When SMS Marketing Campaigns Send You Running for Cover

When SMS marketing campaigns send you running for cover

When SMS marketing campaigns send you running for cover

Are you considering purchasing lists for your SMS Marketing campaigns? Ever wondered if the email or SMS list you purchased for a campaign was solid? Today, I’m sharing how to find out if you bought into a click farm.

Many times, and especially when you are breaking ground with a new market, your company needs a short term win. Pressed for time to reach the market and deliver results, you carefully evaluate list providers and purchase Email or SMS lists. You are aware that your conversion rates will be lower than if you had a house-grown list, but you did your homework, the odds are good, and the worst case scenario is that you break even. (I promise I will share with you later all that doing your homework entails.)

“Texting is the most widely-used and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day.” (Pew Internet)

But, sometimes, the results are too low to even abide by the laws of logic and you know, deep in your gut, you were sold bogus email addresses or fake cell numbers. Or, at the very least, the list was not good. The problem is how to prove it.

A supposedly reputable Hispanic market list provider who charged a whopping $5 per record but delivered mostly bot-like visits to an SMS marketing campaign’s landing page prompted me to write this article.

As many people I spoke with about this experience didn’t know how I was able to prove this, I want to share how to do it. That way, marketers can use the information to protect themselves from scammers that profit from well-intentioned and hard-working marketers trying to reach their Hispanic audience where research indicates it is: on mobile.

The Benefits of SMS Marketing

Texting has the best engagement rate of any marketing medium. Emails can sit unread in their inboxes, phone calls can go unanswered, and flyers or printed presentations can be thrown out before being read, text messages are almost always read, and read quickly.

Improve results of your SMS marketing campaigns

Improve results of your SMS marketing campaigns

As James Citron, CEO of text messaging service Mogreet, said to Forbes, “95 out of 100 of your customers who have opted into your text messaging program OPEN and READ your mobile messages within 3 minutes.”

We all know the stats. The average Millennial exchanges an average of 67 text messages per day (Business Insider). It takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to email, but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message (CTIA). American women text 14% more than men (Nielsen). Text messaging has a read rate (or open rate) of 98%, while email has only a 20% open rate (Mobile Marketing Watch). And, according to Velocify, text messages have a response rate of 45%, while email only has a 6% response rate.

And, to top it all off, 63% of Hispanic adults own a smartphone, versus 60% of non-Hispanics (Experian Marketing Services).

With these numbers, not going for SMS marketing campaigns would be absolutely crazy. If you are B2B, don’t have an app yet, and want to send notifications and special offers to your customers, you should definitely consider keeping in touch with your Hispanic customers via SMS.

Anatomy of Successful SMS Marketing campaigns

Here’s a list of my own key insights to make sure your campaign performs as it should next time around. These elements will be crucial to prove that you have a trustworthy list.

  1. Segmentation. Segmentation. Segmentation. Ask yourself if the offer is relevant to your audience segment at this particular time.
  2. Make sure your message has all the key components needed for engagement: Benefits first. What’s in it for your audience? Leverage the incentives and then provide a clear call to action. Make sure the offer is relevant to your audience. For example, if you send an SMS marketing campaign to people: “FREE T-Shirt with your $5 donation 2 Save the Puppies Foundation. Act Now!” will definitely do the trick, provided your audience has been carefully selected.
  3. A must: Add Google Analytics tracking code to your landing pages and make sure you have demographics enabled.
  4. Test your message/landing page, for a couple of months at least, with a more affordable PPC campaign to increase conversion rates to a level you are comfortable with and to fine tune your message.
  5. Make sure the strongest part of your SMS message displays within the first 100 characters so that it shows on the preview of even the smallest smartphones’ screens.
  6. Think of when you want the audience to receive your text message. Is there a good day of the week? An ideal time? A time window when you shouldn’t be interrupting them with your message? Should you split the database by time zones? Consider all this before scheduling your SMS marketing campaigns.
  7. Use a clone of your highest converting landing page for the SMS marketing campaigns’ landing page.
  8. Use house-grown lists, if possible, and make sure you have obtained permission to text these mobile phones.
  9. With SMS Marketing campaigns you cannot text people who have not subscribed to that list. It’s illegal. You have to provide a way for people to opt themselves in and out of your list directly from their mobile phone. So, make sure you do.
  10. If you really have to, use a reputable list provider. Make sure the provider is a member of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) or the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and call them to ensure they are still a member. (The particular list provider I mentioned earlier had the logo on their website but, when I called to report them, the DMA explained they had been members. Not anymore.) Have the list provider sign an affidavit stating that the list adheres to and abides by all pertinent and applicable US Government regulations for SMS marketing campaigns, that they have verifiable documentation of their co-registration program’s* opt-in point, that the records are run against the Do Not Call list on a daily basis, that their audience can truly be segmented as they offer it, that they are not selling you any type of bot-like activity or a click-farm, and that they agree to punitive damages if you prove otherwise. Please consult with an attorney to draft this document. They may sell to Fortune 100s and, I can assure you, this means bubkes.
SMS Marketing Campaigns - Beware of Bots

