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5 Key SMS Marketing Statistics

5 Key SMS Marketing Statistics

At the end of 2013 (and it’s still relevant today!) Forbes.com published an article titled Fifty Essential Mobile Marketing Facts. It covers mobile marketing in total from various sources and studies. I’ve pulled out the top five specifically addressing SMS marketing to share with you in this post.

These facts aren’t in any specific order of importance or value. They’re just numbered so that you know that there are indeed, five. But make full use of these stats and you will reap the benefits in your next campaign.

1. According to a 2007 Morgan Stanley study, 91% of adults are never farther than arm’s reach from their smartphones. I know this is true for me, and just about everyone I know. Consider this study was done in 2007 and it’s a good wager that the percentage is even higher in 2014. Smartphones have become even more integrated into our lives than when Apple released the first iPhone in 2007. Take from this that your SMS campaign will work best with a call to immediate action; your message will almost always be read within minutes and action should ensure straight away.

2. Probably the most often quoted statistic in SMS marketing is 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes.  The Forbes article quotes “ImpigeMobileStrategy.com” as the source for the statistic, but the domain can’t be found by Google. After more searching I found an article on Tatango.com describing a similar search for the source. They discovered it really originated in a study performed by  mobileSQUARED and SinglePoint based on a compilation of data from various 2009 and 2010 studies. It would be very interesting to see someone produce an updated study to see if text messages still have such a high open rate. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s still very near to that number based on data trends in other studies.

3. GoMoNews.com reports brands using SMS successfully reach 95% of smartphone and non-smartphone users. This ties into the same statistic above indicating a 90% text message read rate. The percentage is potentially higher for brands because the customer must have given the brand permission to text them. Recognition of the text sender, via brand recognition, most likely equates to a higher read rate. So for retail brands, SMS offers a direct to customer advertising option that builds brand loyalty and recognition of your company.

4. Mobile Marketer reported in February 2013 that 42.3% of customers prefer SMS deals over bar code scans or push message coupons. Personally I agree. But at 42% it isn’t universal. Many marketers point out that text messaging is a very intimate way to communicate. Some people just don’t want retail companies able to reach that far into their personal sphere. It’s especially important to ensure that you get opt-in permission for retail usage of SMS to avoid any potential issues.  Overuse of SMS marketing can be counterproductive, in general you should not send the same kind of communication more often than once per week; so only one special offer, one competition entry, one “how-to” message.

5. 50% of people in a survey reported on Marketingcharts.com say they’ve responded to a text offer. The Forbes article doesn’t quote a date for that study so I went looking for it. Marketingcharts.com has a huge variety of charts and data which is probably why I couldn’t locate the exact study quoted by Forbes. But I did find a 2012 study that said 25% of people purchased a promoted product based on a text message. Another 26% purchased a different product in response to the text they received. The highest response of the study was the 38% of respondents that visited the retailer’s website to find out more information about the offer received via text message.

What does this variety of statistics mean? Overall it paints a picture of an effective, but also personal, form of communication. The trend for mobile usage is incontestably in an upward direction, though percentages vary study to study. Will SMS messaging remain an effective way to communicate? I think so. What do you think?

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