What a Waste

I’ve been through a whole bunch of meetings on an intense¬†visit to London, today and tomorrow, but one fact keeps coming up again and again among content sellers. That’s the high level of apparent wastage involved in promoting mobile content.
As an example, one company I was talking to is running a serious offline ad campaign in the press, to promote their mobile and web-based service. The call to action is an inbound text message, which generates a WAP Push message to sign people up to the service. An amazing 75% never respond to the WAP Push.
So let’s look at exactly what’s happened here. The user has seen the details of the service (including billing information) and like the idea enough to send an sms to sign up for it. Now you’d expect some people not to go any further and change their minds. But never 75% at that stage in the game.
The only explanation I can think of is that a high proportion of the non-responders have been unable to get their phone to connect – possibly as their phone has the wrong settings. This failure of the mobile industry to make phones work “out of the box” has been a constant refrain of mine since I started blogging and indeed, in many of the occasional articles I wrote before that. I thought that the situation had improved of late, but maybe it hasn’t at all.
However, I find it hard to believe that as many as 75% of phones don’t work properly – I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was the inverse ratio, on the other hand.
This isn’t an isolated campaign, but remarkably consistent among the people who I’ve been talking to, including some leading and well-known¬†publishers.
So what exactly¬†is going on? Anyone, have any ideas? Do people simply not understand about clicking on links on mobiles, hard though this is to believe? But whatever’s causing this problem (and it can’t all be down to the wrong settings, surely) it needs fixing as a matter of urgency. As one of my contacts remarked wryly – in Lord Leverholme’s day, he used to say that 50% of his advertising was wasted. He was lucky, as 75% of ours is!

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