Last updated: 06 February 2015
Who hasn’t received an unwanted SMS and had to click several buttons to open, read and finally delete the message? With a steady increase in mobile advertising, practices such as this have unfortunately become very common in recent years, irritating a growing number of users.
With a different idea in mind, and completely focused on interaction and targeted communication, the iSMS (Interactive SMS, by Gemalto) is becoming an increasingly interesting option, mainly based on its wide usage capacity.
Before talking more about iSMS, it is worth noting that, regardless of the tool used in mobile advertising campaigns, respecting consumer rights is essential. In other words, we can only consider the target audience as those who have already expressed interest in receiving brand communications.
The “opt in” authorization is simply consent of interest in receiving promotional or informational messages from specific brands or companies. As consumers have the right to change their minds, we can’t forget that they can opt out of this group at any time. In short, brands also have to make it possible for users to take themselves off from this list.
Returning to interactive SMS: When users receive advertisements through this new channel, they do not need to look for the messages in their phones’ inboxes. In this case, the communication comes in as a pop-up on the phone screen, making it easier to read. Another advantage is that this type of message remains open until users perform some action (pressing the “OK” button to receive more information, or clicking “Cancel/Exit”). This feature increases the text-reading index in comparison with traditional SMS.
As navigation in interactive SMS is done through pages and clicks (the same way a browser works), the level of interaction with the user base is also much higher. With a click, for example, it is possible to purchase services or content offered by the operator, while with SMS, you have to create a new message, include a particular command and specify the number to which the SMS is to be sent.
Interactive SMS is fully compatible with the GSM mobile base, and its navigation does not necessitate data traffic to function: Communication is carried out through encrypted SMS messages, or binary SMS, which are interpreted by the chip (SIM card) and displayed as a pop-up for users.
The tool’s versatility is another one of its big advantages, since iSMS can be used not only for campaigns to sell products and mobile services, but also for mobile marketing/advertising activities, qualifying the user base (CRM), and cross-selling/up-selling flows. In addition, it can be used together with mobile financial service applications, social networking and even geolocalization.
As the interactive SMS is not stored anywhere on the device, if users aren’t interested in the offered content or service, they can simply press the “Cancel” or “Exit” button to make the message disappear. In the case of the traditional SMS, since the message goes to mobile phones’ inboxes, even if users are not interested in the offer or information, they will have to manually delete the communication.
Another relevant factor is based on the fact that iSMS is one of the most egalitarian interactive channels, because it provides the same user experience on every handset. That is to say, it always works in the same way, regardless of the make or model of the user’s mobile device.
These features help explain why marketing campaigns (or “broadcasts”) using interactive SMS have a CTR (click through rate) that is up to 20 times greater than campaigns using traditional SMS.