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21 posts categorized "Studies"

April 15, 2014

Mobile Apps: The Lifeblood of the ‘Always On’ Employee

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Back in January, Frost & Sullivan published their analysis of the state of mobile enterprise in 2013. The results bore great news for mobile marketing managers, forward-thinking businesses and, most of all, developers of mobile applications. 

The data showed that 48% of decision makers reported their companies used between one and ten mobile apps for employees. Compare that to ten years ago when hardly any workers even had company phones and you start to get a perspective on the exhilarating pace of change in the workplace.

In the year 2014 – or 7AS (After Smartphone) – nearly every white collar job is geographically flexible, and companies expect their staff to be constantly ‘on’. Likewise, most employees prefer to be kept in the loop, and those that are constantly incommunicado are considered a hindrance to getting things done.

For this geo-flexible omni-availability to work, a range of mobile apps are absolutely essential. Mobile workers are, by definition, constantly on the move, which is why mobile devices are chipping away at tasks once reserved for desktop and laptops. From the economic perspective, app-centric devices increase in value as the number or useful apps installed rises. The smarter the phone, the more productive the person holding that phone becomes. 

It’s not just fancy new apps that make mobile workers more efficient. SMS messaging is playing a huge role in the interaction between company and staff. After all, it’s far easier to respond from any location with a text.

The growth of mobility in business has only been possible since the technology has grown more sophisticated. Today, there are three main app functions helping companies work smarter:

  • Notification
  • Input and response
  • Instant action

With mobile, these attributes are more streamlined, more efficient, less glitch and just… well, better than their desktop counterparts. Businesses, employees, customers, mobile marketing managers – they all want to get stuff done more quickly and easily. If they can have an enjoyable experience at the same time, all the better. 

Eliminating steps from both sides – customer and business – is the key to succeeding. Well-designed apps achieve this step-elimination So do workers who can do their job whether they’re at home, in the office or on a plane. The message of an increasingly app-centric workforce is clear. If you’re looking at ways to pare down your operation, trim the fat and boost ROIs: go mobile.

 

 

April 07, 2014

50% of Workers Will Be Required to Use their Own Smartphones by 2017

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Employees across America will be required to use their own mobile devices for work within three years, according to a new study. Data from research company Gartner indicates that the current practice of employers offering their workforce smartphones, tablets and fully paid-up network contracts will soon become a thing of a past.

The study claims that 38% of all companies will cease providing mobile devices to workers by 2016. Instead, workers will be expected to use their own phones and tablets.

‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policies have increasingly found favor among business owners looking to reduce costs. Another upside is the ability to leverage the power of employees’ social media networks and unaffiliated connectivity. 

As a mobile marketing strategy, disseminating information from personal accounts not associated with a brand name is a lot more trustworthy to an increasingly sophisticated web audience with a knack for spotting corporate shills and charlatans online.

But there is a great deal of confusion among employees regarding their company’s stance on personal device usage. A survey conducted by GLOBO suggests companies that do have a BYOD policy often fail to communicate this to their employees. The report claimed 68% of people used their own mobile device for work purposes, but only 29% of them knew whether their employer even had a BYOD policy in place. More than 90% of people said they didn’t know if their company planned to instigate a BYOD policy.

Furthermore, cutting costs on cellular data, SMS messaging and mobile devices may be a false economy in the long run. Although initial savings may impress Financial Directors, the long-term implications of employees using their own devices in and out of work can be expensive. One of the biggest pitfalls is security breaches – although these can be mitigated by imposing VPN, remote lock and cloud computing software on devices.

But therein lies another problem. Can employers really ask their workforce to not only use there own devices for work, but to use up space with a multitude of security software and applications? After all, recent research shows that 48% of decision makers use between one and ten mobile apps as part of their infrastructure. The use of mobile apps is increasing, and whether that will be compatible with a demand for BYOD policies remains to be seen.

 

 

 

March 20, 2014

Texting and Driving: State by State

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Texting and driving is set to become illegal in South Dakota, a decision that put to bed years of disagreement between the House of Representatives and the State Senate. If signed by the state’s governor the bill will be law, making texting and driving a petty offense resulting in a $100 fine.

