Achieving Tangible ROI with Multimedia Text Message Marketing
September 12, 2012
Achieving Tangible ROI with
Multimedia Text Message Marketing
By Mogreet, Sept 2012
Whether it’s a theater
patron’s marimba ring tone bringing the New York Philharmonic to a halt or the
average consumer purchasing a Whopper® using their smartphone, the impact of
mobile is everywhere. Today’s consumer
is almost always tethered to their smartphone – Pew Research Center notes that
65 percent of adults sleep with their cell phone next to their bed.1
And, they are using these phones to communicate with friends, stay in touch
with work, buy merchandise, order dinner, watch movies and TV, and search for
discounts and deals.
Mobile devices have changed
everything from how individuals communicate and consume information to how they
make purchasing decisions. Text messaging, in particular, has generated new
means of interactivity and connectivity with Americans sending more than 193
billion SMS and MMS (short message service/multimedia message service) messages
in a single month.2 Marketers that take advantage of this intense
usage and integrate mobile messaging into their overall marketing mix increase
connections within highly targeted audiences, strengthen consumer engagement,
build brand loyalty and drive sales by extending marketing messages to the
intent-driven device that is with consumers around the clock.
- The Most Used App
Mobile devices are
action-oriented and addictive. While the “crackberry” generation is moving on
to swiping on their iPhones, most mobile phone owners - smartphone or basic
phones users, cannot resist the compelling alert of a new text message. In
fact, the most popular application on all smartphones is text messaging. As Pew Internet notes, 31% of today’s
consumers cell phone owners would rather text, than talk .3
The Mobile Marketing
Association notes that text messages are more likely to be opened and read – 97
percent as compared to 22 percent of email messages – within three minutes of
receipt .4 Additionally, 97% of mobile phones in use today are text
enabled, allowing the user to send and receive SMS and MMS messages. This has
sparked a paradigm shift in what it means to be connected, providing consumers
with other ways to use their mobile device both personally and in how they
interact with their favorite brands.
With more advanced power
computing, photo capturing, and video capabilities in one device, consumers
have new expectations of rich media. And, with text messaging as the most used
application on a smartphone, savvy marketers must lead with a mobile-first
mindset. Incorporating mobile messaging as part of an integrated marketing
strategy to deliver compelling content, to effectively reach consumers,
differentiate from competitors and achieve better return on investment on the
By taking advantage of rich
media branding capabilities offered through multimedia messaging services
(MMS), and reaching consumers through technology that is part of their everyday
life, marketers have the opportunity to go beyond the unopened emails and
simple SMS text messages to fully branded marketing and digital storytelling,
moving users through the marketing and purchase process and motivating
consumers to act. Forrester Consulting notes “…rich digital media is not just a
trend; it’s the future of advertising. Agencies leveraging innovative design
tools and technology have proven their effectiveness in driving higher
engagement online in a cluttered web environment.”5
How Mobile Marketing Compares to the
Traditional Marketing Mix
With high open rates and
quick read time, mobile messaging is the most powerful communication tool
available to marketers. With 73 percent of cell phone users sending and
receiving text messages6, it is the world’s largest social network,
connecting consumers with friends and brands.
Other mediums such as email and apps continue to have a place in the
marketing mix, but there are known limitations that inhibit their overall
return on investment.
In email marketing, it is
standard practice for spam filters to delay delivery or prevent content from
being visible. Users often have to return to their home or office to respond appropriately
to an email, elongating the time between read and receipt and action. This also
increases the likelihood of a message being forgotten, resulting in potential
Many individuals also have
multiple email accounts, increasing the odds of marketing emails being lost or
overlooked as inbox fatigue sets in. Excessive marketing messages that do not
add value with every interaction quickly become “white noise,” limiting the
return on marketing dollar investment.
