My Topics

4 October 2011

The Younger Crowd Responds to SMS Text Ads… On Their Terms

Keywords: Bluetooth, SMS, advertising, internet, mobile, persuasion, print, Eastern Asia, North America, Western Europe, marketing, mobile phone, teens, word-of-mouth (WoM), young adults,

Young people respond to SMS text ads based on trust, consent, and content according to a Journal of Advertising Research article. It also points to huge potential for emerging mobile advertising formats (i.e., response-based and location-based mobile advertising).

Take aways

  • Due to privacy concerns and viruses, young consumers are increasingly unlikely to respond to SMS-based mobile advertising. Therefore, advertisers should find ways to deal with these problems. 
  • Mobile phones have huge potential as a tool to interact with traditional advertising (e.g., using the mobile device to scan QR codes in print ads to receive more information or discounts).
  • Mobile phones also have huge potential for location-based advertising (e.g., making ads more relevant and timely based on the location of a consumer via Bluetooth).

Study information

  • The question?

    What can we learn about mobile advertising from the existing academic research?

  • Where?

    North America, Western Europe, Eastern Asia

  • How?

    A review of 28 research articles published in major academic journals from 1993 to August 2010.

Facts and findings

  • Young consumers are willing to accept advertising in SMS text messages if:
    • The source is trusted
    • Permission has been given
    • The message is relevant (socially and content-wise)
    • The message is well-produced (e.g., eye-catching visuals, curiosity arousing)
    • The message is entertaining 
    • The message is brief and easy to respond to
    • The message contains an incentive (e.g., a discount)
  • There is a trend of dropping response rates to SMS-based mobile advertising because of privacy issues, the perception that they waste time, and the cost to the consumer. 
  • Targeting consumers with specific messages in the right context is increasingly important.
  • In Japan, 88% of mobile users have a Quick Response (QR) code reader on their mobile phone and 84% actually have used QR codes (i.e., two-dimensional barcodes which can be scanned by a mobile phone). 
  • In addition, 60% are open to Bluetooth-enabled advertising—when permission is granted and if incentives are offered. 
  • Fun Fact: Young consumers are suspicious of slang in texts from unknown and less trusted sources.