However, drivers will be ticketed for SMS messaging offenses only if pulled over for another traffic violation.

"This is not about tickets and fines, but it's about changing the culture that texting while driving is not safe. It's dangerous. It's deadly, and it deserves to be illegal," said Senator Mike Vehle.

The senate has previously passed texting and driving bans rejected by the House. Eight local governments, including those from the state’s largest cities, have passed SMS messaging bans of their own due to legislative failure to make a statewide ban. Courts will eventually decide whether local governments can pass bans separate from state law. 

Representative Charlie Hoffman, R-Eureka, said the last-minute effort to bring back and pass the bill was due to public pressure. 

"People in the House and Senate didn't want to go back on their campaigns and have to be badgered on 'Why aren't you doing your job,'" Hoffman said.

The bill would ban the use of handheld electronic devices to write, send or read SMS messages. Driving could still use cell phone voice-operated or hands-free technology, however.

So what are some of the texting and driving laws in other states? They vary from state to state, with some, such as Montana and South Carolina, not placing any bans on SMS messaging and driving. Others, such as Alaska, Alabama, New Hampshire and Nevada, prohibit texting for all drivers as primary law.

Numerous states feature detailed texting and driving regulations. For example, New Jersey’s primary SMS messaging laws include a handheld ban for all drivers, ban on all cell phone use for novice drivers, and a ban on any kind of cell phone use by bus drivers. “Novice drivers” are defined as anyone under the age of 21 with a GDL or a provisional license. 

California’s primary texting and driving laws include the prohibition of texting and handheld phone use for all drivers and of all cell phone use for bus drivers. Its ban on cell phone use for novice drivers is secondary law. Connecticut’s laws are the same as California’s, though Connecticut positions its novice driver texting law as primary. Other states with the same texting and driving laws as Connecticut and California include Delaware and the District of Columbia.

Pennsylvania bans texting for all drivers as primary law, while New York establishes the same ban and a handheld ban for all drivers as well. Florida features a law against texting for all drivers as secondary. 

South Dakota joins many states with texting and driving bans, which enforces the life-saving idea that any SMS messaging conversation can wait!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 12, 2014

Schools Find Creative Ways to Use SMS for Updates

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Too often, mobile marketing practices are associated solely with retailers and other businesses who use the types of service offered by the likes of Ez Texting to promote special offers and issue reminders. But SMS marketing can be used for more edifying purposes than mere commerce.

Local and national governments already rely on texting to communicate with staff and voters. SMS allows them to streamline their communication process and keep people tuned in to the latest events. Now, schools and colleges all over the world have followed suit. Educational institutions are signing up to mobile marketing programs that help them improve the lines of communication between students and staff. In the process, they are creating a new culture of applying cutting-edge technology to a civic context.

A typical application of SMS in schools is notifying parents of a school closure due to extreme weather. Another use is minimizing truancy by sending texts to the parents of absent children. Other schools are using mobile marketing strategies to inform pupils of upcoming events.

In Scotland, Fife Council recently introduced bulk SMS messaging across all schools in the area. Their system reaches out to supply teachers in a staffing emergency, sends closure notifications and notifies parents of upcoming events. The rollout was so successful, Fife has won several awards for their innovative use of mobile marketing technology.

Cash-strapped schools with small admin teams are, arguably, some of the most well-suited organizations for harnessing the power of text messages. Firms like Ez Texting, with their affordable SMS marketing plans, are opening up the possibilities of this technology to groups of people who are not in the profit-making game. The example set by Fife Council demonstrates that the latest mobile marketing trends are not just for business – they serve the common good as well.

 

October 31, 2013

What is Geo-Fencing? And Why Mobile Marketers Should Pay Attention

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During the first decade of this century, web marketing went from zero to hero. In 2000, the internet was still firmly 1.0. Google was in its infancy, neither YouTube or Facebook existed, and there were only 361 million internet users in the entire world. By the close of the noughties, that number had swelled to 2 billion; it’s now approaching three. 

