Marketers Go Long on Short Codes

The expansion of the U.S. audience for mobile text messages should lead to expanded opportunities for SMS marketing, according to a new white paper from Nielsen Mobile, the telecom and mobile media research arm of The Nielsen Co.

Right now the U.S. ranks eleventh among a group of the largest global countries in terms of text message usage, with about 57% of wireless subscribers having seen a text message in the previous 30 days. That compares to SMS rates of 85% in Sweden, 78% in Italy, 77% in Russia, and 76% each in Spain and the U.K.

But Americans' use of text messaging will grow. "It's hard to imagine a time when we'll each average more than the current 357 messages per month, but it will come," the report contends. "So too will the opportunity to engage with customers over this highly personal and interactive medium."

And since consumers today tend to look at every text message they receive, that offers SMS marketers an opportunity to engage with those customers in unique and personal ways. And mobile short codes are playing a part in both direct promotional campaigns and in bridging the gap between offline advertising and digital initiatives.

For example, Nielsen Mobile points to the efforts Coca-Cola has put into text messaging. loyalty members can now submit their under-cap codes via mobile short code to increase their rewards points. Nielsen says Coke's mobile users typically send and receive about 32 messages a month from the company. And as of Q3 2008, 1.1 million My Coke Rewards users on the AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks were actively texting Coca-Cola.

The Nielsen paper points out that almost half of that mobile My Coke Rewards contingent (47%) was 35 or older. Overall, 53% of mobile users engaging with the kind of short codes used by brand marketers are 35 or more.


Please refer to the document on the right to download the full findings.