Orange trial SMS advertising – but will it work?

 In advertising

Orange has run the world’s first in-SMS advertising trial in Switzerland in partnership with Amobee Media Systems, a provider of advertising solutions for mobile phones. Several major brands participated in the project.

Orange ran a trial with SMS-embedded ads in Switzerland to leverage the mobile advertising potential in European markets.

SMS is probably the most efficient channel to link brands with mobile customers. With wide-spread usage, text messages reach a much larger audience than traditional media. Moreover, SMS are not intrusive and can be consulted by mobile users at any time.

Customers who signed up (opt in) to the trial were offered a discount on their invoice in return for insertion of advertising in the SMS they received. Advertising was inserted at the bottom of the message in the remaining available characters, total capacity of an SMS being limited to 160 characters.

“Text messaging represents the largest potential advertising opportunity in the mobile world,” comments Zohar Levkovitz CEO at Amobee Media Systems. “Given that billions of messages are sent and received every day, the number of total viewers exceeds audiences of the largest web sites, TV and radio stations and newspapers. When it comes to global audience reach no media format exceeds text messaging.”

Ads inserted in peer-to-peer SMS have a much higher chance of being read as they are less intrusive than the usual SMS push. In-SMS advertising allows for the integration of multiple interactivity features such as click-to-WAP, click-to-call or click-to-download. Moreover, thanks to Amobee’s technology, Orange is able to accurately target specific geographical zones or delivery times.

Test results measured during the nine-week testing period are very positive in terms of acceptance rate, service delivery, click rates, number of inventories and the impact on brand recognition.

“This is a groundbreaking solution and we’re very happy to be the first to test it,” comments Fabrice Allegro, Vice-President Marketing and Solutions at Orange Switzerland. “Mobile advertising provides a compelling opportunity for brands and their media agencies while allowing our customers to consume more mobile services for less.

London Calling comment: It will be interesting to see if SHOP AT TESCO FOR 50% OFF this sort of advertising is accepted by 2 FOR ONE DEAL AT PIZZA HUT consumers.  If the utility of the communications channel (SMS) is diminished by ads, then they may instead want to pay the 5p per SMS instead of getting a free one with interruptions.

A trial in Australia some years back to provide free long distance calling in return for a voice ad inserted every 3 minutes was a complete failure, because surprise surprise – people like to use 100% of the communication channel TOPSHOP SALE NOW ON and not be interrupted.

In contrast, TV advertising provides an interruption at a well defined place (not normally in the middle of a dramatic moment) and newspaper ads are clearly defined and normally do not intrude into the copy.

Mobile advertising needs to strike that balance of providing a benefit (cheaper calls, compelling offer etc) with a sensible way to present the copy in the middle of the communication with something that is targeted, relevant – and interesting/funny or useful to the end user.

I hope Orange and Admobee provide more detailed stats on the trial.

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.