Mobile Marketing and Mobile Payments 2014

Following on from last week’s review of 2013 in the mobile billing and messaging world, we take a look forward to 2014 to see what the future holds.

Statistics have shown us that more and more of us are using smartphones, and the usage of internet via handsets is growing too. If, as expected, this growth continues, then the increase in mobile shopping is likely to continue too. As solutions like Payforit in the UK and WyWallet in Sweden gain more and more trust from end-users, conversion rates for mobile payments will no doubt grow.

According to a new article in e-Marketer, businesses will need to look at response rates in the next year, as the “always–connected consumer” needs what they want, when they want it. Mobile messaging easily fills this gap, as time-sensitive communication can be delivered direct to handsets, with the option of two-way communication. Mobile Payments solve the problem of slow payment processes with credit card on mobile devices, meaning the customer can purchase on impulse, quickly and easily. As marketers have seen the need for mobile optimised websites and mobile marketing, optimising the payment process is sure to be a big discussion point next year.

txtNation in 2014
Catering to the growth in mobile payment and messaging, we are looking to make further improvements to our platform, with more cloud investment. Our MytxtNation, next generation control panel was released in beta earlier this month and we will be working on this, offering the best possible experience for our clients, with in depth tracking.

Expanding our global reach, we are looking to offer direct carrier billing in Russia in early 2014, and will be direct in Saudi Arabia, connecting with the country’s largest telco, SDC. We are looking forward to introducing new faces to our team, with more in Business Development in a number of markets, allowing us to be local where we have direct operator connectivity. Our messaging services are being bolstered with new markets and API improvements for USSD and HLR, following client feedback.

We are also adding to our support and accounts teams as our traffic volumes increase, working on our response times, with a focus on getting clients live as soon as possible.

As we gain a reputation as the strongest mobile payment solution provider for the gambling industry, we will be attending ICE Totally Gaming in London, EiG Totally Gaming in Barcelona and the Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit in London, among other events. Having been regular attendees at Mobile World Congress and World Telemedia Event in recent years, we will be at both of these again and will be visiting China for Mobile Asia Expo and China Joy in the summer.

We will continue our push with the mobile networks in the UK to allow payments for physical products, which will offer convenience and an improved customer experience for more customers.

If you would like to discuss mobile billing and mobile messaging with us, to help your business increase profits in 2014, please contact us.

2013 : Mobile Billing and Mobile Marketing

As expected by many, 2013 has seen a huge increase in the number of smartphones in use across the world, as well as more people using their handsets to access the internet. This has had an impact on the mobile billing and messaging industries, with a growing need to expand into more and more markets throughout the year.

Recent research by eMarketer suggests that there are now 30.9m smartphone users in the UK, which is over 60% of all mobile users. According to research reported in Marketing Magazine earlier in the year, over 50% of the global population accesses mobile internet at least once a week, with 35% using it daily.

Global Coverage
With a finger firmly on the pulse of the industry, txtNation made some big steps forward, catering to the growing demand. 2013 has seen txtNation expand its global reach, with direct connectivity in Switzerland and Belgium and the launch of 4T Mobile Payments in Denmark.

As mobile billing becomes more and more popular in the United Kingdom, Payforit released version 4 of its payment solution. In November, it was announced that version 4.4 would be released, with a number of changes to improve the customer experience. As a brand, Payforit has made an impact, with consumer trust growing, which can only be a good thing for businesses that accept mobile payments in the UK.

As txtNation expanded globally in its coverage, a number of new appointments in relevant markets were made. Matt Barbieri, joined as Territory Manager for Africa, Andrew Rippon as Territory Manager for the Middle East and most recently, Hans Tjolle was appointed Territory Manager for Benelux.

External Changes
During quarter 3 of 2013, it was announced that mobile networks in Ireland would be blocking any off-net or foreign traffic. This has looked to become a trend throughout other countries too, which is bad news for those offering low quality messaging routes, but better for businesses in the long run, as they will have less chance of working with aggregators who offer these cheaper options.

