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Mobile Matters

What Customers Really Want From Mobile Marketing

What Customers Really Want From Mobile Marketing

by: | September 28, 2012

How much of your company’s media budget is devoted to mobile advertising? If you’re anything like the average U.S. business, you currently allocate just 1 percent of your media spending to mobile promotions. But a new return-on-investment analysis by the nonprofit Mobile Marketing Association contends that marketers should be dedicating an average of 7 percent of their spend to the mobile channel, increasing that number to 10 percent over the next four years as smartphone penetration continues to accelerate.

(The MMA based its mobile ROI analysis on actual market cost and current effectiveness impact as well as existing smartphone adoption and usage data, determining mobile’s role in the overall marketing mix by indexing those findings against corresponding media studies—for the full whitepaper, click here.)

As small businesses continue to ramp up their mobile spending, it’s imperative that they get plenty of bang for their buck—and that means understanding consumer attitudes towards mobile marketing outreach. A new study conducted by Forrester Research, on behalf of cross-channel marketing solutions firm Strongmail, reveals a decided consumer preference for email-based mobile brand messaging over SMS and in-app promotions: Sixty-five percent of smartphone owners and 52 percent of total wireless subscribers surveyed said they are open to receiving promotional email messages from brands they like at least once per week—by comparison, 60 percent of smartphone users and 63 percent of all subscribers said they never want to receive SMS and in-app messages. In addition, nearly a third of smartphone owners have made a purchase after receiving an email, a number that drops to 9 percent for SMS recipients and 6 percent for in-app messages.

Consumers may prefer mobile email promotions, but SMS and in-app marketing offer small businesses greater opportunities for interaction. Both email and SMS afford marketers a channel to quickly and inexpensively blast out customized messages to large segments of customers. However, while the average response time to an email is 90 minutes, users typically respond to a text message within 90 seconds, enabling marketers to alert consumers to time-sensitive deals and special offers. Not to mention that SMS also offers tools for fine-tuning promotions to specific locations, a targeting option unavailable to email marketers.

That’s why Juniper Research believes location-based SMS campaigns will dramatically reshape mobile messaging ad spending in the years to come, galvanizing total spending to $7.4 billion worldwide by 2017. Cost-effectiveness is another major benefit: According to Juniper, a bundle of 1,000 text messages is priced around $0.08 per message, dropping to $0.05 for larger bundles.

“Sending adverts using mobile messaging gives advertisers a simple, cheap, and effective way of reaching consumers,” report author Charlotte Miller said. “Adding location technologies is an even more powerful proposition, particularly for transactional advertising, as marketers can reach consumers who are near a location where they can purchase. Knowing that the recipients of an ad have actively asked to receive it and will in all likelihood open it is also particularly attractive.” Juniper anticipates in-app advertising spending will grow rapidly during the forecast period as well.

Customers may prefer mobile email for now, but their preferences will change—resistance to new technologies and services almost always erodes far faster than anyone expects. And don’t forget: More time-sensitive, location-sensitive mobile marketing benefits them, too. They’ll come around, and when they do, savvy mobile marketers will know exactly how to leverage the opportunity. One thing is definitely certain: What your small business is doing in mobile today looks nothing like what you’ll be doing five months from now, let alone five years into the future.

Ahead of the curve and already have a mobile app for your business. Check out: How Can a Small Business Get Its Mobile App Noticed?

Posted in: B2C, E-Commerce, Geolocation, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters, SMS

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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