The views & opinions expressed in this guest post are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of Eric Wagner.
Text marketing to individuals’ mobile phones has quietly but quickly become one of the key direct marketing techniques.
As more than half of mobile phone usage is now by smartphone, and between 10 and 30 per cent of owners of these phones access their messages by a mobile device, according to findings by the Internet Advertising Bureau, it’s clear that these small devices are playing an increasingly prominent role in their owners’ lives.
Not only this, but most people seem to be happy to receive a few advertising messages, in return for the clear benefits of being able to stay in touch wherever and whenever they go.
There are signs that the high level of smartphone activity is especially impacting on other activities which young people enjoy – with nearly a quarter saying they’re watching less TV, according to the ‘State of the Media’ report for the second quarter of 2012 by analysts Nielsen, and nearly one-fifth saying they’d be embarrassed if a friend caught them reading a book – this finding coming from the National Literacy Trust. And if the former in particular is true, then it’s understandable that the companies with the big money to spend on advertising are putting it into reaching their desired audience through their new favourite devices.
The most marked change which the widespread adoption of smartphones has wrought is that people are now happy to go online, read their emails and carry out a variety of other internet-based tasks at any time.
And this freedom which people claim is their favourite feature of having a web-connected device with them at all times is also seen as a massive opportunity by companies to put their products and services in front of new customers, as well as fostering relations with previous converts, and get them to spread the message.
Even teenagers, the most media-savvy of age groups, have been found by communications regulator Ofcom to be turning their backs on their once-favourite media, television, and are instead getting their viewing directly to their phones or tablet devices.
Of course, these miniaturised versions of their favourite viewing devices represent the ultimate in fashion and portability, but the market for such devices is currently being subsidised very heavily by a large amount of paid-for content which is being produced expressly to be seen by their users at any time, and wherever they happen to be.
These forms of what is known as ‘ambient’ advertising have become increasingly widespread in recent times, to the degree that anyone who lives or works in a big city at least is surrounded by various types of advertising.
And while many people may claim to be immune to the messages which are constantly being aimed at them from all directions, there are clearly commercial benefits to securing a portion of the space on all the different types of screens which are now such a huge feature of our lives.
But of all the types of screen which we interact with, our phones are the ones with which we have by far the closest relationship. They bring us news, keep us in touch with friends and family, and even help us get where we’re going and with the work we do when we get there.
It’s little wonder, then, that personalised mobile advertising is seen as the medium which gets the greatest results. It’s displayed on people’s favourite, most-used devices, can be timed to reach them when it is most likely to get noticed, and can also be formulated so that it generates quick responses, with a simple tap on a screen.