First, it was the shiny Motorola Razor cell phone. Do you remember how cool that was? Then it was the Blackberry, what a commotion that little scrolling ball created in the mobile world! Next, the IPhone made headlines for its amazing picture quality and touch screen capabilities. Now, the talk of the town has shifted away from the look of cell phones and on to their resources. Interests have migrated from the alarm clock function to the ability to text message and use applications. With all these changes occurring within such a short period of time, it’s sometimes difficult for marketers to know where to concentrate their mobile marketing efforts.
The best place to look for your answer is within the facts and statistics that are currently available. Only 35 percent of U.S. adults have mobile devices with the capability of utilizing an application, and of those, only 24 percent actually use the app programs available, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Eleven percent of adults don’t even understand the concept of an “app” and are not sure if their phone is equipped with the capability.
However, the majority of adults do use their mobile phone for taking pictures and text messaging. Seventy-six percent use their cell phone to take pictures, and according to the same Pew Research Center project, 72 percent of adults use their mobile phone to send or receive text messages. No other cell phone function, such as checking email or playing games, comes close to this level of engagement.
There’s no doubt that apps currently reside in the early stages of gaining popularity among cell phone users and we’re sure to see more growth in this area. But currently you only have a 25 percent chance of reaching a U.S. adult by app. In contrast, you have 75 chance of reaching them by text message. Which are you going to choose?
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