With all of the media hype about bells and whistles being added to mobile marketing programs, it’s easy to forget that SMS text messages are the standby for many businesses.  Marketers continue to use SMS text messaging to reach consumers and consumers are responding. New data from GfK MRI shows that consumer responses to text messages vary by age group. This form of advertising is likely to be effective for years to come because only half of consumers currently own smartphones and data plans which enable them to receive more sophisticated forms of mobile marketing.

In the latest release from GfK MRI, 6.2% of consumers said they had looked at an ad that came into their phone via text message. And 2.65% of these consumers used text messaging to respond to an ad or make a purchase. Marketers need to know that the tendency to respond to a text message ad is closely correlated to consumer age. The numbers below show the percentage of consumers more or less likely than the average adult cell phone owner to look at these ads:

  • Millennials +57%
  • Gen Xers +19%
  • Boomers -40%

The study also considered whether consumers are comfortable using text messaging in the first place. Not surprisingly, those who say they use texting to communicate with friends and family  are generally more likely to engage with a texted ad.

“Since more and more marketers use text as part of their overall messaging strategy, it’s noteworthy that the youngest consumers seem to be the most amenable to looking at texted ads and using text to respond to ads and make purchases,” said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, Marketing & Strategic Planning, at GfK MRI.  Kelly also notes that reaching older consumers through text messaging may not be the most efficient route for marketers.

[Source: Millennials Prime Targets For Ads Sent Via Text Messages. GFKMRI.com. 14 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2011]