SMS vs. Instant Message App Marketing
It seems there’s a new messaging app popping up every month. Maybe even more frequently than that. It’s hard to keep track of them all, but it’s also hard to ignore them if you’re looking to use mobile marketing. When you’ve got limited marketing resources, should you spend them advertising on the latest instant message (IM) app, or go with SMS marketing?
It’s a good question to ask, so lets look at them both first before making a decision.
In the UK in 2013, Whatsapp, closely followed by Facebook messaging, dominated the mobile IM market according to Statista (Facebook bought Whatsapp earlier this year). The next closest are Twitter and Apple’s iMessage. Statista also reports that 33% of Brits are interested in free or low cost instant messaging, but 37% were not interested at all (the rest didn’t even know there were options!).
Clearly people like their IM apps (even if they aren’t free). International Business Times (IBT) reported in January of this year that more IMs were sent in 2013 than SMS messages. They predict the trend will continue through 2014 and beyond. So does it make sense to jump right into IM marketing before the SMS boat sinks?
Not so fast.
The IBT article also said that SMS will continue to generate more revenue than IM apps. And the ultimate objective of all marketing is to bring in revenue by generating more web site traffic, in store sales, or other activity.
There are lots of reasons SMS will continue to do this better than IM apps, but here are the main ones:
- SMS is the only universal solution. Anyone with a mobile phone can receive a SMS message. If you market using an IM app, you’ll have to repeat or recreate the campaign for each app you target. If there ever is an app that everyone uses, then this may change. But for now it looks like SMS is the only way to reach anyone and everyone on their mobile phone.
- Open and read rates for SMS are very high and fast. It’s hard to find any solid data on how often and fast messages sent via IM are read, but for marketers you may not be using the message feature of an IM app anyway. For some apps the only option may be to use mobile banner or video ads. Others are more like social networks where you can collect followers and share your brand or products via messages. In either case, you’re not going to see the immediate response you may get with SMS.
- No hoops to jump through. SMS marketing has a legally defined opt-in process. But when you start looking at using mobile IM apps, the way to reach your customers (or potential customers) can be totally different. You may have to go through the process of getting people to “like”, “follow”, or connect with you before you can message them directly the way you can with SMS. There are undoubtedly as many methods as there are IM apps out there. In comparison, running an opt-in campaign for SMS is simple.
- SMS provides a pre-qualified list. When you think about it, people that opt in to receive SMS messages really want to hear from you. SMS is, or can be, a very intrusive and personal form of communication. You’re contacting them on their private mobile number after all. There’s much more trust and expectation involved in a SMS opt in than just having someone follow you or see your ad while using their IM app. These people will be much easier to sell to than a casual connection in an app.
It’s no wonder why IBT predicts SMS will continue to generate more revenue than IM apps – about 50 times the revenue generated by all the IM apps combined. So if you can only pick one channel – SMS or IM app – my bet would be on SMS. Do you agree?
One of the greatest advantages of SMS marketing is the ability to be personal. This gives the opportunity to engage customers based on any number of actions such as purchases and registrations. Some people call this kind of marketing "just-in-time" which describes the concept really well.
In order to gain success with SMS marketing, certain strategies need to be put in place. Here are a few top tips on what not to do when marketing your business through SMS messaging.
Brits feel “bombarded” by too many messages from brands on mobile. Does that mean SMS marketing doesn’t work anymore? Actually no, it just means most brands are probably doing it wrong. Find out why UK consumers feel that way and how your brand should be using SMS marketing the right way.
Is SMS marketing the worst idea ever? That’s the opinion of one author in Entrepreneur Magazine. He gives five reasons why companies should never bother sending SMS messages to customers. I take him on, point by point to show why he’s wrong and SMS marketing is the best idea ever.
Is there such a thing as a "perfect" SMS message? Yes, there is, but there isn't just one example of a perfect message. There are so many uses for SMS messages that each of them would have their own perfect example. How many different types are there? This infographic includes a short list of some types.
The first thing to remember is that legally, you must give the customer the chance to both opt-in and opt-out of your SMS campaign - but the good news is people are happy to opt-in - 49% of them according to a 2014 survey. So all you need to do is stay compliant and follow some basic guidelines to grow your list.
In our demanding, 24/7 world it is difficult to stay on top of your SMS marketing campaign but with scheduling you can ensure you are getting your message to your audience whatever the time.
Emoji are showing up everywhere. Should you be using these cute, fun, and illustrative icons in your SMS marketing? Your customers probably want you to. Around 72% of people have positive feelings about brands who use emoji. But before you get started, you’ll want to find out the details in this blog.