikely to be replaced any time in the near future. In addition, QR codes will continue to be an important pull messaging strategy, since 40% of consumers who scan subsequently make purchases. 

While mobile app use is clearly growing – and while text marketing may be moving toward customer service applications – SMS will also likely continue to be a powerful marketing tool between now and the year 2020.

May 05, 2014

When to Use 'Textese' in SMS Marketing

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Text messages have certainly changed the way we communicate. Rather they've changed the way many of us communicate much of the time, but not always. “Textese” may be convenient and even fun some of the time, but in most cases it should not be used in SMS text marketing.

“Textese” Eliminates Extra Words at the Risk of Also Eliminating Customers

Unfortunately, while it is true that SMS texts are short and it may therefore be tempting to use abbreviations like “R U” in text marketing messages, if you end up losing business as a result then the last “LOL” may be on your company. After all, an opted-in SMS text message audience can be a hard-earned goldmine when one considers that almost one hundred percent of material sent via SMS text messaging gets opened, read, and, in many cases, acted upon.

For most businesses, however, so-called “textese” acronyms, such as the ever-popular “OMG,” are probably completely outside the normal tone  used to communicate with clients. Trying to sound “cool” or “hip” is not worth the feeling of dissonance that you may create for many of your otherwise longstanding and loyal customers. If you feel tempted to use “textese” merely in order to save space, on the other hand, you should consider writing a shorter text message that will instead lead customers to a landing page that gives more detail about your product or service.

Making What “U R” Saying Perfectly Clear

In addition to the risk of alienating recipients by using a tone that sounds out of character for your brand, there's also a high risk that the consumer who receives the message will literally have no idea what your message even means. While SMS text messaging has gained great popularity, with almost one hundred million people now using text messages, the fact is that half of those users are above the age of twenty-five and are therefore not necessarily up on the latest in textese. In fact, more than half of these users fully acknowledge their utter lack of fluency in textese. That's why the rule of thumb is, for most SMS text message marketing campaigns, when in doubt, leave the textese out.

A Few Exceptions

There are some exceptions, however. For marketing campaigns that are based around the concept or practice of texting itself, there are many clever ways to employ “textese” with an audience that you can be sure will follow what you're trying to communicate and will be on the same page with you as far as the tone is concerned. And, of course, when your target audience is that under-twenty-five demographic, textese can be a perfect way of communicating the feeling of young, irreverent fun and energy. For instance, textese may hit just the right note for the clubbing industry, events, parties, etc.

In all cases, keep in mind just how casual the tone of “textese” – curse words and all – really is. Be certain that you, yourself, know what all of those letters in that acronym actually stand for; if you're not a hundred percent certain that your audience will be okay with all of those words, then don't take the risk.

March 17, 2014

Secure Text Banking? It’s All About Checks and Balances

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SMS messaging provides one of the fastest, easiest ways for consumers to stay in touch with businesses. Banking is no exception. Virtually every major US bank now offers some form of text banking.

Text banking is proving popular with a small number of customers who like to stay on top of the finances – and like the fact they don’t need an internet connection to do it. Nonetheless, as many as 51% of cell phone users think mobile banking is not secure, and the number of bank customers who prefer using cell phones to view balances and transactions stood at around 8% in 2012, when the most recent ABA figures were published. 

This reticence to engage with text banking is understandable. Fears about sending account details via text messages are not unfounded. And even just using text as one part of mobile marketing tactics that make no specific reference to an account will make some customers jittery. When it comes to personal finances, some people will always prefer the real-world transactions they’re used to.

For people more concerned about convenience than worst-case scenario cyber-fraud, SMS messaging is one of the best things to happen to banking. Apart from the improved customer service texting can offer, it’s also – whatever detractors tell you – potentially far more secure than other typed of banking. 

In response to security concerns, most banks have recently designed a whole host of precautions enabling them to minimize fraud and identity theft. Customers are now assigned a PIN they must enter to begin any particular SMS messaging session, as well as nicknames for account numbers.

Leading the way in providing greater security for text banking is Wells Fargo, who were the first bank to make the service available to all customers, even those not enrolled in online banking. Their research indicated customers want to check their balances while on the move, so they implemented a number of codes that customers could text to perform certain transactions. ‘BAL ALL’ lets customers check their balance.  ‘ACT’ tells them if a check is deposited. ‘ATM’ points them to the nearest cash machine.

The bank does not send account numbers or passwords, and their Online Security Guarantee promises 100% insurance if unauthorized activity is reported within 60 days.