In the summer, Sweden’s WyWallet scrapped its registration process, as it looked to improve the customer journey and increase conversion rates. Mobile payments in the Nordics has been healthy over the last year, with the networks really working hard to build consumer trust.

In the United States, new regulations came into force from the Mobile Network Operators, stopping charges for premium SMS, meaning businesses can no longer use PSMS as a solution for monetizing services in the USA. This came into effect in November of this year.

For txtNation, 2013 was a big year, as not only did we reach our 10th birthday, following our growth from a bedroom business in 2002, but we also expanded, by acquiring South Africa and UK based 24G Media. We launched USSD menus and released our next generation control panel, MytxtNation.

Calvinayre.comMobile Payments for iGaming
Gaming and Gambling is one industry that has shown a lot of recent growth on mobile, and mobile payments has, in 2013, become a talking point for many operators. This year, txtNation attended many gaming and gambling specific events, including EiG Totally Gaming in Barcelona, Mobile Marketing Magazine’s Mobile Gaming and Gambling Summit, mGaming Summit, Social Gaming Summit and Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit, where our CEO, Michael Whelan was interviewed by Rebecca Liggero of Calvin Ayre.com about mobile payments.

2013 Awards and Achievements
This year saw us nominated for the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards in the ‘Best m-commerce solution’ category for our flagship ‘plug-and-pay’ billing solution JunglePay. We were named among Top 50 Mobile Innovators by Mobile Entertainment Magazine and nominated in the ‘Best Mobile Payments Company’ category in the Mobile Entertainment Awards as well as numerous others.

Mobile has grown in importance in 2013, with many businesses seeing the need to optimise the full user journey, from marketing and website to payment process. We have seen some exciting stories develop in mobile payments, with Buy Game Credit enabling Xbox players to purchase points via their handsets, and mobile dating site BeFlirty seeing a huge increase in revenue following their integration of Payforit with txtNation.

If you would like to discuss mobile billing and mobile messaging with us, to help your business increase profits in 2014, please contact us.

txtNation’s CBDO Danny Marino and Digital Marketing Manager Patrick Macgougan discuss ways to get the most from your SMS marketing campaigns in this webinar.

Recorded in November 2013, the webinar covers metrics for SMS mobile marketing, good quality routes for bulk SMS, HLR lookup for SMS marketing, metrics and best practice. Read our articles ‘Get the Best Results from SMS Marketing‘ and ‘5 Key Metrics for Bulk SMS Marketing

SMS MarketingToday’s consumers are mobile. They’re always on the go, sending and receiving messages of all types. As a merchant wishing to promote your services, or with the objective to improve the way in which you communicate with your customers, you can meet the increasing mobile expectations of your consumers by using SMS marketing.

Here we will cover some best practice advice, to help you get the most out of your bulk SMS marketing campaigns. These fundamentals provide a solid foundation for how to communicate with mobile subscribers appropriately and comfortably using SMS.

Used in a meaningful, relevant and appropriate way for customers, SMS communication strategies can help businesses to:

  • Acquire new mobile customers
  • Welcome mobile customers
  • Increase mobile engagement and conversions
  • Retain your customers with mobile

SMS marketing and notifications should be about adding value – not just creating noise. Here are our tips for achieving these goals with your SMS marketing campaigns:

Add value
Provide above-and-beyond value via “positive disruption.” Offer exclusive offers and avoid sending offers and information that consumers can find in your emails, print ads, or on your site. Consumers are extremely connected to their phones and text messages are reserved for their inner circle. If they let you in, make it worthwhile for them.

Consider the conversation
As marketers, we know what we want from consumers. Take a step back and consider what the consumers may want to receive from your brand. What types of messages would they like to receive? What useful information can you provide? How can you make it easiest to obtain? And is it meaningful to the customer – does it save them time, engage with them better, make the business cost saving and increase awareness and interest in product?