SMS Marketing Campaigns – Beware of Bots

(*) “Co-registration programs are considered opt-in, but be aware that the performance of co-registration lists is typically much, much lower than your house list. Subscribers are generally not aware of what they are co-registering for, and even though you have (or should have) verifiable documentation of the point of opt-in, in the mind of the subscriber, they will likely not perceive that they’ve opted-in and will still flag you for spam.” (WhatCounts)

The SMS Marketing Campaigns: How to Make Sure You Got What You Paid For

You spent a lot of time and effort developing your email or your SMS campaign. You crafted and tested your copy and your landing pages. You had a great conversion rate. You made sure the list was double opt-in, co-registered, fresh, validated, and scrubbed against the Do Not Call database, and that the provider was a reputable one that sells to Fortune 100 companies and charges you a pretty penny for each mobile text.

If your results were close to or surpassed your original conversion rate, congratulations! This was a good list provider and a good list. You did an outstanding job of choosing your database selects and the time of send.

Maybe it’s not even close, but you are happy with your results. After all, the list was not grown in-house and the leads may be a bit cold.

And maybe your results were extremely poor or you got a zero conversion rate.

Even with all of the above-listed assurances in place, unscrupulous list providers may scam you by using click farms. Unless you use the following steps to find out if your rented list was full of bots.

How can you prove the list was a dud?

Reasons why your SMS marketing campaign could be a failure

Reasons why your SMS marketing campaign could be a failure

First, let’s check if the demographics you requested on the selects were the ones delivered.

As list providers do not provide any demographic or personal information on the mobile subscribers, including subscriber address, you can use this methodology to make sure the audience requested was the one delivered (thank you, Google).

The following Google Analytics reports will show you if your delivered audience was on track. As you used a unique landing page for the campaign, inside of the Google Analytics account, access your site. Then under Behavior/Site Content/All Pages, search for your landing page URL and select it. For educational purposes only, I am using one of the pages on this blog.

Select the landing page - Reasons why your SMS marketing campaign could be a failure

Select the landing page.

A quite common demographic requested is age. Let’s say we requested people living in the U.S. between ages 18-24. Select as a Secondary dimension Users/Age and here’s the report:

Check visitor's age - The SMS Marketing Campaign: How to Make Sure You Got What You Paid For

Check visitor’s age

From these results, I can gather that my message was not delivered to the audience requested. You do have to allow and account for some differences as figures are not always exact. In this case, though, the difference is too large to ignore.

You can check your visitor’s gender, location, device category (this better be mobile and/or tablet!), operating system, and service provider, among other things.

When looking at location, you may find that your list provider swears they only send text messages to, let’s say, U.S. numbers. Your report indicates otherwise. It is not uncommon for Carriers and IXCs to utilize U.S. numbers for overseas calls. You may have heard of a technology called VoIP, used by many Telecom carriers (what is now trending as Wi-Fi calling and previously Unlicensed Mobile Access, or UMA), the number is a U.S. number but the geo location, or IP address, is not.

Are your Analytics demographics extremely different from your database selects? Then, stay away from this list provider.

Next, let’s check if your visitors exhibited bot-like behavior.

