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3 reasons SMS Mobile Ads Work

(Posted on Jul 12, 2013 at 09:21AM )
Before smartphones and tablets ruled the world, SMS text ads or text messaging was what mobile advertising meant.

If used correctly SMS should be highly considered by marketers to boost sales.

1.  One-to-one communication

Unlike mobile search or display across mobile web and applications, a text message is a dedicated piece of communication.  Some would argue that it is better to reach users while in-app or surfing the mobile web as these people are in a state of engagement, but that could also be said of receiving a text message.  The beauty of a text-based ad is that it is simple, direct and easy for someone to respond to.  You are limited to 140 characters, but include a call-to-action via link or text back short-code.  With any strategy, the data will speak for itself.

2.  There are still non-smartphone users!

Yes, there are people that have not embraced all that mobile has to offer.  Don’t miss out on extending your reach or on the opportunity to engage with specific audiences that are slower to adopt.  Craft a strategy that may use SMS text ads to encourage other actions online, in-store or across social platforms, but always get the opt-in via short code text back.

3.  A proven way to (re)engage with current customers

It’s smart to let the consumer choose how they interact with your brand.  If a current customer opts-in to receive your mobile text messages, take advantage.  All engagement funnels matter, whether a person subscribes to your email newsletters, likes you on Facebook, sign-ups for your mailing list, mobile texts communication is the perfect way to engage on the go.  Focus on both consistent and flash promotions.

Here is a great example from our friends at Digiday.

A Domino’s Pizza franchise in Charlotte, NC., wanted to get consumers to like it on Facebook, so it could push deals and offers out to fans.

The pizza chain had traditionally advertised the franchise’s Web address, which redirected to the Facebook group, on the big screen and other displays in the University of North Carolina’s basketball arena. The arena’s announcer read the advertisement while it was displayed. The spots typically lasted between 30 and 60 seconds. The problem with this approach, however, was that most students are not going to jot down a URL during a basketball game. While many students have smartphones, they were unlikely to spend a couple of minutes during a basketball game to visit the Facebook group. On the other hand, taking a couple of seconds to send and receive a text with the URL of the group makes sense. After the game ended, students could then review the text and visit the Facebook group on their smartphones or computers.

To kick things off, the pizza chain created a new ad for the arena displays, offering a free pizza to anyone who texted 49ER to 313131. They received the following response, “To get FREE pizza, join our Facebook group at Once you join, post a message (I GOT A TEXT) & you will get FREE pizza code Reply STOP 49ER 2 Optout.”

Roughly 10 percent of the 3,000 students attending the game texted in within a few minutes — and another 5 percent did so by the end of the night — resulting in nearly 600 opt-ins. Approximately 350 students had joined the Facebook group by the morning. Nearly all of them redeemed the offer. The response to the advertisement confirmed that texting was dramatically more effective at driving conversions than simply displaying a URL. The pizza chain revised its creative for subsequent games, offering deals like discounted pizzas. Every time the SMS ads ran, the pizza chain saw 100 to 200 opt-ins, nearly all of whom also joined the Facebook group to get the deal.

By the end of the semester, the Facebook group had collected nearly 2,000 fans. They had also added over 850 students to its SMS marketing list.

“The sales at the store when we send text messages, or [use them to] drive people to Facebook, are unprecedented,” said Ryan Swanson, area director for Prairie Pizza, a Domino’s franchise in Charlotte, NC.