Do not disturb
Don’t send promotional text messages after 9 PM or before 11 AM to avoid annoying those who go to bed early and those who are late risers. When a consumer opts in to receive your text messages, request time zone information; and, accordingly, send your SMS in waves to ensure you are optimizing the interaction.

Provide value first, capture data second
Get to know your customers. Right now, you may not know anything besides their phone number and that they want to receive SMS messages.

Consider the total mobile experience. While planning your campaigns, ensure you are optimizing the customer experience by linking to mobile sites. The best experiences are when customers can be directed through the SMS directly to a mobile web page or other content.

Metrics!
How do you get the most out of SMS Marketing, and what metrics do you need to be able to effectively analyse the impact of these campaigns? Read our blog ’5 Key Metrics for Bulk SMS Marketing.’

HLR Lookup to clean your data
You would use HLR on mobile data that you have stored before running a campaign in order to check its health and save costs and improve messaging accuracy. HLR Lookup – commonly used for Mobile Number Portability queries the network to obtain MCC/MNC.

txtNation Number Portability Discovery is a complete, global Number Portability service. It provides critical Number Plan and Number Portability (MCC/MNC) information enabling identification of the true destination network on a worldwide basis.

Number Portability is an API driven or managed service, dependent on your requirements. Data is continuously refreshed, scrubbed and stored by a dedicated team to provide a high quality, low latency source of number portability data. Customers, like SMS aggregators, who have typically used HLR Lookup services in the past, can now use txtNation HLR with a single interface and obtain global number portability data. In addition, new sources of data are continuously added as required, or when new countries come online.

By checking against the home location register, you can very quickly and easily see (for the fraction of an SMS cost) whether a number is still valid and therefore worth trying to market to.

This means you end up with an optimised data list, having removed the duds and also means you get a much clearer view on your overall return from a campaign.

If you’re blindly marketing to 50k customers but 20% of the numbers are invalid then this instantly skews your measure on return – plus costs you more money than was necessary. Read more about txtNation’s HLR Number Lookup.

Quality routes
txtNation focuses on offering local mobile network routes only , unlike many companies selling interconnect routes whereby messaging is sent via far-flung destinations before being redirected to the intended market (meaning low latency and poor reliability).

Cheap routes often result in very poor campaign results with far fewer messages successfully landing on the intended handsets, compared to local routes. In addition, interconnect routes are not officially supported by the mobile networks and are considered ‘illegal’. 

Conclusion
SMS marketing and notifications are far out performing other methods of communicating with new or existing customers; and whilst customers now demand more and more from mobile and expect you to be mobile friendly in the way they can engage with you then the most reliable and natural way to support this is SMS.

SMS is quite simply the only standardised, clear and ubiquitous mobile technology which works for every customer, every device.

Implementing SMS programmes does require thought and our biggest piece of advice is to keep your message clear and concise and above all relevant!

Think carefully about who you’re sending messages to, the message and when, and what you expect the end result to be. 

Contact us to find out how your business can benefit from bulk SMS marketing.

bulk SMS MetricsTo get the most out of your bulk SMS marketing campaigns, you need to use metrics. Define success before launching, that way you can report back to stakeholders and use for improving future campaigns. Here are five key metrics we’ve chosen, for measuring your bulk SMS campaigns.

Delivery rate: This tells you the percentage of messages successfully delivered, out of the total subscribers to whom the SMS is sent. Delivery rates vary widely based on a variety of factors (list size, message frequency and pre-paid phone composition) and a low delivery rate may mean your list needs to be cleansed. You can use number lookup (sometimes known as HLR Lookup) software to help cleanse your list, preventing your sending messages to invalid numbers.

Open rate:  is a measure of how many subscribers open a particular SMS campaign after receiving it, normally expressed as a percentage. Statistics tell us that text message open rates exceed 98% compared to 22% of emails, 29% of tweets and 12% of Facebook posts.

