Text messaging is especially popular with US adults ages 18 to 34, according to Universal McCann's 2008 "Media in Mind" study. Respondents from that age group sent an average of 13 text messages every week.
In last year's survey, nearly one-half of all US adults said
they had never sent a text message. This year only 41% said so. Among
18 to 34 year-olds surveyed this year, just 22% had never sent a text
message, down from the 38% the prior year.
"The great unwashed—those people who have never sent a
text message—is getting smaller all the time," said Graeme
Hutton, senior vice president at Universal McCann, in a MediaPost article.
Text messaging is still new for many marketers, as evidenced by a February 2008 ExactTarget
study. The proportion of Internet users surveyed who owned a mobile
phone and had made a purchase after receiving a text message was a
paltry 6%. That percentage was higher among younger users, but still
mostly in the single digits.
Such low numbers could be interpreted to mean that text
messages are not a very effective way to market, but they might also
just reflect that such marketing is still relatively rare.
A December 2007 BIGresearch
study of US Internet users found similarly low text message influence:
6.4% of respondents said they had bought electronics because of text
messages, and still fewer said they had influenced purchases of other
types of goods.
If mobile marketing is to move beyond the experimental budget stage,
text messaging is likely to be part of the mix, in part since the
messages lend themselves to existing terminology and benchmarks,
according to John du Pre Gauntt, senior analyst at eMarketer.
"Mobile messaging is tailor-made for getting mobile marketing past the
early adopter stage and into the mainstream," Mr. Gauntt said. "Messaging has a clear currency—that is, messages
sent, received, opened or acted upon—for all parts of the mobile
marketing chain to use."
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