In 2010, the Direct Marketing
Association found clickthrough rates (CTRs) and conversion rates for text
messaging was much higher than rates for e-mail. The average CTR for text
messaging is 14.06%, with an average conversion rate of 8.22%. E-mail brings in
an average CTR of 6.64% and an average conversion rate of about 1.73%.7
Conversely, mobile phone
users typically have one phone number, and tend to retain the same number even
as they switch providers or move to new cities or states, maintaining a
consistent point of contact. Mobile users must give their permission to receive
content from message marketing and once they have opted in, they are selective
about which messages they care to receive on their mobile device. As a result,
they’re more likely to open and read messages from those they’ve given
permission to, opening the door for engaging
marketing opportunities among brand fans.
Marketers can also choose
from additional technologies for connecting with consumers, such as
product-specific apps, but these too have inherent limitations. As Pew Research
Center found, 68 percent of smartphone users only use five or fewer apps at
least once a week.8
Apps require consumers to
have a smartphone, an operating system and access to WIFI or data to use.
Currently only 50.4% of Americans own app-friendly smartphones.9 In
addition, with Apple’s iOS and Android splitting the U.S. market share, brands
often have to build two versions of each app to create the widest usage
opportunity within this limited market.
Apps are costly because development
requires thousands of dollars, in addition to the marketing costs associated
with the promotion of the app. With an average of 2,000 apps entering the marketplace
every day10 the app marketplace is increasingly crowded, requiring
additional marketing spend to drive awareness, downloads and ongoing updates to
maintain repeat usage.
The consistent usage of all
apps is unlikely for most people, with the exception of utility and social networking
apps. However, these are typically used
a few times, and then ignored as consumers lose interest and move onto another
app, repeating the cycle. With these
limitations to apps, brands must absorb the cost of app development and promotion
as well as the responsibility of setting
accurate metrics and analyzing usage rates before recognizing a strong rate of return on
Even as carriers adjust data
plans, such as the 2012 introduction of Verizon’s “Share Everything” and
AT&T’s Mobile Share plans, SMS/MMS marketing programs are positively
affected. Why? All carriers categorize SMS/MMS content as
messaging – regardless of rich media MMS or plain text SMS, which means that
consumers receiving content via MMS and/or standard text messaging do not incur
data charges for this usage.
In the past, consumers
traditionally reduced cell phone services to save money on their monthly
statement, but most of the new plans are designed to accommodate unlimited
voice minutes and text messaging – a boon for marketers that interact with
mobile-enabled customers via text message marketing.
Redefining the Mobile Messaging Experience with
SMS text messaging is used by
73 percent of American cell phone users and is accessible across all types of
mobile phones.11 As mentioned earlier, with new rich media
expectations possible with video, images and audio, consumers are craving more
than a flat, text-based experience. Multimedia text messaging (MMS), is redefining
the text message experience, enabling marketers to take advantage of a wide
range of rich media tools to meet marketing goals and extend customer
MMS messaging is enabled on
virtually all of the same phones that have SMS enabled as well, but MMS is able
to offer a combination of video, graphics, audio, and text to activate the
senses and deliver a more visual, highly branded and compelling experience. In
addition to fostering deeper engagement through appealing content and consumer
first offers, MMS provides the ability for brands to showcase their creative
assets through high-resolution images, videos, audio, flipbooks and more.
National fashion retailer,
Charlotte Russe, successfully uses MMS to show off the brand’s latest clothing
and accessory line and drive immediate sales and more in store traffic.
Hundreds of thousands of
shoppers have opted-in to receive the retailer’s promotions such as mobile
coupons redeemable at the point of purchase (in-store and online). The company
notes that using MMS, as opposed to their basic SMS campaigns, resulted in 300
percent higher participation.
One reason why MMS has more
marketing power than traditional SMS is because SMS is limited to 160
characters of plain text, and 30 percent of that is needed for required legal
statements (i.e. Reply HELP for Help, STOP to stop). This results in less “real
estate” for branding and creative.
