Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

duhFrom the Not Necessarily the News department: "Teens text more than adults" - or so went a headline from an e-newsletter from MarketingCharts that hit my inbox recently.


The actual article stated that overall, teens text five times more than adults according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Again, not all that surprising, but at least we're getting somewhere. It seems that most adults text between 1-10 times a day, both groups are pretty similar in the 11-20 times a day and 21-50 times a day categories. But teens are twice as likely to text 51-100 times a day and more than three times as likely to text over 100 times a day.

Check out the graph of the number of texts per day, adults vs. teens:

One other bit of information about texting: 57% noted that they received unwanted or spammy text messages.

What conclusions can marketers draw from this for the future?
First, this is the next generation of consumers, so we need to be prepared for them. While email may become more important to them in the workforce, they're still going to be tied to texting. The challenge is that texting is necessarily a one-to-one (or in some cases one-to-few) experience. There's very little room for interruptive ads.

Second, as you can see from that 57% figure, opting in is going to be extremely important; but even so, I believe that if we're taking up their valuable texting time by shooting them an SMS message, then it should be something that is worth their attention. Some categories or ideas to consider:
  • Funny
  • Entertaining
  • Breaking news about your brand or company
  • Exclusive content
  • Discounts or coupons
  • Contest or sweeps
  • For local businesses: a digital version of "leave your business card"
  • Get them off mobile-only interaction - cross-pollinate to your other properties
Probably one of my most favorite examples of this last category is the Facebook Sign Maker (and its Twitter counterpart) from the good folks at Blue Sky Factory. Text a simple phrase to a number and - voila! - you're a fan of a Facebook page.

They've brought users from text messaging to Facebook fans via an outdoor/experiential sign. Remarkably effective and stunningly simple. Companies that begin to adopt this thinking understand how different marketing practices can leverage each other and that this is how life works - it's not about how we interact with the world around us, not how we simply focus on a single channel.

Here's one final nugget found in the Pew report: breaking some long-held stereotypes, men actually use the phone slightly more than women. Of the women surveyed, 53% make or receive five or fewer calls a day, while only 43% of men could say the same.

Maybe there are still a few surprises around after all.

Image credit: SarahDeer (Flickr)