MMS for Property Marketing

When considering which industries are best suited to Bulk MMS it is hard to overlook the property and real estate sector.

Real estate agencies and property developers spend a lot of money on branding.  They produce copious amounts of marketing material by way of brochures, letter box drops, property cards, magazines and more.  They also have some of the more attractive web sites going around.

It is not hard to see why this industry puts a lot of time and effort into branding and visuals.  Buying property is after all, an emotive experience and nothing motivates a buyer more than visualizing themselves in their new property.  The old saying, “a picture speaks a thousand words” is particular relevant to property marketing.

Sadly, when it comes to motivating consumers to take action, many agencies revert back to using plain text (SMS) marketing.  So for instance, when notifying potential buyers know about a forthcoming auction, or when a property comes on the market that fits the buyer’s profile – many agencies will send out an SMS alert.

By introducing MMS marketing into your property campaign, you can showcase a property in much greater light – by highlighting key features such as the rooms, floor plan, views, interior and exterior.  The money invested into marketing the property in other channels can be re-purposed for MMS which maintains consistent branding across print, digital and mobile.

Our colleagues over at Mobipost worked with an agency to promote off-the-plan apartments for the luxury BARCA Apartments just outside of Brisbane.   MMS marketing messages were sent to clients prompting them to arrange exclusive appointments to inspect the property.

You can view the incredible success of this MMS campaign on the Mobipost blog here.

If you are an agency or reseller wanting to send property MMS campaigns please contact us for more information and rates.  To request a copy of our MMS API documentation, use our request page here.

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What is MMS?

When talking to marketers, or indeed the wider public at large, the sheer mention of MMS often leads to a shrug of the shoulders, a blank stare or a return question like “What is MMS anyway?”

Most of us are familiar with the term SMS – stands for Short Message Service, or “text” ( “TXT”) message or, by extension “texting”.

For those of us that are not familiar with the term MMS, it is short for Multimedia Messaging Service. It may also be referred to as “picture messaging”, a “multimedia text” or even the shorter form “PXT” (picture text!).

Essentially MMS is an extension to SMS, which enables you to send multimedia content such as pictures, photos, audio or even video.

If you take a photo on your smartphone, select a friend from your address book and hit ‘Send’ essentially you are sending an MMS. Like SMS, it is one simplest and purist forms of mobile communication. All mobile phones are capable of receiving an MMS and the recipient does not need any special software or application in order to view your MMS message – it will automatically appear in their Inbox!

The previous example of sending a photo to a friend is often referred to as “peer-to-peer” or “person-to-person” (P2P) messaging between two individuals using their mobiles. When talking to marketers, or other businesses however they usually have a need to send MMS messages from a software application – this is sometimes referred to as “application-to-person” or A2P messaging.

An A2P messaging provider, or “MMS provider” such as ourselves here at Thirdscreen, have the ability to send messages “en masse” – Bulk MMS if you will; and typically this is one-to-many, such as a single marketing campaign to an entire customer database.

Tatango are a Bulk SMS and MMS provider based in Seattle, USA. They have put together a really useful blog post which talks about MMS marketing, explains what MMS stands for and goes into a lot more detail about how to send Bulk MMS messages in the U.S. along with the requirements and costs involved.

There are considerable differences between sending MMS in the USA and sending here in Australia, which I won’t go into detail in this article – however, the Tatango post is an interesting read nonetheless.

View the Tatango blog post here;

If you are an agency, reseller or SMS provider wanting to send wholesale MMS in Australia please contact us for more information and rates. To request a copy of our MMS API documentation, use our request page here.

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It took a decade, but mobile video is finally exploding

Quartz blog give us a good look at how mobile has been used over the past decade.

The app of the month is Meerkat, a live video-streaming service that took off just as the annual South by Southwest interactive conference gathered in Texas. Meerkat has only existed for a few weeks, but it already has hundreds of thousands of users, including several Hollywood stars.

The startup has capitalized on its hot launch, using it to raise $12 million to fund its growth.

Meerkat Tweets per day

Meerkat, which relies heavily on Twitter as a distribution network, isn’t a particularly novel idea. Live video-streaming apps have existed for years, with mostly modest success. And Twitter will soon launch its own similar tool, Periscope, built by a startup it acquired earlier this year.

But Meerkat’s—and perhaps Periscope’s—timing seems right. After years of buildup, mobile video is finally breaking through.

In the US, for example, some 50% of iPhone owners, 46% of total smartphone users, and 36% of overall mobile subscribers reported watching video at least once in a month, according to comScore’s January 2015 survey. That’s up significantly from a similar survey in late 2009, when 23% of iPhone owners, 12% of smartphone users, and 3% of overall mobile subscribers reported using video.

Mobile video usage

What has changed? Almost everything. Mobile phones are faster and more powerful, with large screens capable of displaying beautiful, high-definition video. Mobile networks—where LTE service is available, at least—can now easily handle high-quality streams in both directions. Data service is frequently affordable.