MMS, on the other hand,
offers what today’s customers want and expect, a richer experience featuring
high quality video or imagery coupled with descriptive text. By using these tools,
brands instantly provide their audience with a better customer experience
by giving them a way to connect
directly with the product or brand offering.
Additionally, with character
limitations, marketers frequently have to sacrifice proper punctuation and
spelling when creating SMS message campaigns. These limitations weaken brand
image and marketing impact as well as diminish the essence of the message.
Text messaging shorthand
might be fine for letting the kids know you’ll pick them up at school, but for
marketers, it appears sloppy and disjointed from an otherwise carefully
cultivated image. MMS messaging has broader capabilities and allows
alphanumeric characters, proper punctuation as well as international text
characters in addition to video and image capabilities. The combination of text
and imagery allows customers to connect to a product and they are more likely
to act upon a purchase or to learn more.
MMS is the mobile marketing
tool that generates more opens, inbound mobile web traffic, and sales compared
to any other communication medium used today. Organizations that have not yet
explored text messaging, as part of their marketing initiatives should
integrate mobile messaging into their multichannel marketing plans and take
advantage of more creative, compelling content and to drive a better return on
Why MMS Messaging
The future is certainly
bright for mobile and for marketers who deliver image-based campaigns to
consumers. After all, if visual content weren’t so compelling, the entire Web
and mobile experience would remain text-based.
So how does multimedia
message marketing increase engagement, build brand awareness, drive sales and
optimize marketing investments?
MMS Messaging empowers social
Marketers that deliver compelling offers incentivizing users to opt-in for a
text message marketing campaign will obtain subscribers who want to receive
valuable and relevant content. As a result, they are more likely to share these
promotions with their friends through word of mouth, forwarding of messages and
social sharing. Including multimedia at the start of a program increases the
appeal to target audiences to drive higher database growth, equating to
potentially higher actions by participants. When a hit television show geared
to teens launched a MMS campaign promising weekly video sneak peeks of the
show, the company built a six-figure database and increased show audience
engagement by 10 percent.
MMS content is the most
accessible for consumers – Neither SMS nor MMS require a user to download an app. It is a
ubiquitous medium, a feature available on 97% of all U.S. cell phones that
consumers are already using in their daily lives. Anyone, from teens to
seniors, who is sending or receiving photos or videos via their mobile phone,
is already using MMS technology. This eliminates the need for a consumer
learning curve or more importantly, behavior modification. And, as carriers do
not distinguish between SMS and MMS, so there are no additional charges for end
users with messaging plans to receive a fully-branded, multimedia-rich text
message marketing message unless they click a link within the message or go
over their monthly allotment of messages.
MMS delivers content all at
once – With MMS, marketers
deliver a complete package – information and multimedia, allowing consumers to
consider or act upon the information sent without additional clicks to a third
party website. This is key for marketers
who may not have a strong mobile website or for consumers who may live within
regions where wireless coverage is less than ideal. MMS eliminates the need for
consumers to take multiple steps to finalize an action, another boon for
marketers who see drop off in conversion increasing with every new step the
consumer is forced to take.
redemption/response rates – Delivering timely content via MMS that resonates with the buying
audience such as a promotional coupon featuring a product, service or
interactive contest is more likely to elicit a response. Think about the consumer experience and use
incentives to activate your audience. A successful campaign may request an
action from the consumers (such as take and text in a photo of themselves and
your product, using the device always at their side), driving participation at
the convenience of consumer.
