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Sharp rise in SMS-based mobile marketing predicted for UK

Textlocal is predicting a sharp rise in mobile marketing as Britain boasts nearly 80m active mobile phones in circulation for the first time, with only 50% of businesses surveyed currently using SMS as part of their marketing strategies.

The white paper illustrates how 37.2 million consumers have opted to use SMS and mobile communications as their preferred choice for receiving notifications from businesses.

This number is predicted to rise to 48.7 million in 2020, making SMS the fastest growing marketing channel in the UK.

The growth in smartphone usage and technological advancements have radically transformed the way British consumers behave and how businesses engage with them.

Ofcom estimates that a staggering 93% of the UK’s population now own a mobile phone, with the majority keeping them to hand for more than 16 hours a day.

The growing influence of the medium is also highlighted by the fact that 98% of branded or business-related texts are opened by mobile users, with 90% read within 3 minutes of receiving them. The report goes on to highlight that 23.5m people will respond to a business text message in 2017 and that 7bn texts will be sent this year alone.

Jason Palgrave-Jones, Managing Director of Textlocal, said: “Britain is fast becoming a ‘mobile first’ society as mobile phones are often the first and last thing people engage with each day. By their very nature, mobile phones are to hand and provide an unrivalled platform for brands to communicate directly with their audiences. These are exciting times for those involved in the mobile industry as the benefits to businesses and consumers are realised.”

SMS communication is already a leading tool for businesses looking to engage directly with customers, whether it’s to share delivery updates, appointment confirmations or marketing promotions. These messages and other applications are expected to grow rapidly in the coming months.

Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director of the Direct Marketing Association, added: “It’s clear that mobile marketing and SMS is set to rise as UK consumers remain intrinsically linked with their phones. The medium is already widely used for sending marketing messages, however as technologies grow we expect to see an exponential rise in its use amongst businesses and consumers.”

To help manage the growth in mobile and SMS marketing, new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are set to come into force in May 2018. This will ensure businesses looking to engage in SMS marketing are compliant and have appropriate platforms and permissions in place when doing so.

A full version of the report can be found by contacting Scarlett@thesourcepartnership.com.

Industry Spotlight: Mobile – is your strategy reaping the benefits?

Mobile isn’t just the latest craze.  Mobile can’t even be called a recent trend.  It isn’t just the future, it is the now and here to stay.

We’re addicted to our phones – just look at the number of people sitting in restaurants flicking through social media rather than having a face-to-face conversation with their dinner companion(s).  We order food via our phones; we even date via our phones.  There’s an app for everything.  Mobile is constantly developing and finding new ways to integrate into our lives that little bit further – if it’s not part of your marketing strategy, you’re already way behind…

You may not be on mobile but your customers are

We wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is reach for our phones.  The Deloitte 2016 UK Mobile Consumer Survey found that almost half of 18-24 year olds check their mobile even during the night.

How many times have you browsed on your phone while on the train?  While you walk home?  While you’re watching TV? If you’re not tapping (or swiping) into the potential mobile marketing has for engaging with your customers, then your competition has a clear advantage on your offering…

Still not sold on the idea of mobile marketing?

I receive an email on my phone advertising a shoe sale and click the perfectly crafted trackable URL.  Website doesn’t load within a couple of seconds?  Goodbye!  Now, on to the next email; speed is crucial to using mobile data on the go.

Your website’s too small to read on my 4.7 inch screen?  Forget it.  Will I go back and check out the website when I’m on my desktop?  Maybe – but chances are I’ll find what I’m looking for quicker elsewhere via my smartphone.

Say a potential job candidate works long hours; has a hectic home life; and gets half an hour to themselves each day – if they’re lucky.  They’re looking for opportunities to advance their career.  Your website SEO is excellent.  They find the ideal job opening.  They click apply.

Suddenly they’re confronted with a long application form, which they grudgingly complete.

Then they’re asked to attach a CV.  Their CV isn’t stored on their mobile.  They have it on Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Docs but none of those are integrated with your website.  There’s not even an option to send their LinkedIn profile.

