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Advertising by SMS

Europe is inundated, by the U.S. has been relatively spared -- until now

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The Spanish really love their text ads — at least that's what new data on short message service advertising from M:Metrics would have you believe. According to M:Metrics, 75% of Spaniards with mobile phones received text ads from their mobile phones, whether they were promotions from carriers, contest entries, polls or short-code initiated messages. In contrast, only 17% of U.S. mobile subscribers received such messages.

So does this mean that Americans are more discerning consumers of ad-based content, quicker to reject the notion of marketing via SMS than the more gullible Spanish? Hardly, said Evan Neufeld, senior analyst for M:Metrics. The difference is a matter of scale. Europe has SMS usage rates exceeding 80%, while the U.S. is sitting in the 40% range.

“Europeans have been texting longer, and therefore they have a much greater volume of text messages,” Neufeld said. “Just as in any medium, the higher volume the traffic, the higher volume of ads will find its way into it.”

As SMS volumes increase in the U.S., the proportion of those text messages carrying ads will likely increase, Neufeld pointed out. The more a medium is used, the more marketers will be drawn to it as a way of delivering their message. And with e-mail becoming an increasingly ineffective way to deliver ads electronically, advertisers are looking for a new distribution medium, Neufeld said.

Rather than Europeans being more receptive to mobile advertising than Americans, the opposite may the case. M:Metrics' study found that U.S. users led the lot in response rates to ads they received at 12%. So while Europe may be getting more of it, we're buying into it. Who's gullible now?

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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