There have been many pretenders to the mobile engagement throne over the years: channels, some with a long gestation period, have come and, to one extent or another, have not met the high levels of expectation heaped upon them. Take MMS. Generally high pricing and difficulties with usability prevented it from knocking SMS off its perch at the top of the engagement tree.

As the Mitto team can see from the steadily increasing volume of A2P transactions we manage, SMS has burrowed its way into the consciousness of quite literally billions of people and millions of businesses globally. But why? And how, given the prevalence of digital ads and let us not forget traditional advertising mediums, so print, television and radio? SMS after all is a bit flat and grey, lacking the visual kick people tend to rather appreciate today – particularly those at the somewhat younger end of the age spectrum.

Total ad spend worldwide is growing but all advertising mediums are not built equal. Growth is being buoyed almost entirely by digital and online-based formats.

Over the past few years, the TV industry has undergone a massive revolution—and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. Millions of additional people under lockdown have turned even more strongly towards streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+. Traditional TV as we knew it has an important advertising role to play for certain brands (Coca Cola and Christmas time for example) but given the very high cost of advertising on it, it is way out of reach for the majority of companies globally. And TV is the advertising mainstay of few organizations.

Video has drawn hundreds of millions of people increasingly towards the likes of YouTube over recent years. YouTube might have generated $15.1 billion in ad revenue in 2019, which is a huge figure, but think of your own experiences using the service. The majority of us skip the full playing of ads at every opportunity — so how effective can that be compared to what else we know is out there?

The global print circulation of newspapers and magazines is on an inexorable slide downwards, profits now relying on the continued strategy and growth of converting readers to digital subscribers, up 11% YoY in 2019 (source: WAN IFRA). A one-page ad in the New York Times or Vogue still costs upwards of $150,000, which buys a huge amount of SMS! Such ads of course can never be personalized to each reader either.

Social media is all-pervasive. Take Instagram which has over 500 million daily active users. 73% of US teens say this is best way for a retailer/brand to communicate with them about new products/promotions. The figure for Facebook is 12%, far less than TV/radio (source: eMarketer). Social media might be prevalent today but the demographics using each different channel are so splintered that it is nigh on impossible to countenance the idea of relying on just one of these to run one’s generic marketing campaign, targeting all possible customers at once. And so back to old faithful, SMS: 27 years old, still growing, reliable, trustworthy and with an uncanny knack to seemingly get and be everywhere in short order. But there’s more:  marketers love how quantifiable its results are.

Unlike digital media and traditional advertising spend, measurement of SMS’ success with conversions is hidden in plain sight: with SMS you get crystal clear reporting showing you everything you want to know about ROI. You know how many people truly saw your content, how many clicked on it and, critically, who exactly those people are. No ambiguous, fluffy metrics such as those related to ‘impressions’ which have seemingly been used forever in the advertising business – cost per impression, cost per view on video ads, etc.

Distilled down, the lowest common mobile engagement denominator is SMS. It’s ubiquity, simplicity of use and unquestionable effectiveness at engaging with a broad spectrum of people in a way no other mobile channel taken in isolation can deliver, means it just works at getting your message out there, converting interest into real business as it goes. And Mitto is here to ensure it does just that for you.