Google Analytics demographics data is stored in a cookie and Google checks to see if the visitors have cookies stored from another site. This would tell us whether or not we were likely dealing with a human or a bot. If a visitor has one of these cookies, they are probably not a bot. As bots do not store cookies, they will display as “New Visitors”, or they would have a cookie from the previous session. For this same reason, you will not be able to identify their age or gender, as this data is also stored in cookies from other navigated sites. Their visit duration would be zero seconds, the number of pages visited would be one and, therefore, bounce rate would be 100%, and their source will be mostly direct.

The SMS Marketing Campaign: How to Make Sure You Got What You Paid For. Session duration bot-like behavior

Session duration bot-like behavior

As you can see from the example above, the average time on page was 0 seconds for over 1,700 Pageviews, the number of Uniques (new visitors) was much higher than the blast reported click rate, and the Bounce Rate for the visitors with session duration = 0 was 99.94%. These are all strong indicators of bot-like activity.

SMS marketing campaign: gender Google Analytics report

SMS marketing campaign: gender Google Analytics report

This Google Analytics report by Behavior, Page, and Gender shows us that only 253 pageviews out of the 1,842 total pageviews were able to be identified as performed by a male or female. This could definitely be qualified as bot-like behavior for the rest of the Pageviews.

If you notice this visitor behavior after purchasing an SMS database, not only should you stay away from this list provider, but you should report them to the MMA and the DMA, as well.

I hope you found this information useful and, if you don’t use it yet, you will on your next SMS marketing campaigns. Let us know what you find out!!!

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Snapchat Marketing: Reach a Young Hispanic Audience

Snapchat Marketing: Reach a Young Hispanic Audience

Snapchat Marketing: Reach a Young Hispanic Audience

Snapchat marketing can help you reach the Hispanic 13-25 year old market. Find out why and how to leverage Snapchat for business. Read on!

This article covers: what is Snapchat, the reasons for using Snapchat for business, Snapchat marketing ideas and use cases, and finally, an overview of the app features and how to use Snapchat.

Did you know the Snapchat app has just been valued at almost 25 billion dollars? Most people think Snapchat is for teens and sexting, but smart brands are leveraging this smartphone app to reach a very coveted market segment: the youth segment. And guess who else is quite interested in Snapchat marketing? The political sector. With well over 100 million users, a vast majority residing in the United States and between the ages of 18 and 25, Snapchat has a significant potential to radically affect the next Presidential election.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat marketing ideas for the fashion industry

Snapchat marketing ideas for the fashion industry – Foto eyecmore

So, what exactly is Snapchat? It’s a smartphone app that allows its large base of users, mostly teens, to send photos or videos to friends – or total strangers – which displays on the receiver’s phone for up to 10 seconds. After the visual content has been viewed, it disappears from the receiver’s app, unless the recipient takes a screenshot of the photo and stores in on its mobile device. Snapchat also gives you the option of making the image more attractive and engaging with words, doodles, and drawings. 

Snapchat entered the market on 2011, as a college project by the now-24 yr old Evan Spiegel, at the same time than Pinterest but with very different purposes. While on Pinterest, you have the resilient power of the Pin, where you get exposure independently of when you uploaded the media, on Snapchat the content uploaded disappears almost instantly. While on Pinterest, you can feature your product and its uses and it’s a platform developed for social commerce, on Snapchat you capture the viewers’ attention 100% for the duration of the Snap. Snapchat users cannot search for a Snap like on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. It’s now or never. And this is a great aspect of Snapchat for business that needs to be leveraged on Snapchat marketing campaigns.

“Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.” – Snapchat

Why Snapchat Marketing

Ask yourself the following:

  • Is you target demographic is essentially 13-25 year olds?
  • Do you have the resources to generate a steady stream of posts, and be able to respond and interact?
  • Can you offer contests and giveaways and does your target audience respond highly to them?
  • Are you interested in generating awareness for your products or services?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you should be on Snapchat already!

Snapchat Demographics

There are approximately 26 million users in the U.S., and about 400 million snaps are sent out each day.

