Mobile Texting coming on Strong!

text messaging

006656 034267 7Wirefly recently did a poll of Mobile Phone users and found that 64% of mobile users don’t use text messaging. As I was researching this post, I was surprised that a few sites were shocked by the numbers.

Perhaps I’m an older user than some of the bloggers who commented, but I was actually surprised for the opposite reason. I was surprised that 65% of users actually did use text messaging. Perhaps it’s simply that I’ve turned 40 years old but… really? That’s like being shocked that 35% of telephone users never used the telegraph machine.

35 Percent of mobile phone users don’t text because they figured out they can actually speak in that little handy box real time with the person on the other end. And they don’t have to cramp up their thumbs to do so. Of course, texting could come in handy if you wanted to break up with someone but didn’t want to actually speak to them.

I’m being sarcastic of course, I like to text. My kids text their friends endlessly and I appreciate when they text me in a meeting rather than calling me. Texting is much less intrusive and it’s fairly instantaneous. And it’s on the rise.

Businesses have been struggling with what to do with mobile for a while now. The buzz in the food service industry is how responsive patrons are to text-based coupons and alerts. I met with Adam Small, President of Text by Request, this morning and Adam waxed poetic on the extremely exciting things that are coming down the pipeline.
Text by Request already has some interesting uses of mobile. One of them is providing Marathon users with their end-time by having them text in their registration number. No need to wait until you get home to look the time up on your PC!

Adam went on to explain SMS vs. MMS. Where SMS (Short Message Service) allows 160 characters of text to be sent back and forth, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) allows images, video and sound to be sent back and forth.

3glogo 2As Mobile providers continue to enhance their networks for speed (e.g. 3g, translated = third generation) and mobile phones continue to enhance their screens with higher resolutions, this can really open up the market!

96pxInstead of sending out a text message to push the fish at lunch, perhaps you can send a short video from the manager on duty or a great video of the dish itself! You can also pass a customized coupon utilizing the latest in barcode technologies so that the retailer can simply wave a reader in front of the phone to redeem the coupon.

Adam shared some additional exciting technologies with me that I don’t have permission to share here (yet), but I’m looking forward to seeing and using.

Should Texting be Free?

I asked Adam if he thought the pricing would change for messaging here in the United States (overseas texting is often free) and he said he hopes not. One look at the volume of spam in your inbox explains why… if texting didn’t cost money, our phones would be filling up as we speak!


  1. 1

    Well, yes, although I’m one of these seriously old people and I don’t use a mobile except to text – useful as a courtesy that doesn’t require the recipient to stop work and listen, when I know they aren’t near an email device…

  2. 2

    If your company focused on mobile content or IM, you would want your survey to reflect low useage of text messaging. but the most recent numbers from the CTIA, an un-biased international organization shows that out of the 262 million US phone owners, over 176-million text message. Over 400,000 a minute in just the US.

    Text messaging in the US is growing at the rate of 151% annually, with the 30 to 45 years olds growing at the rate of 130%.

    Only 3 of the major US providers currently allow mass MMS and most of the major players are focused on expansion of their data access market because of the challenges in delivering MMS, which is less than 30%.

    Data accessed mobile content is the future for mobile marketing, but SMS for pure communications and the number of applications available via text continues to grow.

    Currently almost 50% of the US phones have data capability but only approximately 30% pay the additional fees to activate the feature.

    • 3

      Great stats, Rbowen! Thanks so much for taking the time to share these stats. I’ve been scouring the net to find out what I can on the topic. Messaging definitely has the buzz, but still seems to have a ways to go to get mainstream marketing adoption. Perhaps this is the year!

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