Mobile Marketing Faqs

Mobile Marketing Frequently Asked Questions and Definitions

What are Keywords – a word or name used to distinguish a targeted message within a Short Code Service. Think of it in terms of the Internet and domain names. Think of a Shortcode as similar to a domain name and a Keyword similar to a user name.

SMS Opt-in – Mobile-based permissions! SMS is a feature available with practically all modern mobile phones that allow users to send and receive short text messages, the “Opt-in” is to protect users from unwanted text messages (SPAM). It guarantees marketing messages are always welcome because of permission-based marketing campaigns (opt-in) so messages are sent only to those who have requested them.

Voice to SMS (IVR) – Interactive Voice Response is an interactive technology that allows a computer to detect voice and keypad inputs. IVR technology is used extensively in telecommunications and allows users who do not text to participate in SMS Marketing by receiving a text just by making a phone call.

Voting/Polling/Survey/Trivia – turns the standard mobile phone into an interactive terminal for participants to send immediate responses. Anyone with a cell phone can respond via SMS. Results are tallied and displayed in seconds online.

Text to Win or Text2Win – The text messaging platform is a more efficient, automated way to hold sweepstakes as opposed to traditional means. Text-to-win sweepstakes replaced its former paper sign-ups and eliminated the need for paper and notifies the contest winners automatically via SMS when the contest is over.  One of the fun ways to be interactive and build relationships with consumers.

Website Opt-in – One can get mobile opt-ins through their website.

Mobile Web (WAP) – “Wireless Application Protocol” is used to enable access to the Mobile Web from a mobile phone. WAP sites are websites written in, or dynamically converted to, WML (Wireless Markup Language) and accessed via the WAP browser. Before the introduction of WAP, service providers had extremely limited opportunities to offer interactive data services.

Kiosk/Digital Signage – A kiosk can be a booth providing a computer-related service, such as an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Another type of Kiosk offers tourist information or directions to a store in a Mall…those are some examples. Digital signage is a network of customizable digital displays that you can control electronically using a computer, allowing you to change your content remotely for the most targeted messaging possible. Both are popular mediums to launch mobile marketing campaigns.

Who uses mobile marketing and why?
Some of the largest users of our mobile marketing services are advertising agencies and radio stations. There are also many restaurants, auto dealers, nightclubs, retailers, schools and universities, newspapers, golf courses, resorts, and salons, from small B2B to top Fortune companies.
The most common applications are sweepstakes, coupons, promotions, contests, surveys, voting/polling, product information, and mobile news alerts. All of these build a database of opt-in mobile numbers that can be used for various advertising and marketing campaigns, backed by valuable analytics and quantifiable Marketing Return on Investment statistics.

What is the difference between interactive and broadcast text messaging?
Interactive programs involve sending a keyword to the shortcode and getting a response message back immediately. Broadcast programs involve your sending a simultaneous text message to a large database of users.

What is a short code?
A shortcode is a promotional, usually five-digit number, that acts as the cell phone number. A shortcode is established for promotional text messaging.

Can I get my own short code and what is a shared short code?
Yes, you could get your own short code, but they are quite expensive. The cost for a standard short code is around $1,000 per month and around $2,500 per month for a vanity short code. A vanity short code is a more memorable number; 67777 is a vanity short code because it’s so easy to remember.
In addition to the monthly cost, there is a start-up cost of several thousand dollars plus several months of work to get a new shortcode.  Most small businesses opt to use the shared short code technology.

What is a keyword?
A keyword is the word that is sent to a short code that identifies your service.  Keywords are not case-sensitive, therefore it doesn’t matter if you capitalize some, all, or none of the letters of the keyword. When advertising a keyword we recommend capitalizing the keyword in your advertisement so that it stands out.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a shared short code?
The advantage is that the cost is much less for a shared short code.

The only disadvantage is that no two users can use the same keyword. It is possible, although unlikely, that the keyword you request is already being used by another organization. A keyword compares to a “DOMAIN NAME” you can only have one.

Who has ownership rights to the database?
The great advantage of mobile marketing is the database that you create. You own the data and the mobile marketing company usually has no rights to the database.  The data is protected by FCC regulations and therefore the actual mobile numbers can’t be seen in their entirety to prevent “Spamming”.

I need to keep more than one database of my users. Is this possible?
Yes, you can maintain multiple databases for different promotions, regions, clients, or any other purpose.

How many messages are sent per minute?
That’s mostly up to the “phone” carriers. The mobile marketing provider will pass off the messages to the “Mobile Phone” carrier. The carriers are companies such as Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T Wireless. Once the messages are delivered to the carrier, it is up to the carrier to deliver them. It is our experience that most messages are received by the recipient in a matter of seconds.

What is an “opt-in”?
It is required that you have some form of opt-in from the members of your database. The opt-in process confirms that you are not sending SPAM to cell phones. For example, SPAM is sending out text messages to a cell phone that didn’t request the text or agree to be included in the marketing campaign.


How do I create the opt-in mobile database?
Most marketers use an interactive text message program to create an opt-in database. The opt-in process is actually what makes mobile marketing so effective. It means that a consumer has elected to receive your messages.

Can I just buy a list of phone numbers that permit text message advertisements?
No, just because somebody has chosen to opt-in to receive text messages from one organization does not mean that another organization can send messages to them. If you are buying a list from a third-party source, you are breaking the FCC regulations.

Will it cost the recipient to receive my text message?
Standard text messaging rates apply. The vast majority of people who will opt-in to receive your text messages will have some kind of a text message plan with their carriers.

How long can a text message be?
160 characters is the limit per text message for all carriers in the United States. You can choose to send a text message that is greater than 160 characters in length, but such a message will need to be continued on a second text message.

How can I confirm that a text message was received?
Unfortunately, the carriers do not provide reporting on the receipt of text messages. While most mobile marketing providers can confirm that a text message was handed off to the carrier, they cannot confirm that each text message was received.

How can a consumer opt out of a Mobile Marketing Service?
It is required by FCC REGULATIONS that users get removed from the database when they choose to opt out. A recipient can opt out by sending a return text message with the word STOP in the text; most carriers and service providers include “Reply STOP or HELP” in each text as an industry standard.