“According to GWI’s data, it’s the fastest growing social app out there. More than half of its users are aged 16-24. And among US teens, it’s more popular than either Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Overall, just 14% of teens are Snapchatting, putting it behind WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and even Skype. That means it’s the reach of Snapchat in certain markets which matters; in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the US and Canada, for example, more than 30% of this demographic are on Snapchat. These are the key markets to target.” – Globalwebindex

Snapchat’s worldwide statistics are impressive:

  1. 100 million monthly active users.
  2. 70% of Snapchat users are women.
  3. 71% of Snapchat users are under 25 years old.
  4. 32% of US teen (13-17) use Snapchat on a mobile device.
  5. 58% of students would make a purchase from a brand that sent them a Snapchat coupon.
  6. 33% of Millennials use Snapchat.
  7. 4% of the global adult Internet population use Snapchat monthly.
  8. 30% of Snapchat users are in the U.S. and 6% in Brazil


Let’s take a look at Snapchat’s numbers in the United States:

  1. 60% of Americans 13-34 year olds use Snapchat.
  2. Half of Snapchat users in the U.S. are between 16-24 and are living with their parents.
  3. 58% are male and 42% female
  4. 93% of Snapchat users have a Facebook account, about 80% have a G+ and Twitter account and 42% have a Pinterest account.
  5. Snapchat users are 10 times more likely to use Vine than any other user.
  6. Other apps they use: YouTube, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Flickr, and Viber
  7. 22% of Snapchat users (or 6.6 million) in the U.S. are Hispanics (extrapolated from Census demographics for this age segment and not taking into consideration that Hispanics are early adopters of technology and have a higher usage of social networks than their white non-Hispanic counterpart)

Evidently, an app with such a large user base – especially young users – are few and far between. Of course, if you are willing to target an audience younger than 13, and are COPPA compliant, you can go for SnapKidz, a lightweight version of the app designed for children.

Check out the differences between Hispanic women and men on Snapchat and other digital media!

Time is of the essence

Another reason for using Snapchat for business is the level of attention it demands from viewer that actually couples the level of attention of mobile and the fact that the visual content will disappear unless you capture it with a snapshot and share it. Besides, users need to interact with the app by pressing the photo in order to view it.

Many Snapchat marketing campaigns leverage this time constraint with appealing content such as contests, offers, teaser content, and discounts, with very strong calls to action.

Snapchat Marketing to Reach a Young Hispanic Audience

Snapchat Marketing to Reach a Young Hispanic Audience

How to use Snapchat for business

The limitations of the app – up to 10 seconds and the fact that the user will only see the content only once – require that marketers need to make the most of every second they get on the app, and you can only post photos or videos that you just took, which requires a certain amount of strategy.

The first thing you need to do is create your account and start promoting it on other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Promoted Pins, Instagram and others where this demographic has a heavy presence)

Make sure to reward your followers with a product sneak peek, contest, promo related to your brand. Create and post engaging visual content always keeping in mind that the content will be viewable for up to 10 seconds and then it will be deleted. During that short timeframe you will have your customer’s undivided attention. Not bad, huh?

Always look for ways to engage with your audience. Keep your customers coming back for more of your outstanding, casual, fun and humorous content and earn more opportunities to execute your Snapchat marketing strategy.

Here’s some great Snapchat marketing approaches that work wonders with this audience: contests, giveaways, and videos. Take into consideration that you don’t need to be a professional to make an impact here. Snapchat is all about being casual and relatable and more time should be spent into planning that into production.

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon (fallontonight on Snapchat), for example, gives clues for its hidden ticket locations on Thursdays.

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon ticket giveaway is a great Snapchat marketing idea

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon ticket giveaway is a great Snapchat marketing idea

You can also ask Snapchatters to send you pictures of them using your product and reward them for it.

This campaign from Coke, asked Snapchat users to decide if the zoomed in picture was a cat or not.

Coke Snapchat marketing campaign - Photo: Mobile Marketer

Coke Snapchat marketing campaign – Photo: Mobile Marketer

Taco Bell (tacobell) is one of the first brands to get onto the Snapchat marketing bandwagon and one of the best restaurants snapping right now.

Snapchat Marketing Valentine campaign from Taco Bell - Nachos and nothing better than love and humor!

Snapchat Marketing Valentine campaign from Taco Bell – Nachos and nothing better than love and humor!