MMS leverages a target-rich
environment – Per
CTIA and MMA guidelines13 , SMS and MMS require a permissions-based
approach, which ensures the audience is receptive to receiving marketing
messages. The subscribers are fans and because of being opt-in campaigns,
marketers can ask additional information to gain better insight into the target
consumer allowing them to deliver content that is relevant and valuable. Already featuring a higher clickthrough and
conversion rate, text message marketing boasts 98% open rate14,
compared to a 20.1% open rate for email.15
MMS creates a completely
branded experience –
Whether it’s a logo or video featuring a spokesperson, MMS can deliver a fully
branded mobile experience. Including a retailer’s look book of upcoming
clothing lines or interviews with designers that discuss how you can wear the
look while also sending a coupon drives sales. Through storytelling, a brand
becomes more valuable to the consumer, increasing the likelihood of purchase
and deepening the consumer’s relationship with the brand.
MMS engages in two-way
Multimedia messaging can be out-bound (MT – mobile terminated), with brands pushing
content to consumers, but they can also be in-bound (MO – mobile originated),
where consumers can participate and send in content. Trivia contests and inbound photo campaigns
are a perfect example of MO interactions. By using MMS, marketers enable
consumers to play a role in marketing activities and participate in the brand experience.
The participation continues to deepen the consumer’s brand loyalty.
MMS builds a valuable
database – For
mobile marketers, promotion is key to driving database opt-ins. Inclusion in
advertising, press releases, blog posts, promotion across social channels,
website registration and on-site signage drives mobile database subscriptions.
The size of the database and quality of the subscribers allows marketers to
communicate and retarget their database knowing that the subscribers expressed
MMS maximizes an existing
Companies already using SMS can easily activate their database, upgrade offerings
and market more compelling content to its subscribers with MMS. While SMS and
MMS are both permission-based communication17 marketers do not need added
authority to upgrade messaging content from SMS to MMS, they can simply
including multimedia within each sent message. Because mobile databases must be
built – not bought – this provides a competitive advantage for organizations
that can re-energize their current
subscriber base for new opportunities.
MMS messaging drives results – As mobile marketing evolves into the main
point of interaction between a brand and customer, it is important for
marketers to understand how mobile messaging drives current and potential
customers through the marketing funnel.
Through programs that engage
the customer using a tool that is has become indispensible to the end user,
mobile marketers are in the unique position of being able to drive immediate
action, driving the customer through the marketing funnel.
The Customer Journey Through the Marketing
Funnel via MMS Marketing
When designing your mobile
marketing strategy, be mindful of the customer’s position within the stages
known as the “marketing funnel”:
For many marketers, the first
step of the customer journey through the marketing funnel is raising awareness
about a brand or product within core and secondary target audiences. For mobile marketers, on-site signage
featuring a compelling offer to drive subscriptions combined with multimedia
rich response messages utilizing video, photos and slideshows that highlight
the brand’s offer and products, are often the first step to raising awareness.
A key step for marketers,
this is the phase in which the consumer is aware of a product or service, and is considering purchase. For
mobile marketers, this stage is often the determining factor of whether a
customer is going to continue to engage with a brand via mobile messaging or
not. Mobile marketers must be creative in this phase of the engagement and
provide compelling reasons for recipients to want to continue to learn more about
their products or services. Marketers should incorporate videos, images and
branded content to enhance the customer’s brand and/or product consideration
Mobile messaging is a highly
responsive medium. A crucial step for every marketer is designing and
maximizing the engagement portion of the program. Whether it is growing opt-ins
to the mobile database or encouraging immediate online/in-store sales with a
time sensitive offer combined with a mobile coupon, engagement is about
encouraging the consumer to take a desired action. Metrics obtained from MMS
messaging provides a wide range of data to help marketers initiate heightened
engagement through customized offerings.
For example, mobile databases can be segmented by geographic region,
handset and/or by carrier, allowing customization of content and offerings, providing
marketers the ability to customize content and offerings for each consumer.
Mobile marketers ultimately
strive for customer advocacy. A compelling offer or engagement program can be
forwarded and shared with friends and family. A MMS campaign with social
integration allows brand fans to share the text message offer across their
social channels, increasing awareness, participation and viral impressions.
Mobile marketers that empower its audience to become brand advocates will only
increase their reach by participating in the world’s largest network.