Other banks have gone further. Both USAA and BOFA allow customers to deposit checks using an iPhone. Not everyone will be comfortable performing such high level transactions remotely. But for those who want that choice, SMS messaging and mobile banking is making life a whole lot easier.

February 26, 2014

Top Text Message Abbreviations

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As technology has advanced, so has user ability to communicate effectively. SMS messaging allows businesses to communicate easily using assorted abbreviations, many of which are helpful when creating an SMS marketing campaign. Check out a few of these abbreviations and how they can benefit your business:

WBU

The abbreviation for “What about you?” offers businesses the chance to ask customers and prospects how they feel or think about certain products and services. Get customer feedback and find out what’s working and what isn’t.

PLZ 

Asking customers to sign up for an app or newsletter, like a social media page, provide product feedback and anything else always sound nicer when the word “please” is attached. Remember to add “PLZ” when using SMS messaging or any other platform while communicating with customers.

WTG

An abbreviation for “Way to go!”, this option works as a mobile marketing solution in that it can congratulate customers for finishing a survey, signing up for a service or simply buying a product.

BTW

Who doesn’t know the abbreviation for “by the way”? Provide a fun option for announcing new products, deals or campaigns with this abbreviation, such as “BTW receive 10% off your next purchase when you do/complete [x].”

PROPS

A simple way to tell someone or a group of people they did a “good job,” PROPS definitely  has the ability to make customers smile when used in a mobile marketing campaign. Give them “props” for remaining loyal customers, commenting and liking business social media sites and more.

NP

Let customers know that attending to their needs is “no problem” with this abbreviation. These two letters easily tell customers via SMS messaging what a pleasure it is to serve them.

SUP

The oh-so-funny abbreviation for “what’s up”, customers will undoubtedly get a kick out of any business who uses “SUP” in a mobile marketing campaign. Heck, they may even show the text to friends, prompting them to research what makes the company so fun and unique.

These are just a few of the many funny and effective abbreviations used in SMS messaging! Try one or a few as a key mobile marketing solution component and see if it doesn’t help business!

 

February 21, 2014

What Augmented Reality Means for Mobile Marketing

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As smartphone ownership reaches record levels, it’s hardly surprising that apps of all stripes are experiencing a boom. One of the hottest varieties right now are augmented reality (AR) apps, which combine live, real-world environments with supplementary computer generated input.

AR is one of those futuristic technologies that you can’t quite believe is really upon us. It provides a Terminator-like view of the physical realm, with live events such as sports games augmented by statistics, graphics, sound or any other digital data.

Not only is AR a reality, it’s already big business – and growing fast. In 2013, revenue from mobile augmented reality was around $180 million. A recent Juniper report predicts AR apps and services to generate a staggering $1.2 billion by 2015. The contributions it can make to existing mobile marketing solutions are manifold, and major brands including Unilever, Nestle and Heinz have already cottoned on to the potential of AR as a driver of consumer engagement.

The mobile industry itself has helped power interest in AR apps, as more and more companies are adopting mobile marketing advertising and outreach strategies as a necessary part of their overall business. AR promises to be a huge part of the future of mobile marketing applications. Juniper’s report pointed to the impending launch of ‘smart wearables’ such as Google Glass – due for launch later this year – as potential platforms for apps that use AR technology.

In the here in and now, AR is being used to great effect by mobile marketing teams all over the world. In Canada, Volkswagen used AR-interfaced billboards enabling iPhone and iPad users to view virtual Beetles performing stunts above the streets of Vancouver and Toronto. The launch video generated over 100,000 views in the first few weeks and created a hell of a buzz of Volkswagen in the process. Starbucks pulled off a similar trick using cups, giving coffee lovers something to entertain them while drinking.

So far, campaigns like this have been perfunctory gimmicks – showcases for the possibilities of AR technology. But they are nevertheless very exciting, and point to a new kind of mobile marketing advertising. As the technology improves, more developers will jump on board, each with a fresh angle on the potential of AR. Juniper’s report predicts a 200 million-strong AR app market by 2018. If that figure is borne out, mobile marketers, game developers, and anyone involved in the creative arts will make AR apps part of the digital fabric of an increasingly plugged in society.

 

February 07, 2014

Mobile Advertising: The Tale of Two Marketing Paths

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The mobile apps market today is enormous. On the surface, this seems like an incredible, straightforward opportunity to earn a profit. The only problem is, while consumer demand for mobile apps is great, today's consumer is less and less likely to be willing to pay for them. Mobile marketers who want to get involved in the mobile app business, then, are left with two options. On the one hand, they could build and develop their own standalone app; the other option they have is to work within apps that people already have, strategically placing their mobile advertising there.

