Text messages as a marketing tool can still be relevant - here's how

(Image credit: Future)

In an age where digital communication has virtually pushed the spoken word into second place, the good old SMS (short messaging service) or text messages may be understandably getting the short shrift.

But the obits on SMS' impending death should wait. For, a new marketing study says SMS is still very effective when it comes to marketing campaigns. 

According to a new data research from Iterable, a growth marketing company, SMS engagement is between six and eight times higher than email. Moreover, 50% prefer SMS updates over email, and 56% choose SMS over phone interactions.

Iterable’s team acted as mobile-first consumers in January, engaging with 30 brands from their mobile accounts and signing up for their apps. 

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The study, titled 'The Inside Look at Mobile Marketing' also claimed that the most popular channel is 'push'. Of the 30 brands in the study, 70% sent at least one push notification with an average of 8.4 push messages sent over the three-week period.

"Push notifications can be an effective way to engage users and keep them interacting with your app – especially now, as consumers are home spending more time with their devices," the study said. "Not sending a push notification signals a clear opportunity gap for brands to engage with users."

Need for mobile-mail integration

Mobile and email seem made for each other. But brands are failing to integrate them, the study said. "Mobile data is not being incorporated into email campaigns, and vice versa.”

As a case in point, the study said 23% of firms included a “download the app” prompt in their emails — after the app had been downloaded.

The overall messaging breakdown showed a balance between mobile and email messages, with 53% of all messages coming via mobile channels. However, over 50% of brands in the study sent fewer than ten emails, indicating mobile behavior is not integrated into email campaigns.

On the positive side, all 30 brands had designed their emails for mobile. And 53% of all messages came via mobile. What’s more, some design their app messages like emails.

Personalize the messaging

As per Iterable's own data from February to April 2020, consumers were opening 21% more mobile push notifications and 137% in-app notifications (even as the volume of push and in-app messages increased).

Iterable suggested to the companies to "use push to lead your customers straight to a feature you most want to highlight."

"Visuals will have the greatest impact on customers’ ability to quickly comprehend and retain information, so use images and videos to your advantage. Also, utilize your data to keep your messaging as personalized and relevant as possible," Iterable said.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.