Placecast: SMS Alerts Made 27% Buy in Store

As part of its "Alert Shopper" series Placecast released the results of a second consumer survey conducted with Harris. The survey was conducted online in May among just over 2,000 U.S. adults. Of that group 83% owned a mobile phone, and some had smartphones.

The point of the survey was to determine consumer attitudes and behavior around SMS-based mobile marketing. Many of the respondents were already participating in opt-in marketing from retailers in the Placecast ShopAlerts program.

There's a great deal of data in the results -- categories of interest, gender differences and more -- but the "headline" is the following: "One-third of Americans who currently have signed up for mobile marketing alerts indicate that such services impact their decision to go into stores and 27% report that mobile programs have impacted their decision to buy products in physical retail locations." 

In other words, these geo-fenced alerts are influencing respondents to go into stores and to buy things. 

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SMS still has to overcome the perception that that it's not sexy or that it's mobile marketing "with training wheels" and merely an interim step to mobile display or rich media. A correct understanding of the market and utility of SMS sees it as a complementary strategy and in some instances the most effective kind of mobile marketing. In addition, SMS still enjoys the greatest reach (nearly 100%) within mobile. 

In the Harris survey, among those mobile activities considered "important," SMS topped the list:

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Younger users are more interested in SMS-marketing alerts than older users. No surprises here. 

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 In terms of categories of interest in promotions, this was the breakdown according to the survey: 

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When segmented by gender and age, however, these data look different. For example, women are much more interested in grocery coupons than men, as well as "health and beauty." Men are more interested than women in electronics and sporting goods. There were less pronounced discrepancies, however, in most of the categories. 

What do we take away from all this? 

  • SMS continues is very important to mobile users and has the greatest reach of any mobile ad or marketing "platform"
  • People are very interested in dicounts and offers -- especially after opting in to receive them
  • Response rates are high for SMS alerts offering deals, and actual in-store purchase behavior is significantly impacted by them