Grumpy British chef Gordon Ramsey is never kind to the restaurants he’s sent to save. One constant theme is his railing against complex food. Time and again, he shouts that simple is best. That adage could probably apply to messaging, marketing and otherwise. The downside to all the compelling technology coming out on mobile phones–from networking apps to sixth-sense chips– is that everyone assumes they’ll replace SMS. And while a social network is a great way to find old friends and stay up-to-date with current ones, it’s probably not where you’ll find folks being the most receptive to ads, behaviorally-targeted or otherwise–at least, not as receptive as they are with permission-based emails.
While I’ve always had great use for email and SMS, I’ve never cared for IM. To me, instant messaging is the red-headed step-sibling of texting and email: It forces message recipients to reply ASAP even if they don’t have the time or the inclination, by making the message-sender act on the feeling that every syllable he/she sent has the utmost urgency. Sure, SMS seems urgent, but if the recipient is slow in responding, the message-sender doesn’t usually send more texts haranguing the person. Imagine those horrible feelings exacerbated by a marketing message–especially if it interrupts a truly important chat (99 percent of the time I only use the darn platform with bosses and colleagues at work). In other words, IM makes casual written communications too complicated.
Luckily for me, says BusinessWeek, “the end of instant messaging as we know it” is nigh. Instead of being an awkward Nth Wheel on your desktop, the story points out,IM is now embedded in things like Facebook and Gmail (the latter being the only time I use IM for personal communications). The idea is that with instant messaging being a part of the greater experience, it can be more easily monetized. Someone might pay more attention to an ad that seems related to the site or conversation in which the user is engaged.
Sometimes when I’m using my Gmail IM, Google serves up paid ads that are related to our conversation’s content. It’s not terribly distracting because I’m used to that on the Gmail site. Marketers should be glad that I’m probably subliminally influenced by the adverts, even if I don’t stop what I’m doing to look at them.
After all, I don’t stop what I’m doing just to answer an IM that isn’t terribly important.
Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
“I’d rather you text me”