Using common short codes for mobile app marketing
|Richard Harris in Marketing & Promotion Friday, February 16, 2018|
How Common Short Codes can improve downloads and engagement for companies wanting to improve their mobile marketing.
Common Short Codes provide an easy way for app developers and brands to get consumers to download an app in context with their current, real-world surroundings. Common Short Codes bring integrity and context to a brand’s marketing efforts and can be an effective strategy for maintaining ongoing, long-term engagement with consumers.
For instance, say a consumer is waiting in line at a popular burger restaurant to purchase her favorite meal. A savvy burger restaurant marketer would know this consumer is likely using her smartphone while she waits in line. They could place an in-store advertisement using a Common Short Code, telling customers to text a five or six-digit code to download the restaurant chain’s app and the link is instantly delivered to their smart phone via an SMS message.
This simple onsite marketing is an easy way to attract new app downloads and create additional brand loyalty and promotional opportunities.
Common Short Codes for easy app downloads can also be used as part of a larger marketing program that mixes print, radio, television, online, apps and other advertising. Common Short Codes give mobile users an effective tool to immediately respond and interact with a brand or product and then obtain the associated app.
App developers stand to benefit greatly by utilizing Common Short Codes as part of their efforts to expand the number of users.
ADM: Text messaging marketing seems old-school compared to push alerts or other mobile methods. Why do you think text messages are so powerful?
Holsenbeck: While text-based marketing via Common Short Codes is not new, it takes advantage of the most popular and ubiquitous feature across all smart phones today. Push messaging typically requires you to have an app downloaded that allows you to receive the message, and more and more consumers are decluttering their phones from apps that are rarely used. Furthermore, push notifications do not typically allow direct response or a path for interaction unless you open the app. In fact, text messaging has received a boost with brands now implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their campaigns via chat bots. These automated text-based interactions can be a great way to supplement or build app functionality into a text-based conversation.
While marketers will often claim they understand the power of text messaging in reaching potential customers, less than one-third incorporate text into their campaigns. That is a significant oversight considering that, according to multiple studies, text messages from brands have a 98 percent open rate - clearly outpacing the 25 percent average open rate for email.
ADM: Can you explain what a Common Short Code is and how they are used?
Holsenbeck: Common Short Codes are a secure and trusted SMS/MMS text messaging option for marketers looking to engage consumers directly on their mobile devices and are supported by almost all wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, as well as application providers, content providers and aggregators. Together, these entities help brand marketers leverage Common Short Codes to engage customers under specific guidelines to maintain customer trust and brand reputation.
Overseeing the Common Short Code program in the U.S. is CTIA, a trade association representing the wireless communications industry since 1984. iconectiv is the official administrator of the Common Short Code registry.
Common Short Codes are five- and six-digit numbers that identifies brands that are engaging in trustworthy communications with consumers. Moreover, these shorter numbers are recognized as coming from a legitimate business, which encourages consumers to interact more readily with them.
Unlike long-form codes, which are essentially regular telephone numbers that can be 10 digits or more, Common Short Codes are easier to remember and help protect consumers from receiving unwanted spam. They also ensure the consumer can decide whether they want to receive text messages from the brands of their choice via guidelines that promote common features such as opting in for receiving messages, “Help” information, and the ability to “Stop” future messages.
Common Short Codes are highly effective when used in marketing campaigns, making it possible for consumers to opt-in to receive coupons, links to apps or other relevant, useful information regularly from retailers and brands. A Common Short Code placed on a print ad, website, store marketing collateral or in a TV commercial can encourage a consumer to send a text to receive a special offer or app download link. The interaction takes seconds and happens in real time, allowing a marketer to engage a consumer at point-of-contact in the real world or when they are making a purchasing decision.
ADM: Can anyone use Common Short Codes for marketing purposes?
Holsenbeck: Yes, any company or entity that adheres to the guidelines can use Common Short Codes for marketing efforts. The Common Short Code program has many users, including major brands, small business, government, charitable organizations, hospitals, and educational institutions. Common Short Codes don’t have to be just for marketing, they can also enable a “one-to-many” mass communication channel for broad notifications or alerts. They are commonly used by brands to verify account ownership through one-time pin resets or banks to notify of fraudulent activity. Really, the possibilities and use cases on how brands and entities can interact with people via short code-enabled text messaging are endless.
Management and Common Short Code
Registry at iconectiv
ADM: Do you lease or buy a Common Short Code and what are the typical costs?
Holsenbeck: Common Short Codes are leased. The cost of using a Common Short Code is often a small fraction of an overall digital marketing or customer support budget. Cost details can be found here: https://www.usshortcodes.com/pricing.
ADM: Do you really need a Common Short Code? What about just using an SMS gateway solution with a phone number?
Holsenbeck: Common Short Codes offer a safe and trusted method to engage consumers. Per the Common Short Code usage requirements, consumers must be provided an option to opt in and or out of receiving messages from a user. Common Short Codes offer the best, most reliable, and most accepted method for legitimate engagement with mobile subscribers.
While the utilization of phone numbers has gained some traction for some smaller businesses, the use of regular telephone numbers can be misleading to consumers and make it more difficult for them to identify legitimate activity from potential spam, spoofing, or phishing attempts. As it is more difficult to discern messages being received via a regular number, it may be easier for a legitimate number to be mistaken as spam and be blocked.
ADM: What can and can’t be done when marketing to phone numbers of users?
Holsenbeck: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) makes it clear that companies must have explicit consent to contact the owner of that number. Failure to comply can lead to large fines and/or damages from lawsuits for offending companies.
The Common Short Code registry works by requiring participants to follow strict opt-in requirements before transmitting communications from a specific Common Short Code. Requiring explicit consumer consent ensures that people only receive the communications they truly want. This requirement is beneficial to brands and marketers alike, protecting their name, reputation and integrity in the marketplace.
About Cliff Holsenbeck
Cliff is responsible for overseeing the administration of the U.S. Common Short Codes Registry on behalf of the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA). With more than 15 years in the telecommunications space, Holsenbeck has built and supported many complex enterprise customer solutions specializing in messaging as well as solutions for OSS/BSS, SS7, and registries. Prior to iconectiv, Holsenbeck held various sales, engineering, product management and client management roles at Syniverse, Verisign and Interop Technologies.
Holsenbeck holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Valdosta State University.
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