Marketers’ reliance on mobile channels to engage with their customers is now bigger than ever, and the past few years have seen explosive growth in businesses using SMS and MMS messages to communicate with customers, rather than relying on email and their own mobile app. As a leader in the mobile engagement industry and as one of four Tier 1 Aggregators, Vibes handles billions of messages a year, connecting directly with top mobile carriers to deliver SMS and MMS to consumers at the right time to have the maximum impact.
Let’s get into the numbers and see what our own customer data says about the latest mobile marketing growth trends.
Strong and steady SMS revenue growth
The SMS channel is becoming increasingly important for businesses as they look to engage with their customers in new ways beyond “high-reach, low engagement” email and “low-reach, high-engagement” mobile apps. SMS messages have been shown to actually reach and be read by customers far more often than alternatives like email, and that’s even more true for younger consumers (as explained in more detail in Vibes’ 2023 Mobile Consumer Trends report). Mobile messaging reaches customers where they actually are, via their mobile phones, in a way that feels convenient and natural.
There are several reasons why SMS-attributed revenue has increased over the past two years. SMS is an instantaneous marketing channel that can be used to reach customers quickly and efficiently. It’s also flexible and easy to scale up, and businesses that have seen success with the channel have found it’s simple and cost-effective to send more messages and shift more customer communication to SMS.
Huge increases in SMS and MMS send volume
The mobile channel is flexible and convenient for customers, and has demonstrated an ability to do just about everything that email can do with more promising results. Customers are more responsive to mobile messages, while also being less likely to miss important communications.
For both traditional promotional messages and after-purchase “service” messaging, SMS and MMS messages are effective at driving revenue and then smoothing the customer journey after an initial purchase.
Timeliness of message deliverability is key to ensuring a positive consumer experience. During peak times like the Q4 holiday season, the intense competition in the SMS and MMS space makes it more important than ever to work with a Tier 1 Aggregator. These Tier 1 companies, like Vibes, have direct connections with the top mobile carriers, which means they are equipped to deliver messages efficiently and at the right time.
The continual rise of post-purchase messaging
Post-purchase and transactional mobile messaging is an essential part of the mobile mix for businesses. It is a way to keep customers engaged and informed about their purchases. Post-purchase messaging can help provide answers to the most common recurring customer questions, such as order status, before customers even have to ask.
Vibes’ data has shown that post-purchase service messaging has continued to grow in popularity, representing a larger portion of total mobile messaging volume over time. This growth is primarily driven by permanent changes in how we live, the steady work-from-home reality, and last by not least, the elder contingent of Generation Z—those born in the mid-to-late 1990’s—who recently entered or are about to enter the workplace and earning their own disposable income. In fact, according to a report by eMarketer and Barkley, Gen Z has an estimated collective buying power that is nearing $150 billion.
While the phrase “mobile marketing” can often be thought of purely in terms of promotional messages, trends have shown that a more service-based approach can yield positive results. Customers enjoy receiving answers to their most pressing purchase-related questions via the convenient mobile channel, without any need to bother with email.
Mobile engagement allows brands to cut through the clutter and have a direct relationship with consumers. It drives consumers to specific destinations and helps them complete their buying journey, getting them the best of both the physical and digital worlds.
More messages, personalized
Mobile message volume and personalization are not mutually exclusive. In fact, consumers have stated that as long as the message is relevant, the more messages the better. Personalized messages can help increase engagement and drive sales, while also helping to build stronger relationships with customers.
Truly personalized messages feel less obtrusive than broader forms of marketing—and that’s especially important when communicating via the mobile messaging channel. Three messages that are truly relevant to a customer, such as an order status update, product use tips, and a coupon for compatible accessories after a purchase, can provide a much more positive customer experience than a single, often irrelevant promotional message.
The value of SMS vs. email
Email might have the reach a brand is looking for, but with crowded inboxes and consumer inertia, it can be difficult to build engagement in a timely and relevant manner. Despite its reach, email open rates and click-through rates have been plummeting for years; the retail industry, for instance, has dipped to an average 17.1% email open rate and an anemic 0.7% click-through rate.
While we do not recommend our customers eliminate email as a channel altogether, SMS has proven itself as a higher-value channel from its higher engagement rates and consistent conversion.
We expect this trend to only continue to rise as more once-isolated technologies get consolidated onto mobile devices—think of a restaurant’s paging system being replaced by SMS notifications. This individualized data can be a boon of information for personalization efforts.
Long-term customer retention
There’s proven value seen in SMS subscribers - if they stay subscribed. For instance, an initial offer to welcome someone into your SMS program might entice initial signup, but they will quickly opt-out of the program if they don’t get the right messaging.
Our intelligent platform offers a range of highly sophisticated capabilities, such as segmentation and targeting to proper send time recommendations. Couple this with our 20+ years of strategic, tailored expertise, not only have we proven to effectively guide our customers down the right path for SMS subscriber growth, but we also help them engage and retain their subscribers.
The key strategy for the future of mobile marketing: create authentic, personalized experiences
Personalization is more than knowing someone’s name, address or phone number. It’s about how brands use that data to create an exceptional experience that’s relevant and valuable for the customer throughout the entire journey.
Consumers aren’t just actively seeking personalized experiences, McKinsey found that 76% of consumers are getting upset with brands when that doesn’t happen. Marketers simply cannot afford to overlook mobile capabilities that connect the dots between intelligent customer journeys and increased spend—but to do so successfully requires you to build and retain your customer’s trust.
With all existing and proposed legislation and vendor changes to how personalized information is collected and disseminated, brands have no excuse to not source zero-party data - that is data the customer voluntarily offers up as a means of receiving more relevant content - using mobile channels like SMS, MMS and Mobile Wallet that can curate the customer data you need without facing any privacy repercussions.
The Vibes Platform is designed for broad reach, at scale
We have seen texting continue to grow as a marketing channel, and our Platform is built to scale with the expected growth over time. This approach has been at the core of our messaging platform for more than a decade.
Our messaging platform is a cloud-native, event driven system that allows for real-time message processing and can be scaled to meet spikes and peaks in message volume. This type of design is what makes it possible for us to triple our SMS/MMS message volume over the last six years, and achieve delivery times of 99.7% of messages delivered within 5 seconds.
Mobile marketing is all about your message being delivered to the right people at the right time - and Vibes is the right partner to make that happen for your organization.
Contact us today to learn more about the successes of our customers and what success could look like for you.
- Existing Vibes customer data, 2022
- Vibes + Industry Dive studioID 2023 Consumer Trends Report