They give up, close their browser and end up not applying.

Want consumer engagement?

Mobile marketing is one of the best platforms for consumer engagement. How many times have you liked an incredible holiday destination on Instagram; pinned a delicious looking recipe on Pinterest; or checked into a bar on Facebook?  If your customers aren’t engaging with you via mobile, chances are they’re engaging with your competitor.

We tweet companies our complaints rather than contacting them directly.  We’re concise, quicker and don’t want to wait for more than a couple of hours to receive a response.

Everything is in the public domain.  And if you’re not monitoring what’s being said, if you’re not replying fast enough, if you’re not putting out your own content, then you don’t have control of your brand’s story online.

What’s the difference between desktop and mobile content?

Simple, mobile is shorter, sharper and punchier.  Mobile gets to the point quicker and readers don’t have time to search for what they’re looking for within a sea of text – they want it to jump out. They want easy to read content with short paragraphs and sentences. Crisp, clear language is key.

Know what you need and what’s a waste of your resources

The more you know about your audience – what they’re looking for and where they are – the simpler it becomes to implement a mobile marketing strategy that delivers return on investment (ROI).

Test your emails on mobile.  Can you see the full subject line?  Does the design work for all screen sizes?  Are your links easy to click?  Test your website on multiple mobile devices too.  What needs optimising for mobile?  Maybe a faster load time is needed; or a larger font; more spacing; bigger buttons; and simpler navigation?

Does your content need cleaning up and breaking down?  Is it time for a complete rewrite?

What content do you have that lends itself to social?  What social sites are your customers using? 

 

Words by Jennifer Wright, head of Group Marketing at BlueSky PR

Guest Blog, Gregory Gazagne: Appy Shoppers – creating the desired in-app experience…

Take a look at your phone’s home screen. There’s a strong chance that at least one of the apps you’re looking at exists primarily to help you buy things.

If you’re a loyalty card customer, it’s likely you have the corresponding retailers’ app installed, like Boots or Tesco. Whereas, if you fall into the ‘millennial’ category then you probably have something like Etsy or Deliveroo; Net-a-Porter for the fashionistas; eBay for the bargain-hunters. Nowadays, when it comes to the retail industry, the old adage ‘there’s an app for that’ rings truer than ever.

Consumers are becoming increasingly fond of making purchases through mobile apps. In the first half of 2016, according to Criteo’s latest Mobile Commerce Report, retailers with a sophisticated mobile app presence saw up to 54 per cent of their mobile transactions generated in-app; an increase from 47 per cent in 2015.

As well as being three times more likely to buy something through a mobile app than mobile web, consumers also spend more this way: this quarter saw mobile apps generate higher order values than desktop and mobile web; with an average of $127 spent in-app versus $100 on desktop and $91 on mobile web.

To stay in line with increasing consumer demand, top retailers are building savvy, intuitive and useful shopping apps that give consumers a seamless way to buy on mobile devices.

But, of course, rolling out a successful mobile commerce app isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, with retailers facing two major obstacles to driving in-app sales: usability, and adoption.

Usability

It might sound obvious, but the most successful mobile apps are the ones that prioritise user experience above all else. People need to enjoy using the app if they’re going to keep coming back to it.

Capabilities like home screen presence, instant loading, offline content, push notifications, personalisation and access to native functionality make the mobile shopping experience richer and more immersive for consumers.

Brands that can deliver this feature-rich environment and create a unified, consistent and relevant experience for shoppers, regardless of device, will succeed in driving retention and conversion rates.

Adoption

The explosive growth in mobile app usage has created a hugely competitive marketplace, with a staggering 2.2 million apps now available in leading app stores. In this environment, retailers face a difficult challenge as they battle their market competitors as well as other apps for user attention.

As a retailer, it’s no use having a fantastic mobile app if people aren’t downloading and using it. But with so many apps to choose from, how do retailers ensure that once their app makes it onto devices, it doesn’t become unused and forgotten?