Back then, most people saw the marketing potential of the web, even if they couldn’t predict just how pervasive it would become. But few people would have predicted the inexorable rise of mobile marketing. After all, cell phones were already old news by the turn of the century, weren’t they? There was no way they could compete with the bells and whistles of the dotcom boom, was there? 

In 2000, those questions were as rhetorical as they sound. It took the emergence of smartphones to change the way people thought about mobile advertising. By the time the first iPhone was launched in 2007, the stage was set for a full-blown mobile marketing revolution. PDA, GPS, Wi-Fi, multi-touch interface, mobile apps - the confluence of all these technologies enabled consumers and businesses to develop a highly sophisticated relationship. It might have been long distance, but it was far from casual. Fast forward to 2013, and we’re at the stage where instant access to customers is possible at any moment. And with mobile marketing statistics indicating a 95% open-and-read-rate for texts, it’s little wonder that mobile text marketing is the key channel for any plugged-in campaign strategy.

Against that backdrop, mobile marketing software is being developed at a thrilling rate, with tech firms constantly looking for ways to refine the reach of mobile communications. The newest kid on the block is geo-fencing, which uses GPS to define the geographical boundaries of a specific device. Some geo-fencing apps superimpose their boundaries on Google Earth, while others use map co-ordinations. Either way, the technology allows administrators to set up triggers that will send a text message or email to the device when it crosses the boundaries.

Clearly, geo-fencing has a wealth of practical applications, not least for mobile text marketing campaigns. A retailer can geo-fence their store and send a special offer coupon to customers who have just crossed the boundary. Restaurants can send daily specials to regular diners who are in the vicinity. Real estate firms and letting agents can inform house-hunters of a new property close to where they are (there’s a great example of this particular application of geo-fencing at Mobile Marketing Magazine).

As one of the more recent mobile marketing trends, the benefits of geo-fencing are still being discovered by businesses. Companies are using it to provide:

  • A more personalized communiqué with their clientele
  • ‘In the moment’ marketing that targets consumers who are already shopping
  • More effective, targeted marketing for tough industries

Geo-fencing begs a few ethical questions. From the consumer’s standpoint, geofencing is valuable and slightly unnerving, depending on whom you ask. Most people want to know about a special offer, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a company having access to their location. That’s why developing mutual trust is vital. Businesses should be clear with their customers about what the technology offers, and give them privacy assurances as a priority.

Ultimately, geo-fencing will open doors at both ends of a transaction. Used responsibly, it can help mobile SMS marketing campaigns become creative and less scattershot – which is what every mobile marketing manager dreams of.

March 02, 2012

Consumers Prefer SMS Marketing for Mobile Promotions. Why?

Entry By Jason Brick

As we move through 2012, even more evidence comes to light that says you should be using SMS in your marketing. Consider these figures from a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study of 1,000 consumers in four different countries.

In the U.S., 33 percent of mobile users prefer SMS marketing to mobile web, apps and voice mail. In Germany, that number is 58 percent. In France, 60 percent of those surveyed prefer SMS. 

Understanding that this is true is one step in mastering mobile marketing. The next step is understanding why. Here are some of the most common replies from respondents to the DMA study and other marketing surveys. 

 

Yes

Small Footprint

SMS is short and sweet, limited to just 160 characters and readable in an instant. As compared to voice mail, apps and traditional media, this means your advertising takes less of your customers' time while still delivering your message.

Recipient-Directed

Unlike radio advertising and similar modes, the recipient gets to choose when and how he interacts with your SMS message. Compared to voice mail - which is often hard to distinguish from a regular phone call - this is more considerate of your customers' schedules.

Accessible Use

Not everybody has an Internet-enabled phone. SMS will reach the customers who have standard cell phones. Although increasingly ignored in the marketing literature, they still outnumber the app phone users.

Low/No Cost

Mobile websites take a lot of data that mobile users pay for. Though some plans will charge a few cents for incoming text messages, the cost for some users is insignificant compared to the costs for accessing a website or downloading an app.

