consumer experience, regulation, technologies

Mobile messaging marketing: attitude & effectiveness research affirms validity

OverheadsThe Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Direct Marketing Association (DMA) recently commissioned research firm Brand Driver to carry out three phases of research on mobile messaging, concentrating on attitudes, effectiveness and qualitative focus group research.

(I was belatedly alerted to this study by a write-up from the ever insightful Mobile Marketing Magazine folks.  I’ve pasted parts from there.  Thanks chaps.)

The first research phase was an online survey of 1,000 people about attitudes to mobile messaging. Phase two looked at the effectiveness of mobile messaging across 1,000 people on Marks & Spencer’s opted-in database, and 1,000 on the O2 More and Orange Shots opted-in subscriber databases. In this phase, one group was sent SMS messages; a second received MMS messages; and a third, control group, received nothing. Phase three consisted of qualitative, focus group research among two groups, one who were opted in to a mobile marketing database, the other not.

Here are some of the main figures:

12 per cent – respondents opted in to receive SMS or MMS messages from a mobile operator 15 per cent – respondents opted in to receive SMS or MMS from a company or brand
74 per cent – not opted in to a database but would do with the right incentive
62 per cent – read a message within five minutes, even if it’s from someone they don’t know.

Awareness
In an effectiveness study, advertising awareness was tested amongst three groups (control, SMS recipients and MMS recipients). The control and SMS groups scored 79 per cent; the MMS group scored 86 per cent.

Asked about their likelihood of visiting an M&S store, the control cell scored 83 per cent, the SMS cell 80 per cent and the MMS group 80 per cent, a finding which challenges the view that mobile drives retail footfall.

Asked about their likelihood of visiting the M&S mobile site, the control group scored 4 per cent, the SMS group 3 per cent and the MMS group 10 per cent.

SMS and MMS messages were sent to M&S customers who were also on either the Orange Shots or O2 opt-in databases.  Prompted advertising awareness was 55 per cent in the control group, 59 per cent in the SMS group, and 70 per cent in the MMS group.

Control
Attitudes towards mobile messaging

41 per cent – more likely to opt in if the advertising could be controlled
39 per cent – more likely to opt in if they could control which types of brands contacted them

32 per cent – unaware the type of service existed
71 per cent – wary of the costs of receiving this type of message.

Additional barriers included receiving spam or untargeted offers (both 71 per cent); having to give personal information (64 per cent); and not being able to opt out once they were opted in (61 per cent).

Everything’s illuminated (?)

The numbers from this study clearly paint the challenges and opportunities in messaging which have been evident for some time.  While there is clearly a growing awareness and appetite for these messages in the audience studied – particularly around those who have happily received them, there’s still reticence on some parts, and arguably plain uninterest.

Making messages relevant, useful and entertaining, as well as ensuring the subscriber is transparently informed of cost, will be critical in extended adoption of messaging marketing.  That Orange and O2 are investing in such schemes clearly shows their commitment and belief in the medium, and the relationships it can nurture with both brands and consumers.

Another interesting one to keep tabs on is the trickle-down effect from operators to other mobile marketing providers in the form of aggregators of various sizes, technical solutions providers, enterprise developers and digital and creative agencies.

Market consolidation continues to impress malleability on this side of the business through mergers and acquisitions, occasionally making it tricky to figure overall strategies and where the main revenue is being generated.

It’s more mobile fierce than ever out there now too.  There’s not always the basic interest in messaging due to the multitude of other jostling mobile agendas.  Mobile applications, Augmented Reality, NFC and the minutiae of the latest operating system have deflected attention.  Messaging is the whining, timeless acoustic singer songwriter who might be trying to do innovative things, but can still get the shut up Granddad treatment.

Yet there’s a wealth of opportunity to be had in the side of messaging which integrates into databases and management systems for SMEs, as well as the web-based interfaces which are employed by local chip shops and garages.

Because messaging isn’t JUST for M&S, it’s for everyone.

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