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Category Archives: Educational

Recent studies conducted by the University of Michigan and University of California have focused on isolating the brain regions that control a smoker’s urge to smoke, in order to experiment with how text messages might be able to calm those urges.

The study used “functional magnetic resonance imaging” or MRI, to pin point the specific parts of the brain that cry out for nicotine. In order to gather data, Elliot Berkman, a University psychology assistant professor, choose a text message marketing platform like Opt It’s. He selected text over handing out PDA’s to all participants because “such devices are also relatively costly, since palmtop devices typically used for ecological momentary assessment can cost more than $300 each, while 86 percent of U.S. residents already have cell phones and 91 percent of those are SMS-enabled.” (Emily Falk, University of Michigan.)

The research study was able to gather facts on how many cigarettes were smoked each day, and also information on the associated emotions and behaviors. What they found is that when an individual is craving a cigarette, they need to do something that they consider self-controlling, and sending a text message is a self-controlling action. Study findings suggest that the behavior of texting may help ward off a smoker’s impulse to smoke.

The research scientists involved in the study praised the text messaging system because they feel it is a mode of communication that is very intuitive, that people are used to writing their emotions or thoughts within this intuitive means of communication, and that people always have their cell phones on them, which is ideal for a study that needs to gather information on a 24-hour basis.

The latest Opt It feature, the Real-Time List Cleaner, was created in large part by our continued conversations with our customers regarding their needs and ideas on how we can improve our product offerings. For this, we thank you all.

In our monthly newsletter our customers will learn about using this feature, but we also wanted to make sure that we inform all potential users of Opt It Mobile 3.0 of this cool new capability.

Now our system is automatically able to check each individual number on your list to make sure it is still a good, working number that can receive your messages. If the system identifies a non-working number, it will unsubscribe it from your keywords in real-time. You can track this within the system very easily. No numbers will be deleted from the list; instead, you will see the number on your list without a phone icon next to it. This means the phone number is no longer subscribed to any keywords in your account, and you can still track the history of the particular number.

So, what about all the people that switch network carriers because they purchased an iPhone? Good question. If any number on your list does what is called “number portability” (switching carriers but keeping the same number), the system can recognize this and update it within your list so that it stays subscribed.

This new feature benefits you in many ways. You will have up-to-date, accurate information that is easier to analyze. You will have the peace of mind knowing that you are only sending messages to working numbers, which in turn leaves a few extra pennies in your wallet each month. All of this equals more bang for the buck, which is always good.

Check back for news about other cool new features!

Alexander Graham Bell is probably looking down at today’s world thinking about how ungrateful we all are for his wonderful invention from so many years ago. After all, he gave us the power to transmit voice across oceans and have conversations with people who are not standing next to us.

Nowadays, things have changed. Does anyone even remember what pay phones are or that back in the day, you had to return home to make a call on your landline? Not really, and especially not if you’re a tweens, teens, or young adults. Conversations take place via Facebook chat, BBM, instant messaging on Gmail or MSN messenger, or by text messaging. Along these lines, the Today show ran a recent story entitled “The death of the telephone.”

Since 2007, the length of a call has been steadily declining and is half of what it used to be. Voicemail? It’s pretty certain that if you leave a voice message, it will not get checked. Why is this? That’s a great questions and one that the Today show decided to investigate. They questioned three twenty-something college students who said that they liked that you can control your conversation better through this communication medium. With text messaging, they can take their time to reply and strategize as to the best possible answer to a tricky question, whereas when on a call, they would have to respond immediately. One of the participants even commented that he thinks he sounds “better” via text.

Times are a’changin’, and since the young are an indication of trends to come, this is one trend that is not stopping. We suggest joining the massive conversation taking place via text messaging as soon as possible.

Here at Opt It, we’re always throwin’ around vocabulary related to text message marketing, and we commonly hear the question, “What’s a short code?” Since this blog’s purpose is to inform and converse with our customers, we’re glad to explain this concept to you in more detailed, every day terms.

The full name of the term “short code” is Common Short Code (CSC). A common short code is a 5 or 6 digit number for the use of text messaging marketing campaigns. Think back to the last time you watched American Idol and you were asked to text in your vote to a 5 digit number- that was a short code!

Opt It’s official definition of a short code is as follows: A short code is a 5 or 6 digit number used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on cellular networks. Companies that use short codes are approved by the carriers to send text messages into their networks. When you sign up for the Opt It Mobile service, all of your messages will be delivered using short codes, ensuring that your message is received by the cellular carriers and delivered to the intended recipient.

The way that people join your short code is easy. They will text a keyword into your short code number. The keyword is a word that you have chosen as your account or list name. There can be hundreds of different keywords under one short code. So, your keyword is sort of your account name that specifically identifies you within the short code. Every time customers receive a text from you, this keyword will show up, an indicator that this message came from you, so it’s important that this keyword says something about your business. (For example, if you are a restaurant that serves pizza, your keyword could be PIZZA.)

Using a short code versus a regular phone number offers many advantages. Your customers control whether or not they are on your list at all times. They can text in to join your list, and they can also text to be out of your list by texting the word STOP to your short code. This is advantageous because it empowers customers with making the decision of whether they are on your list or not. This way, you will only have people on your list that truly want to be there.

Also, you can watch for trends in the opt in and opt out rates. If you see a lot of opt outs, you can evaluate sent messages and offers to ensure they were applicable and appealing, and then update future messages accordingly.

You can text people one-on-one with a short code as well. If people have specific questions, you can answer them via this system. Using a short code also allows you to sub categorize your list of participants. (Check out the blog post entitled “Intro to Sub Keywords” for more details) This will allow you to send more individualized messages to specific target groups within your list.

Basically, a short code is a number within which you set up your text message marketing campaign to facilitate your mobile marketing campaign. It allows for a more seamless and efficient communication link between you and your customers.

Reuters recently released an article entitled “Cellphone calls alter brain activity: study”, discussing a study where 47 people were given brain scans while a cellphone was turned on next to their ear for 50 minutes. A control group with a cellphone next to their ear that was turned off was also scanned. The study was designed to investigate how the brain reacts to electromagnetic fields caused by wireless phone signals. The study found that “glucose metabolism (a sign of brain activity) increases in the brain in people who were exposed to a cellphone in the area closest to the antenna,” according to Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Health, whose study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Reuters)

Scientists that have analyzed these findings say that the study is inconclusive in proving in any way that the cellphone and wireless phone signals directly cause brain cancer, but that they do believe that they indicate that further studies should be done to better understand the brain’s reaction to wireless phone signals. A calming fact is that a person’s brain metabolic rate can normally fluctuate to even higher levels than found in study naturally, such as when a person is thinking.

The World Health Organization, the Federal Communications Commission, and the CTIA-The Wireless Phone Association, have all publicly stated since this article was published that the cell phone does not cause a public health risk. Funny enough, the scientist that conducted the study, Dr. Nora Volkow, has said that she isn’t taking any chances and now uses an ear phone to avoid having her ear directly next to her cell phone. At Opt It, we’re following the lead of the scientist, and we are sticking to texting whenever possible; now for more reasons than ever!