Option One: App Development

The first concern when talking about developing your own standalone app is the cost. While it is true that the expense, in total, of developing an app will depend on the type you are considering, a mobile app is generally expensive to build from the ground up, given that the process includes everything from coming up with the idea to layout and planning, to design, to making the app go live. In other words, there are many costs – associated with not only development but also design and IT architecture; one must also consider the percent of every sale that Apple or any other vendor would keep.

Alternatively, while it is possible to buy source code for less (cutting out much of the work you will need to put in), paying less in the app development process will almost always mean having far less control over the process. This can be tricky when your goal is to create something engaging that users will really want.

 

Option Two: Advertising on an App

Marketing an app for free, on the other hand, requires support through ads. Mobile marketing applications today are extremely sophisticated, using tools such as location-targeting to show consumers the most relevant ads based on how they show up via GPS, Apple's iBeacon, or any other app analytics tool. Another strategy, called deep linking, lets ads see whether consumers already have a specific app on their phones – and then directs the consumer to a specific page. If, for instance, a consumer in search of a spring jacket already has a specific department store's app, then the ad would direct him or her to the spring jacket section within the store's app, or to an ad for a spring jacket sale, thus generating increased revenue.

Of course, the question of how consumers react to such extremely specific marketing is a big one – and must be considered carefully. Increased brand awareness and brand sentiment is a great thing if the consumer appreciates the usefulness of such seamless targeting. If seemingly “mind-reading” advertising is not rolled out carefully, however, consumers could view these tactics as interruption marketing (on par with “pop-ups”) or spam – or, worse, they could view them as just plain “creepy” in an age when privacy breeches everywhere have customers on high alert. One suggested way of getting consumers to warm up to specific, highly targeted marketing is to first spend some time using targeting technology to offer freebies to consumers, thus increasing the feeling of goodwill and trust.

Mobile Marketing and the “Opt-In” Option

The great thing about SMS marketing is that it can require, by its very nature, an opt-in service – thus circumventing concerns about marketing tactics that might be perceived by the consumer as invasive. Users opt in because they not only expect but also want something of value from the company – and therefore they expect and want to receive marketing collateral. In this sense, SMS texts are actually less invasive than the older pop-up tactic or ad-heavy, overly-branded apps.

The truth is that mobile technology presents great opportunities for the marketing of mobile apps today. When it is approached carefully, the industry has an enormous opportunity to conveniently meet consumer needs and desires – while also safeguarding consumer trust.

 

February 06, 2014

Is HTML5 the Future of Mobile Apps?

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Mobile app development is currently dominated by Android and Apple, who have roughly an equal share of more than two-thirds of the market. But as the range of mobile devices on offer increases, HTML5 apps that work on all devices are becoming more appealing, both to users and developers. Apple’s native apps are still out in front in terms of quality – but the gap is closing, as HTML5 apps constantly improve their user-friendliness and availability. So what’s the difference between native apps, like those offered by Apple and Android, and web apps? And how can HTML5 mobile app development help you improve your mobile marketing strategies?

Right now, the Apple App Store contains nearly three quarters of a million iPhone and iPad apps, all of which have to be completely re-coded to work on another device. Web apps are built using standard coding such as HTML5, which allows them to run on virtually any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser. They will work on iPhones, iPads, Androids, Kindles, Windows – and, importantly for start-ups, any new platform that may be launched in the future.

Not only do web apps work equally well on any platform, they are cheaper and quicker to produce than native apps. The only reason native apps are still overwhelmingly used is because Apple’s unstoppable development department stole a march on competitors very early on, and currently offer a superior experience to most similar HTML5 apps. This state of affairs won’t last for long.

One of the main reasons for mobile app development shifting towards HTML5 and other standards-based languages is the ease of open-source updates. Most iPhone users have experienced the frustration of being unable to update their app because they lack the latest iOS. Web apps, on the other hand, will practically never become outdated. Every time a user visits a website, they are loading the most recent version from the server. The simple action of visiting the site means you are viewing the latest version of that app.

There are still a number of hurdles to overcome before web apps present a realistic, mass-market alternative to native apps. Chief among them is the state-of-the-art hardware interfacing currently provided by (in particular) Apple. All iPhone apps are seamlessly integrated with the device’s hardware, allowing users to take advantage of the GPS, digital camera and accelerometer capabilities. Right now, web apps don’t have it so easy. Apple’s closed book isn’t likely to open itself to rival developers anytime soon, but as competitive pressure grows, most people expect that situation to change.