One of the most important
pieces of any marketing program is fan retention, critical for remarketing and
additional sales. Through effective engagement, including a compelling “reward”
for actions taken, a brand can maintain their customers for future retargeting efforts.
Often these rewards feature exclusive content or customized content based on
previously gathered data.
4 Best Practices in Implementing MMS to get you
For marketers with a CRM
approach for text message marketing, similar to the process growing email
databases, building a mobile messaging subscriber list is an evolutionary
How can you create a
best-in-class integrated marketing program?
Be meaningful - Delivering meaningful and valuable content is
the cornerstone of a long-lasting customer relationship, so organizations
should be mindful of content quality and frequency. Mobile devices are personal
and successful marketers need to be careful not to abuse the relationship. When
it comes to mobile messaging, a lighter touch helps retain the customer base.
Retailers who share creative messaging and offers with their customers every
7-10 days receive higher engagement and lower opt-out messaging than retailers
sharing offers every day. While a strategic plan for messaging frequency is
important, content is king in mobile marketing. Even though mobile can be used
to distribute existing content, invest in creating customized content for
consumers, rather than repurposing something that could be found on the company
website or other social channels.
Be Specific - Utilize clear call to actions to attract and activate customers.
Terminology such as: “Receive an exclusive mobile offer by texting in…” and the
inclusion of links to purchase or to a social sharing page, drives immediate
action on mobile phones.
3. Create a personal experience - Using MMS allows marketers to collect valuable
data. With access to better data, marketers can use information to create a
customized experience to produce higher ROI. Select a partner who can capture
the required data and act upon it, optimizing video content for each unique
handset the mobile subscriber is using. The data captured using MMS is reported
with the subscribers’ mobile phone model, carrier, operating system, social
media clickthroughs and area code. By asking customers for additional data,
such as zip codes, brands are able to match the mobile database with other
internal databases, providing an even better experience. With data
collaboration and careful analysis, companies should utilize this data to
tailor upcoming mobile messaging and marketing campaigns to match all or
segments of a database, expanding relationships and driving loyalty among brand
Knowing where customers are located allows brands to geo-target
their marketing efforts, making it possible for marketers to deliver location-based
messaging such as a local store offering a special on merchandise. For example,
by knowing which operating system customers are using, marketers can promote
apps built for a specific operating system whether it’s Android or iOS.
Information about the carrier can create opportunities for additional revenue
by including carrier-specific advertising as part of content delivery.
Define metrics - To truly be successful in text message
marketing there must be clearly defined success metrics set at the beginning of
the program and a commitment to refine campaigns and adjust creative or copy to
improve results. Traditional text message marketing metrics include database
growth, campaign promotion, opt-in and opt-out rates, redemption and click-through
rates as well as social media impressions. Companies that assign unique text
message-specific codes to campaigns can accurately track campaigns and gain
visibility into response rates, allowing them to make adjustments to further
analyzing a campaigns’ metrics to determine if modifications are needed,
several common questions should be asked: What content and offers produce the
highest response from one’s subscribers? Is there a particular day or time
range that drives the most responses? Once there is enough statistical data to
make overall program changes, marketers can easily change out copy and creative
within a matter of minutes.
Empowering the consumer to be
an active participant in the brand experience delivers rich returns on
marketing spend. Using mobile to promote company offers increases subscribers’
participation, building excitement and a relationship with the products and
brand. Through MMS, videos and messages are given a longer shelf life,
especially when recipients forward MMS messages to their friends and across
social media channels.
Selecting the right messaging
provider who understands how to build an MMS subscriber list and best practices
in various industries is crucial. Companies and marketers should seek a
provider who offers scalability in both SMS and MMS delivery as well as a
record of successful MMS programs. It is
critical that the vendor has the expertise and technology in-house to deliver
high quality video across all types of phones and carriers to communicate with
the highest number of consumers.
