Over at AdWeek, Simon Vella makes some excellent points in his op-ed “Forget Apps, Text Still Reigns in Mobile.”
He notes: "Nearly every cellphone in the U.S. is capable of text messaging and because it’s used for regular personal communication, it’s always top of mind in terms of general daily use. By comparison, only 18% of all phones in the U.S. are smartphones. Further, Juniper Research forecasts that smartphones worldwide will account for just 23% of all new handsets sold per annum by 2013, hardly representing the mass market for general consumer goods and services."
And furthermore, "An October 2009 report from Strategy Analytics" showed only four to six mobile apps are used on a consistent basis. Brands need to be aware that there’s intense competition for share of the mobile phone desktop…This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grabbing consumer attention for those without big budgets or unique functionality. The reality is that most mobile apps are downloaded and discarded to the bin unless they’re compelling and have an ongoing mobile usefulness to them."
Elsewhere, Mobile Marketing Watch has used the AdWeek essay as a jumping off point to discuss the power and utility of SMS in the face of lots of noise.
Justin Montgomery notes in “Mobile Apps May be Reaching a Saturation Point, SMS Still Reigns Supreme”:
"Mobile apps are dominated by the iPhone, with most development going toward its platform, which only represents 4% of the entire mobile market. With such a frenzy for mobile apps, competition is rampant with very few avenues to distribute, apart from Apple’s App Store which has the most competition of all. Because of it, the mobile app market is beginning to be saturated. SMS, on the other hand, has none of these limiting attributes."
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Marketers don’t want hype; they want to reach consumers with meaningful brand messages. SMS, and targeted digital messaging, are powerful tools that can achieve exactly that. While apps are fun to play around with, they’re expensive to make, offer questionable ROI, and the bulls eye is extremely small.
Pound for pound, SMS is the more effective and proven marketing channel.