Executives have long been dismissive of text messaging as a marketing medium, and it isn’t difficult to see why. When texting first emerged as a method of communication, it was most enthusiastically adopted by young kids and teens, who had the time, energy and incentive to learn a new technology. Yet, after 20 years of texting, those young kids and teens are now established adults, and most still prefer to communicate using this fast and convenient digital service.
Still, many executives are hesitant to adopt a marketing strategy that incorporates sending SMS messages. Here are a few statistics about text messaging that might surprise business leaders and convince them to start texting consumers and clients today.
Mobile Phone Adoption Continues to Climb
A decade ago, many marketing experts anticipated an imminent plateau to the adoption of mobile technologies. Though mobile devices had seen a meteoric rise since their introduction to the population in the years surrounding Y2K, some experts believed that everyone interested in owning a mobile device did so already, and though the use of those devices probably would not decline, they suspected it would not increase, either.
They were wrong.
Today, 97 percent of Americans own a cellphone, and 85 percent of American adults own a smartphone, demonstrating that mobile technologies are at near total adoption. What’s more, generation Z — also known as zoomers, the youngest consumer generation at present — boasts an astonishing 96 percent adoption of smartphones, proving that mobile device use will remain dominant through the coming years and decades.
Mobile Web Traffic Has Skyrocketed
Mobile web traffic overtook desktop web traffic long ago, in October 2016, and desktop traffic has never recovered. Still, mobile browsing continues to increase, as more consumers have smartphones and devote more time per day to using those smartphones over their other technology.
The COVID pandemic has had a particularly profound effect on mobile web traffic. One study found that 64 percent of consumers attest to spending more time on their phones as a result of social distancing mandates, even as fear of the virus begins to wane. Experts have identified that at least 54 percent of global web traffic comes from mobile devices, and as Google prioritizes mobile-first indexing, websites built with mobile in mind are more likely to flourish.
This is especially true of retailers, who are finding that their online stores are becoming the default option for consumers. Roughly 45 percent of adults believe that mobile devices are the most valuable tools for shopping, and over 75 percent of gen Z and millennials exclusively use smartphones to shop online. Few businesses lacking mobile-ready online stores have survived the pandemic, but those that have need to digitally transform ASAP.
Text Message Engagement Is High
Consumers have more options for communication than ever before — but again and again, consumers return to texting as their preferred method of maintaining connections. Despite the broader functionality available through social media, texting is fast, efficient and intimate, which is why the rate of texting has only increased in recent years.
Again, the pandemic is partially to thank for the rise in text dominance. The unavailability of face-to-face interaction caused 50 percent of cellphone users to increase the number of texts they sent over the past few years. What’s more, unlike other modes of communication, text is nearly immediate; well over 90 percent of recipients will view text messages within three minutes of sending, and roughly half will respond in the same amount of time. Best of all, roughly 100 percent of smartphone users read every text message they receive. Given these fascinating statistics, it isn’t difficult to see why so many businesses are interested in using SMS for marketing campaigns.
SMS Marketing Is Starting to Rise
Texting is relatively young, and the technologies for sending business texts are even younger. The lack of access coupled with confusing regulations and a stigma of inefficiency and informality have kept business leaders away from this marketing channel for decades, but SMS marketing is finally beginning to pick up steam.
At present, only about one-third of businesses bother with SMS marketing, but that figure is rapidly changing. Considering how a bulk text engages the consumer audience, more and more companies are likely to adopt this marketing strategy. The sooner executives adopt text messaging, the more competitive they can be in their market, and the more success they will see in coming years.