What Is SMS Mobile Advertising?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2019
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SMS mobile advertising is a form of advertising that uses mobile phones to facilitate fast, inexpensive, and targeted advertising for a business. Using short messaging service (SMS) or text messages, this type of advertising sends a message from a business or advertising company to a list of phone numbers. This type of advertising can be seen as intrusive or unsolicited by those who receive it, so greater success is often found by using selective targeting rather than “blitz” advertising. SMS mobile advertising can be highly advantageous, however, since it can reach consumers at any location and can be used for non-traditional advertising efforts.

Also called SMS marketing, SMS mobile advertising allows advertisers to quickly and effectively reach individuals through their mobile phones. The basic way in which this advertising is performed is similar to how mobile phone users send each other text messages, however a single message is sent from an advertiser to hundreds or thousands of phones. This can be done directly by a business, or companies can hire an advertising firm to handle SMS mobile advertising for them. Phone numbers for this type of advertising can be acquired in a variety of ways, including businesses that purchase such information from other companies and phone numbers provided by past customers.


One of the potential pitfalls of SMS mobile advertising is that it can be seen as little more than “spam” advertising through a phone rather than an email inbox. Oversaturation of consumers through such advertisements may result in these ads simply being ignored by potential customers. This is why many companies prefer to utilize a more targeted approach, rather than “blitz” advertising that seeks success through raw numbers. A targeted approach to SMS mobile advertising typically uses phone numbers provided by existing customers, sending out information about upcoming sales or offers to reach those customers.

This type of targeted SMS mobile advertising can be extremely effective, since it does not rely on customers watching television or visiting particular websites to see such advertisements. A potential customer can be just about anywhere, and receive an SMS advertisement on his or her phone. Since these ads can also be generated and sent in a relatively short amount of time, SMS mobile advertising can be used to advertise in ways that were previously impossible through other marketing methods. A nightclub, for example, can send out text advertisements on Friday morning about a performer who will be at the club that night; older advertising methods typically had to be utilized days or weeks in advance and were not guaranteed to reach potential customers.


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Post 4

I am the type of person who never makes plans, so mobile advertising works great on me. If I get a text that my favorite band will be playing that night somewhere, I am so much more likely to go than if I heard about it a week ago and had time to forget.

The same goes for receiving coupons via text. If I carry around a coupon I have cut out of a paper or magazine in my wallet, I always forget I have it. If I get a coupon code sent to my phone on the day of the sale, I often use it right away.

I think that in our increasingly mobile culture, many people are like me. That's why text advertising works so well.

Post 3

I love getting text messages from places where I have signed up to receive them. Not everyone knows when the best deals will be available, and I feel that I am part of an elite group that gets first pick of the merchandise.

I have found out about some great deals through text message alerts. Often, my favorite shoe store will have buy one, get one half off sales, and I would never know about this if it weren't for the text. I never watch commercials on TV, and I rarely pick up a newspaper.

Post 2

@kylee07drg – I agree that the cashier should have informed you how your number would be used. Some people do not have a text messaging plan on their phones, and they could be charged just for reading the text. This would be very upsetting to most people.

I am a sales clerk at a retail store, and I always ask people if they would like to receive coupons and sales alerts via text message. If they decline, I don't press the issue any further, and I certainly would never ask for anyone's number under false pretenses or without clarification.

Post 1

I do find unsolicited text messages irritating, and I wish that businesses wouldn't use this tactic. The last time I bought some clothing at a department store, the cashier asked for my phone number. I gave it to her because I was using my debit card, and I thought she needed it for verification.

I was surprised to receive a text message from the store a week later announcing a sale. For a moment, I wondered how they got my number, but then I remembered. I felt I had been tricked.

I really wish that the cashier had told me why she wanted by number. If I had known, I wouldn't have given it to her.

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