One of the key requirements for a strong MMS
program is a partner who is able to transcode multimedia optimized for every
phone and carrier. Video quality, for
example, differs greatly across all carriers. Verizon customers see a different
version of video than Sprint users.
Smart marketers will find a vendor who thinks of the customer experience
first, owns the technology necessary to showcase a brand’s creative at the
highest quality available.
Go Mobile or Go Home
MMS text messaging keeps marketers
in touch with consumers and ensure each customer receive value with every text
message sent. A successful MMS marketing plan can produce a variety of results
including increased customer loyalty, brand awareness and in-store/web traffic
Savvy marketers are
capitalizing on the widespread use of multimedia on mobile phones to reach
consumers in innovative and effective ways. By adding content rich MMS mobile
messaging into the marketing mix, companies can give their marketing plan an
edge, engages their targeted audience and optimize relationships.
Today’s consumers are more
accustomed to marketing and advertising within their daily lives, so they have
started ignoring traditional marketing and only accepting marketing content
that is relevant, convenient, and valuable. MMS text messaging exceeds those
expectations while also delivering a competitive advantage through higher and
measurable ROI and the best customer experience possible.
1. Pew Research Center’s Internet &
American Life Project (May 2010) Do You Sleep With Your Cell Phone?
(http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=1090 retrieved 06/30/12)
2. CTIA, U.S. Wireless Quick Facts, Year End
Figures (December 2011) (http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/index.cfm/AID/10323
3. Americans and Text Messaging, Pew Internet
& American Life Project,
4. Mobile Marketing Association, Mobile Wake Up
Call: State of Mobile Today, 2012 (http://www.slideshare.net/gregstuart/state-of-mobile-mma-simmons-final
5. Mobile Marketing Association, Five Easy Ways
to Build a Mobile Marketing Database, 2012
6. Forrester Consulting “How Advertisers Are
Driving Higher Online Brand Engagement with Rich Digital Media;” November 2011
7. Pew Research Center, Pew Internet &
American Life Project, Americans and Text Messaging, September 2011
8. DMA 2010 Response Rate Trend Report
9. Pew Research Center, Pew Internet &
American Life Project, The Rise of Apps Culture, September 2012
10. Nielsen Research, Nielsen Mobile Insights,
February 2012 Smartphones Account for Half of All Mobile Phones, Dominate New
Phone Purchases in U.S. (http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/smartphones-account-fo…
11. Mobilewalla Available apps across major
mobile platforms approaching million-app milestone (http://www.bgr.com/2011/12/05/available-apps-across-major-mobile-platfor…
12. The Nielsen Company, Nielsen Mobile
Insights (December 2011), The Mobile Media Report
13. Viacom, Social TV: Viewers C’s the Moment,
14. 2012 CSC Monitoring Compliance Handbook
(http://www.wmcglobal.com/images/CTIA_handbook.pdf retrieved 8/1/2012)
15. Cellit, Retail Mobile Marketing Benchmark
Report (http://www.cellit.com/resources/white-papers/#!prettyPhoto retrieved
16. Silverpop 2012 Email Marketing Metrics
17. CSC Monitoring Compliance Handbook
(http://www.wmcglobal.com/images/CTIA_handbook.pdf retrieved 8/1/12)
Founded in 2006, Mogreet is the leading text (SMS/MMS)
messaging platform for the delivery of rich media and video to mobile phones, delivering
over 70% of all commercial MMS messages in the United States. The company works
with leading marketers in retail, entertainment, media and consumer products as
well as empowering developers with Mogreet mobile APIs. Currently supported in
over 175 countries, Mogreet’s platform can reach 2 billion consumers globally.
The company has raised $14.1 million in venture capital from Ascend Venture
Group, Black Diamond Ventures, Bryant Park Ventures and DFJ Frontier. Mogreet
is headquartered in Venice, California.
Contact us at [email protected] or 310.566.0713
with any inquiries