Opt-out rate: The opt-out rate tells us the percentage of recipients who opt out after receiving an SMS campaign, much like unsubscribe rates for email campaigns. A high opt-out rate for an SMS campaign can signal: the incorrect audience has been targeted or the content isn’t relevant or value-adding. Better targeting, and split testing your SMS campaigns can help decrease opt-out rates. Statistics also show us that the average SMS campaign is opted out less than 5% of the time.

Clickthrough rate: The click through rate measures the proportion of subscribers who initiated action with respect to an advertisement that redirected them to another page. Then on that page, they might purchase an item or learn more. The average click through rate (CTR) of URLs included in SMS messages is 19%, compared to just 4.2% CTR for emails. Due to the length of SMS messages, the URL is obviously more prominent than in the majority of emails.

Conversion rate: The conversion rate is the proportion of visitors who take a valuable action. This can be a purchase, signup, phone call or simply a page view – whatever you define as the goal. Linking your SMS campaigns to valuable conversions can provide you with an insight into your ROI from the SMS campaign, and help you improve future campaigns.

Calvinayre.comtxtNation CEO Michael Whelan was interviewed about mobile payments in Brazil by Becky Liggero for CalvinAyre.com at the Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit in London yesterday.

Much of the discussion at the event centred around payment strategies for mobile gambling operators with mobile payments considered an important solution.

When asked why txtNation’s payment solution is a good fit for the Brazilian market, Michael said “Most users in these markets do not have credit cards, they have very little cash in that society in terms of the type of amounts you’d look to charge for.”

He added “It’s seamless, it’s just one click and end-users can top up immediately.”

You can watch the full day two summary video on on CalvinAyre.com, or see our photos from the event in our recent blog post.

Find out more about our mobile billing solutions for mobile gaming and gambling.

webinar - SMS Marketing

Mobile marketing with bulk SMS is a cost-effective way to communicate with current and potential customers, with high open and response rates. Using quality routes for delivery and HLR lookups to optimise your data, you can get even more from your campaigns.

As well as this, HLR can be used with your Mobile Billing campaigns. When using Premium SMS or Direct Billing, HLR lookups detect the mobile network based on a customers mobile number and significantly improve billing rates and flows.

In our upcoming webinar, Get the Best Results from SMS Marketing on 13th November at 15:00 (GMT), we will show you how to use SMS marketing to its full potential.

Webinar Agenda:

  • Cost saving with HLR lookup
  • Using quality messaging routes
  • Using HLR for better Bulk SMS Marketing campaigns

Register for our webinar.

register for the free webinar

Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit

Next week, txtNation will be exhibiting at the Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit in London where many of the industry leaders will be meeting to discuss hot topics.

If you would like to attend, make sure you take advantage of our £200 discount and contact us to arrange a meeting about mobile billing and messaging for mobile gaming and gambling.

You can read more on our blog about increasing customer acquisition and retention with bulk SMS marketing and how a mobile payment strategy can be of benefit to gambling operators.

Read more in about mobile billing for mobile gambling in our brochure, Gambling, Mobile Billing.

To arrange a meeting with txtNation at the Mobile and Tablet Gaming Summit in London, 4th-5th November, please contact us.

Over 50% of the global population accesses mobile internet at least once a week, with 35% using it daily, according to Marketing Magazine. highlighting the need for a mobile marketing and commerce strategy.

This follows recent statistics telling us that mobile internet use in the United States has doubled since 2009 with 63% of the population using their handsets to access the internet.

With so many people using the internet on their mobile phones, now is the time to take steps to accommodate for them, not just with a mobile optimised website, but also with a marketing and payment strategy to offer those users the best possible experience.

Early on in the user journey, as explained in our previous blog post, Increasing member acquisition and retention with SMS marketing businesses can take advantage of more and more people using the mobiles by reaching out to new customers with SMS data and bulk SMS marketing campaigns. This is a far more effective way of communicating to mobile handsets than email. Read more about this in our blog, SMS still the best way to reach your customers on mobile.

Contact us to find out more about mobile billing and mobile messaging and how we can benefit your business.