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Mobile Commons exec: Texting drives millennials to action

Bowling Green

Bowling Green State University's app.

Please click here to access an archived audio recording of the webinar. 

A Mobile Commons executive at a Mobile Marketer webinar said texting campaigns are far more effective than other channels in driving young consumers to take action.

During a presentation titled, “Text messaging = the primary channel for millennials,” Michael Sabat, vice president of business development for Brooklyn, NY-based Mobile Commons said although email is in every company’s or school’s plan for communicating, millennials, teens and young adults respond far better to texts. Young teens are 40 times more likely to heed a texted call to action than an email.

“Older teens – aged 17 to 19 – send or receive 181 text messages a day,” he said. “When you do the math it’s 3,500 text messages a month. Ninety percent of text messages are read and the average text message is read in 90 seconds.
 
“When you compare your text message communications to email communications or to other forms of communications with this age group, when you want them to do something, sending a text message is more effective than sending an email,” said Mr. Sabat, who focuses on pursuing new markets and making sure that customers are using Mobile Commons software effectively.

An official with Bowling Green State University and an executive with nonprofit marketing agency TMI, rounded off the webinar by giving case studies for how mobile can improve a business and higher-education institution.

The webinar was sponsored by Mobile Commons. The company provides a platform for managing mobile and text messaging campaigns with customers that have included President Barack Obama’s 2012 election campaign, New York City, New York MTA, Viacom, Tumblr, National Cancer Institute and the Humane Society of the United States.

Declining channel
Statistics dramatized the decline in email as a communication medium for younger audiences. Thirty-nine percent of teens never use email, the webinar was told. In the last year alone, email usage among those aged 12-34 has declined 27 percent.

The average 16 to 24 year old carries a cell phone constantly. Ninety percent of teens have a cell phone and 10 times as many teens text daily as those who email daily. Ninety-seven percent of 18-29 year-olds text.

Ninety-nine percent of text messages are opened, compared with email open rates of 22 percent.

Text messaging also is the most effective method for reaching underserved populations, young people, and minorities, the webinar was told, with 99 percent of text messages read.

Further demonstrating the appeal of text over email, Mr. Sabat said a client, Shedd Aquarium, used an SMS call-to-action in 25 percent of their TV ads to drive contest entries. The TV ad with an SMS call-to-action generated 325 percent more contest entries than any other call-to-action, he said.

Supporters of the Humane Society of the United States who receive a text message are 77 percent more likely to take action, he said, referring to another client.

Data from the National Cancer Institute, another client, showed that 26-35 year olds were 47 percent more likely to quit smoking when receiving texts.

Mobile Commons' mobile home page.

“Millennials will tell you unapologetically that texting reaches them where they live,” said Sandy Mencer, who directs the student enrolment communications center at Bowling Green State University.

“They will text questions they would never ask in person or online. They say my smartphone is my connection to the world. I have it with me at all times.” 

Worthy causes
Texting also is a way to drive young people’s involvement in worthy causes.
 
“We know that young people who are texting with us are actually taking action in causes,” said Greg Thomas of TMI, the nonprofit marketing agency set up by DoSomething.org.

“They are 11 to 30 times more likely to take action on the causes they are texting about. And for us who our main goal is to get young people to take action, that is amazing.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.

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Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

 
Related content: Webinars, mobile marketing, mobile, mobile commerce, Mobile Commons, Michael Sabat, Greg Thomas, TMI, Sandy Mencer, Bowling Green State University, DoSomething.org

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