While developing technology has given people new ways to search, share, and utilize information, it also has provided new pathways for marketers to reach out and tempt audiences in making the switch to consumer. According to James Monaghan, vice president of project management at TeleSign, marketers face some challenges as Short Message Service (SMS) technology changes and further develops. In order to maintain relevant, and successfully market to these otherwise unreachable audiences, marketers must embrace SMS developments and change their strategies to integrate as seamlessly as possible.
Making Every Word Count
Otherwise known as “text messaging” SMS transmissions are usually limited to 160 characters, although the most successful are done at a fraction of that. In terms of attention span, advertising has had to combat an audience who isn’t willing to sit around and read a page-long advertisement. Even YouTube has added a “Skip Ad” feature to some of its “less premium” sites because of viewers unwillingness to passively consume two minutes worth of advertisements before a 30 second video. According to Davy Alba, a contributor to Wired, some people are willing to pay to skip the ads all together, even the 5 second previews. This means that marketers must craft short, informative, and interesting messages in order to best convey their SMS strategies.
Textable Graphics and Videos
As the capacity of phones, networks, and video cards increase, allowing better quality, longer videos and higher-resolution photos to be shot, saved, and shared in a matter of moments, marketers must seize this new platform, but sparingly. Much of the current content curation is done and stored in the cloud. This leads to faster downloading and uploading potential, and it also increases the rate of viral sharing. According to Kyle Wagner in an article on Gizmodo, the future of text messaging is a mess, one where constant information is flowing in and out at an incredible rate. Marketers must find a way to make themselves stand out from thousands of others wanting to offer the same services to the same customers. Those who create content in an original and engaging way stand to be the most successful.
Mobile engagement is one of the most coveted strategies for SMS marketers, according to OpenMarket. SMS provides a very low commitment level, and can be used to create and view some very creative and substantial marketing options. Keeping track of engagement is an essential part of proving ROI on any marketing strategy, which moves beyond just how many clicks a link receives. Marketers face an increasing challenge in defining what constitutes a successful engagement and what has been lost in the swarm of information.
No one underestimates the battle between technology giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook. However, in the rush to create the newest phone, the best apps, and the fastest networks, they do not always play well with one another. Some phones do not allow the use of certain apps, and other hardware is incompatible with cross-platform operating systems. The war between the gizmo gurus has a severe effect on marketers who must find a way for their message to reach across different platforms and register the same utility on all hardware and every mobile device. According to Brian Barrett for Gizmodo, this inability to come to an agreement makes switching between devices difficult, and creates ridiculous loyalty to a brand or product.
The Future of SMS
It’s impossible to predict what the future entails, especially as technology continues to develop at increasingly rapid rates. While few could have guessed at the reality of how popular SMS and mobile marketing as become, industry trends can often point marketers in the right direction. Those who are willing to innovate new ideas, and be bold enough to tackle new tactics, often reap the rewards that come with it. Audiences are no longer passive consumers, but active participants in their own marketing strategies. Marketers who can recognize, and tailor their strategies to fit, will see a better, brighter future behind the phone screen.