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Expect more retailers to shift budgets to mobile in 2010: Placecast

With 224 million mobile users engaged in texting, SMS has emerged as the only form of mobile marketing to reach the entire mobile universe. According to a Harris Poll consumer survey conducted on behalf of Placecast, 45 percent of 18-34-year-olds and 35 percent of 35-44-year-olds were interested in receiving opt-in mobile alerts.

“SMS and the incorporation of location offer retailers a really compelling way to connect with audiences in a meaningful way, and at scale,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, San Francisco. “While smartphones and apps are predictive of where the industry is going, it is still a relatively small piece of the market.

“Texting is still the most common activity on mobile – engaged in by 224 million mobile users according to comScore and detailed in our report,” he said. 

Incorporating location information, combined with the high level of attentiveness – 60 percent of consumers receiving location-based SMS messages open them immediately – gives retailers the ability to influence consumers when they are in the mindset to take action. 

Whether it is SMS, WAP banners and text links, branded applications or ads in applications, retailers are now focused on figuring out how to use mobile because of the unique place and time elements that can be incorporated into their marketing.

For retailers looking for a place to start testing and learning about mobile, SMS is ideal because of its ubiquity. Incorporating location is useful as well.

Unlike applications, which can require higher levels of investment, SMS enables a marketer to begin building an audience on mobile that is engaging directly with their brand, and to do it at scale.

Incorporating location is a great way to increase the relevancy of messaging and drive traffic into stores – whether it is promoting items available nearby or providing useful content about a place.

In our most recent research, 75 percent of consumers found this kind of messaging useful. 

Most major retailers in the United States will run mobile programs in 2010.

Some retailers such as Best Buy, Target and the North Face are at the forefront as they have already run initial programs and are broadening their approach based on learning what is working best for their audiences.

“We can expect to see more budget shifting into mobile, and these and other pioneering retailers will teach the broader industry about effective techniques for building and retaining an audience on mobile,” Mr. Goodman said.