My cell phone woke me up at the crack of dawn this morning. I thought, “Who could be texting me this early?!” Is it an emergency? Does a friend need some help? I anxiously reached over to my nightstand and quickly opened my phone. It was an auto company wanting to give me a 20% discount if I texted back “SAVE.” Talk about a rude introduction to mobile marketing.
According to a research study that was presented last week in New York by Peter Johnson, VP of market intelligence and strategy at the Mobile Marketing Association, “Mobile marketing represents 1.8% of all marketing expenditures in 2009, and while this may seem like a small number, the average mobile marketing budgets are growing by 26% per year…this growth, it should be noted, is happening when marketers are seeing a 7% drop in their average marketing budgets.”
Also recently released, results from the second annual Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report show that this year, "nearly 60% of mobile phone owners use their phones to text, with 94% of teens the largest user group, and 20-somethings at 87%.”
With these surprising numbers, you would think that teens are a great target and would respond well to mobile marketing. Teens have embraced texting more rapidly than the other demographics and texting has become their ultimate direct response vehicle. However, there is another side to the research which shows that teens do not want to be bothered with SMS ads and they don’t like to use a short code displayed in an advertisement. At the recent YPulse Youth Marketing Mashup in San Francisco last week, Fuse presented their study which found that even though SMS ads were up 30% this year, less than 10% of teens surveyed approved of those messages or wanted to be marketed to via that platform.
So what's a marketer to do? Teens are more likely to respond to contests or freebies such as cool downloads, exclusive content and other items of value. In fact, according to a 2008 survey by the Direct Marketing Association, 19% of teens ages 15 to 17 have responded to a mobile phone offer. So my big question is: if teens are drivers of change in society, can they drive change in mobile advertising as well?
-- Posted by Chelsie Friend, Research Assistant, Hopscotch Consulting