Mobile Compatibility

Mobile web is still fraught with problems. Different screen sizes, programming and browsers mean a site optimized for iPhones might be wonky on an Android - and both are usually designed on a full-size monitor, which causes its own problems. SMS is simple and universally compatible.

"App Fatigue"

More than 100,000 apps were released last month, and the average user has 15 to 48 apps on his mobile device. An offer adding even more saturation to a user's app situation often feels like more trouble than its worth.

The bad news is that 50 percent of respondents to the same study reported they would rather not be contacted by phone at all. However, research on other forms of advertising suggests that consumers dislike bad advertising - the same people who complain about television commercials still show the funniest Super Bowl ads with their friends.

The takeaway: make your SMS marketing excellent. The better you make it, the less your opt-in list will mind - and the more they'll prefer it to other mobile options. Not sure where to get started? Check out our free SMS Marketing Resources Center.

February 23, 2012

Interesting Infographic On How Small Business Owners Operate

We came across an interesting infographic from the folks at the Intuit Small Business Blog -- it presents some interesting data about the way Samll Business Owners run their business:

Smallbiz

Check out the entire infographic (via Big Picture)

August 24, 2011

Android Malware Is On The Rise

McAfee is reporting a huge spike in Android malware. As you might have guessed iOS is largely unaffected:

Malware on Android is growing rapidly enough that it's now by far the most targeted platform, McAfee said in a new study (below). The number of viruses, trojans, and other rogue pieces of code aimed at Google's platform shot up 76 percent this past spring to reach 44. While small compared to Windows, it was three times the volume of the one-time leader, Java ME, which was at 14.

...

Apple, meanwhile, remained unaffected, with no active malware that could attack a stock iPhone. The only known recorded instances so far have been four attacks on jailbroken devices that were all variants of each other. Of the major platforms, only the outgoing and much smaller webOS had the same perfect track record.

And for those of you installing 'SMS' apps, please be careful:

Some of the examples of Android malware, such as Smsmecap and Toplank, are masquerading as legitimate apps. Many of them are badged as "crimeware" that tries to profit off the user by sending premium rate text messages and effectively stealing the target's money. On other platforms, like the BlackBerry and Symbian, paid SMS attacks have also appeared in smaller volumes.

Read more at Electronista.

August 08, 2011

What Makes A QR Code Scanworthy?

A research firm called Lab42 recently published the results of an interesting study of consumer QR code awareness and adoption. Some findings:

  • 58% of respondents knew what a QR Code was
  • Of that group 67% saw a QR Code in a magazine, 62% in a retail store, and 40% on billboards

Qrscan

They put together a large infographic, which you can check out at their blog.

Want to setup a QR-Code powered widget for your Ez Texting account? Check out our guide

October 25, 2010

The Mathematics Of Text Messaging

Ars Technica has picked up on some interesting research releated to text messaging and its applications for the ways that cellular networks can be managed:

Human communication patterns, particularly in the form of text messages, appear to follow a pattern that's a fusion of two mathematical models. In a paper published in PNAS on Monday, researchers analyzed a large set of text messages from service providers and found most users trade over 90 percent of their messages in bursts with only one other person, followed by an exponential drop into silence. The pattern may be due to interplay between the number and priority of tasks the two parties are trying to accomplish together, and the math behind them may help service providers manage their resources.

Scientists have lately been swimming in human communication data, from emails to texts and phone calls. As more and more people get cell phones and computers, all this information is begging to be analyzed for the benefit of mobile and Internet service providers, not to mention for its value as a wider indicator of human behavior.

To see if they could identify a communication pattern, a group of researchers culled data on text messages from three different mobile service companies over the course of a month. Specifically, they were interested in the length of time between messages, and wanted to know if there is a typical pace.

When they looked at the data, they noticed that 50 percent of users send 90 percent of their text messages to the same person. Since this covered a large chunk of all the text message business, they used this subset to see how time between messages was distributed.

Read more at Ars Technica.