There’s a particularly creative and engaging campaign from GrubHub to increase their Snapchat number of followers. The famous #Snaphunt was promoted on all of their other social media platforms. These week-long Snapchat scavenger hunts in which it randomly gives away free grub while engaging with consumers on Snapchat. They posted a story every day inviting consumers to participate in a daily challenge for a chance at winning $50 of free food from GrubHub. Consumers are asked to follow GrubHub and send a Snapchat back to GrubHub with the daily challenge, and ten winners are randomly selected each day. Don’t you think free food giveaways in exchange for a follow and a pic would work with Millennials?

Snapchat marketing campaign - GrubHub Snapchat Scavenger hunt winner

Snapchat marketing campaign – GrubHub Snapchat Scavenger hunt winner – Photo: Mobile Commerce Daily

Once you have amassed an interesting follower base, you can even segment it by selecting some of your followers or leverage the “My Story” feature and send your visual content to all your follower base.

Always remember that Snapchat is casual, fun, unforced and with liberal use of emojis and doodling.

On Snapchat you measure success by the virality of a story as you can only see how many people view your stories and how many people took a screenshot of your story.

Some of Snapchat’s rad features

Snapchat allows you to enhance your visual content with filters and doodling. If you’d like to make your content more visually appealing,  especially for “Special Text” and “Replay”, select use smart filters under Settings.

The app’s sketching tools lets you combine your selfies with doodling and generate really unique and creative content.

Digital finger paintings done with the sketching tool DASHA BATTELLE ON SNAPCHAT

Digital finger paintings done with the sketching tool DASHA BATTELLE ON SNAPCHAT

Maybe Snapchat’s navigation is a bit confusing and counter-intuitive but here’s some tips to get you started: Swipe up to continue reading, swipe left for the next story, and swipe down to exit.

Snapchat lets you send cash to your friends by attaching a debit card to you account. Simply hit the Dollar Sign button.

Live Stories

Another great way to leverage Snapchat for business is the “Live Stories” feature. These are curated directly by the Snapchat team. Snapchat uses the location services on people’s smartphones to allow them to add their snaps to a local Live Story. Only the best Snaps within the digital boundary, or “geofence,” Snapchat adds around an event are picked and shared as a Snapchat “story” with all Snapchat users. It’s a wonderful way to get exposure for events, guerrilla marketing efforts, and so much more.

Local Live Stories can be anything from a city (NY, L.A., Richmond, etc.) to an event (Superbowl, NY Fashion Week, etc) but like all curated stories, they are anonymous and users cannot follow you from there.

Snapchat’s stories can draw a massive audience. Back in January, for a 24-hour period, almost 25 million people tuned in to its coverage of New York’s “snowpocalypse.”

Local Stories

Very similar to live stories although you can only see them if you are in that particular location. To view them, enable location and the nearest local stories will pop-up. How can you use local stories on your Snapchat for Business efforts? Local promotions, news, localized marketing efforts are the name of the game.

Take note: Live Stories and Local stories Snaps are different from regular Snaps because they self-destruct in 24 hours, not 1-10 seconds.


This year, Snapchat introduced a feature called “Discover,” under a special tab with promotional content from Snapchat’s media partners — Daily Mail, CNN, Vice, Comedy central, and ESPN among them — post content to the app meant, or at least edited, for Snapchat’s users every 24 hours on their own Snapchat channel. Snapchat also has its own channel. One particular characteristic of the “Discover” content is that users can share a snap or swipe up for more details.

I hope you have enjoyed this short trip over the benefits of using Snapchat for business and if you are incorporating it into your mobile marketing efforts, we’d love to feature you and your success story!

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Mobile Marketing Campaign against Drunk Driving

Budweiser launched this mobile marketing campaign in Argentina in a wonderful effort to generate awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. The campaign, called “Termina bien la noche, escanea este codigo” (“End the night well, scan this code”), had simple but quite effective mechanics. Budweiser handed out coasters with a QR code at the bars, clubs and restaurants where their line of beers was sold to be given to their patrons when they ordered a Bud.

Mobile Marketing Campaign Budweiser | Photo

Mobile Marketing Campaign Budweiser Argentina


Once the code was scanned with the smartphone, the application enabled access to a radio taxi service located near to the Budweiser consumer. One of the pillars of this mobile marketing campaign was where it took place: the exact moment where people have to become aware of the dangers of drunk driving.

mobile marketing campaign against drunk driving

mobile marketing campaign against drunk driving

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