App advertising is one route that is being explored to bring users back to an app to browse and purchase. Inspiring interaction along the entire path to purchase with relevant, personalised content, app advertising targets shoppers with mobile ads showcasing products relevant to their interests and recent browsing activity.

With this approach, we’ve found that once engaged, shoppers are 30 per cent more likely return and shop within the app – without further encouragement.

Mobile apps do require significant investment to get it just right, and indeed to make it onto consumer’s smartphone screens at all. But, as our research indicates, not only do consumers want to buy through mobile apps, they’re willing to spend more than they would through other channels.

In conclusion, this means that in the world of mobile commerce, apps are rapidly moving from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to a business-critical method. Therefore, retailers need to move quickly, or risk losing out.

 

Gregory Gazagne joined Criteo in January 2010 as sales vice president in charge of international development. His success in opening 12 new markets in only 12 months saw him appointed managing director for France, southern Europe and Latin America in January 2011. Grégory went on to hold the role of managing director for Europe from January 2013 to December 2014, and is currently managing director for EMEA.

Industry Spotlight: Engaging with customers in a mobile gaming society…

In the world of mobile gaming, customer engagement is defined in different ways: it is an effect, a reaction, a connection, a response and/or an experience of customers with one another and with a company or a brand. With the ever-increasing popularity of mobile and social technology, today’s consumers live in an ‘always connected’ state. This level of instant interaction and a more demanding consumer means that, as marketers, we have had to reconsider the engagement and connection with our customers.

At tombola, we encourage our customers to engage with our brand via our social media channels and live-help service. We believe that real-time feedback and social media engagement gives us the opportunity to interact with our players, providing them with a much more personalised experience and it helps ensure they get a positive representation of our brand. We also encourage our customers to engage with each other through the chat feature, as we feel it adds genuine value to their experience and adds to the sense of community that is at heart of the tombola brand.

Since the launch of our app in 2013, we have seen growth in players accessing tombola through mobile devices. The general shift in the gaming market towards mobile platforms caused us to take a more extensive outlook at our customers’ journey, to keep us at the forefront of the industry. For tombola users, we aim to create an app experience that is compelling and fun. For this reason, we now design our games as mobile first. We believe this helps to engage and retain our brand’s audience and is compliant with the expectations of a mobile-savvy consumer who is constantly confronted by well-crafted interactive experiences.

We believe that mobile marketing is a necessary platform for consumer engagement and loyalty. As marketers face more competition than ever before, our users are becoming increasingly demanding of high-quality experiences, which we can successfully deliver on mobile platforms. The first game we developed intentionally for mobile use, Pulse, still remains one of our players’ favourites today. We attribute this to the fact that our games are fun, which is essential to audience engagement. This element of gaming helps to intertwine the marketing and entertainment niches, creating a more transparent experience for customers, which in turn helps us generate brand loyalty. We expect mobile platforms to continue to grow and develop and to be used more and more for gaming purposes, and it’s our challenge to grow with the platform.

 

Find out more about tombola here

 

Brits’ high smartphone use leads to infinite marketing opportunities…

A new Verto Analytics survey – which studied the differences in smartphone usage between UK and US consumers – found Brit marketers to have a more onerous job compared to their US counterparts, after revealing 81 per cent of Brits use a smartphone, compared to the US at 68 per cent.

The findings, which were collected via the organisation’s ‘single-source audience measurement solution’, acknowledge the mass opportunities for UK marketers to take full advantage of the medium and its growing popularity.

Additionally, social media apps were found to be the most popular component of the platform; with every UK consumer using at least one and spending an approximate two hours per day.

CEO of Verto Analytics, Dr. Hannu Verkasalo, said: “We are delighted to provide the UK market with a way to better quantify and measure consumer behaviours and usage patterns. For example, knowing how one consumer uses multiple apps or websites, across several devices, in one day is helping companies make more informed decisions around marketing, advertising, and product development.”

Read more on the survey here