The other major feather in the Apple cap is the secure, easy payment process offered by the App Store. There are 400 million active iTunes accounts, each with stored credit card details, making consumer purchases extremely hassle-free. Web apps currently lack a similar consolidated payment system. Again, though, that is expected to change with time.

There’s little disagreement about the smoother, more polished look and feel of native apps. But there is also a consensus on some key advantages offered by web apps. The ever-changing nature of standards-based technology means that HTML6 is likely to do some significant catching up. Add to that the expense of building native apps, and the decreasing cost of developing web apps, and it’s easy to see how mobile marketing strategies will begin to gear themselves towards users that have jumped the mother ship Apple and are spreading their consumption across a wider range of smaller, more adaptive developers.

 

January 30, 2014

Market Research: A Mobile Marketing Essential

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Effective mobile marketing strategies require forward planning. A large part of the planning process is conducting a comprehensive market research campaign that will furnish your advertising department with raw data. Lots of it.  Statistics and figures are grist to the marketing mill. They can help you target specific demographics with the right message, and avoid wasting time and money on revenue dead ends. 

Research is particularly vital for mobile user behavior, as opposed to traditional broadcast channels which still use a one-size-fits all approach. Because mobile marketing advertising needs to be precision-engineered for personal preferences, research must also be personalized and relevant.

One notable case study, presented recently at the Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW) conference, concerns Heineken’s forays into the emerging African beer market. The brand has been courting consumers on the continent for a hundred years, and has recently added mobile marketing to its overall strategy. Heineken gathered figures on top-volume beer retailers and made price comparisons with competitors. They used maps to plot the densities of product coverage in different regions and planned their sales routes accordingly.

One of the key issues to be aware of is the rate of change in mobile usage trends. User habits can change on a dime depending on all sorts of factors. When strategizing your market research program, ask yourself the following questions:

 

When are consumers most active on their mobile devices?

 

• Where are consumers most active on their mobile devices?

 

• What mobile devices are consumers using (tablet, iPhone, android, etc.)?

 

• What are the demographics of your target audience?

 

• What are the psychographics of your target audience?

 

• What types of offers are most appealing to customers?

 

The answers to these questions will form the bedrock of your mobile marketing strategies[BC1] . Reboot these questions via surveys and polls at least once every quarter. The answers will be dramatically different from month to month, so there is no point creating campaigns based on market research you conducted 18 months ago. 

Keep your data fresh and up-to-the-minute. Reach out to people outside your core demographic (this will probably involve offering a freebie in return for filling in a survey). Above all, remember this: research the market to reach the market.

January 21, 2014

Facebook Poised to Take Over Mobile Advertising in 2014

 

Facebook's ad exchange launch was the single most important event in the mobile

marketing industry this year. It has already begun reshaping the way mobile marketing

strategies are devised. Dubbed FBX, it allows advertisers to apply cookies to users'

browsers as they surf the web, and then retarget those users with the ads once they return

to Facebook.

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J.P. Morgan analysts reckon ad revenue will eventually make up 60% of Facebook's total

revenue, but for that to happen, FBX will need to become mobile-specific. Right now, the

ad content on mobiles and PCs is different, with mobile ads still appearing as generic, non-

targeted spots. FBX has allowed desktop browsing to become personalized, and the social

network hopes to replicate that success on mobile devices.

 

Here's how it works:

  • A user visits a travel site with a DSP rigged up to FBX
  • A cookie is dropped on the user's computer, usually after they've shown an intent to purchase
  • If the user does not purchase anything, the DSP contacts Facebook and gives them their User ID
  • The advertiser pre-loads ad content that is relevant to that user
  • When the user visits Facebook it recognizes the cookie dropped by the DSP
  • The DSP is notified and allowed to make a real-time bid to target them with ads
  • The highest bidder gets their ads shown to the user
  • The user can choose to opt out of future FBX ads

 

For investors in the social network, FBX shows a willingness on Facebook's part to adopt

more aggressive advertising tactics. They already lead the overall U.S. display advertising

market, and FBX is bolstering that lead significantly.

 

The challenge in 2014 is to make FBX work as well on mobile devices as it has on

desktops. Once this happens – as it undoubtedly will – the purse strings will begin to open

for mobile marketing campaign managers right across the industry. As usual, Facebook

is pioneering mobile marketing technology so that small businesses without the same

financial clout can migrate their budgets to mobile without seeing it as a huge risk. As

mobile marketing strategies catch up with the all-conquering pervasiveness of smartphone

ownership, marketers are going to start seeing significant ROI from mobile marketing

advertising. The industry may never be the same again.