Crucially, content is also increasingly optimized for mobile. Compare early attempts at mobile video services—such as MobiTV, which squeezed traditional, linear television onto tiny mobile screens—with today’s mobile-native offerings, such as Snapchat’s new network, Vine, and Meerkat.

And credit the rise of social distribution networks, such as YouTube, Twitter, and recently, Facebook, which said on its fourth-quarter earnings call in January that it was delivering 3 billion video plays per day, with 65% of views occurring on mobile.

“A shift to mobile is changing the way people consume video,” Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said on the call.

Meanwhile, advertisers understand video as a creative format and are used to spending handsomely for it on television. So Facebook and others are expecting real growth from video ads over the next several years. (Facebook’s smart move here has been to autoplay video in feeds, something Twitter is now testing.)

As a result, time spent watching mobile video is also increasing. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the average American spent 102 minutes per month watching video on a smartphone, according to Nielsen. That’s up more than 20% year-over-year. But it’s still a relatively small percentage of total screen time, compared to 149 hours of traditional TV per month, 43 hours of smartphone app and web usage, or 10 hours of watching video on the internet.

That leaves room to grow—but how much? Here’s one estimate, courtesy Cisco, which expects global mobile video traffic to grow to more than 17 exabytes—or million terabytes—per month by 2019, up about 10 times from 1.4 exabytes per month last year. (It’s worth noting that Cisco isn’t an unbiased observer. The company, which sells networking equipment to telecom service providers, stands to benefit from higher usage and demand.)

Cisco mobile data forecast

By another measure: Cisco projects video to represent 71% of all mobile data traffic by 2019, up from about 55% last year, and representing the bulk of mobile traffic growth.

Original article found here

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80% Of All Online Adults Now Own A Smartphone, Less Than 10% Use Wearables

Here are some great insight from Techcrunch showing what we all have been thinking about the adoption rates over wearables.

If people are looking to Apple and its new smartwatch to kickstart wider consumer interest in wearable computing gadgets, the maker of the iPhone will have a lot of work ahead of it.

New research out from the GlobalWebIndex indicates that in a survey of 170,000 adult internet users across 32 markets, only 9% report having a smartwatch, and 7% said they owned smart wristbands. In contrast, among online adults, 80% now own a smartphone.

The proportion of smartphone ownership has reached a new high, but it has not yet overtaken legacy ownership and usage of PCs, which is currently at 91% of all online adults.

Some other interesting data points highlighted in GWI’s research:

— Wearables

Within the wearables category, the biggest number of device owners are affluent males in the 25-34 year-old group who reside in the Asia Pacific region. This points to these smaller, portable and more narrowly functional devices continuing their market placement as niche products that have yet to find a groove to appeal to a wider range of consumers.

— Platform ‘wars’ are over and Android won

Breaking out how different mobile platforms are performing in the smartphone and tablet sectors, it’s no surprise to see that Android is firmly ahead of iOS. What’s interesting to see, however, is just how far they have diverged and when.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 15.46.52

We have heard various market analysts point out that Apple’s iPhone sales have seen a big bump in the wake of the launch of the iPhone 6 models, but it’s not clear that the ownership picture as depicted by GWI supports that.

While Android was creeping up quarter on quarter, the difference between Q2 and Q3 noticeably got flatter, which could indicate slowing sales, except that the iPhone numbers appeared to flatten/increase only very slightly.

In other words, if there has been an impact, it will have to be sustained by Apple to show any meaningful shift in ownership. As it stands now, Android’s 54% share represents a 38-point lead over iPhone/iOS, with the gap widening.

Back in 2011, the ratio of Android to iOS users was just under 2:1; in 2014, it has increased significantly to approach 3.5:1, GWI notes.

Whether that divergence will ultimately start to play out in where developers invest their time and efforts will be the really important question for users (and Apple).

— Tablets

In tablets, to me the most interesting point is a historical one: we like to talk about how Apple and the iPad dominate tablets, and while that may be the truth as far as the single brand is concerned, when it comes to platform dominance, Apple hasn’t been in a leadership position since Q4 2011, and really dropped away from a close position in 2013.

— Mobile internet use

GWI says that 75% percent of smartphone users are accessing mobile internet services on their smartphones — meaning a whole 25% are still not. The average amount of time that people are spending on their mobile devices is 1.85 hours/day, up by about 40 minutes on 2012. Because emerging market consumers often replace PCs with phones, they are using those phones the most, on average at more than three hours/day in the Middle East and Africa.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 16.59.33

As you can see in the chart, mobile is used for Internet access far more than tablets, TVs and e-readers, but as with device ownership, it’s not yet passing PC/laptop usage, which is around 90%.

— VPNs, popular content

GWI also delves into what kinds of content is being consumed on the Internet access front, and how users are getting to it. The rising tide of restrictive firewalls in some markets has led to increased usage of VPNs to access the Internet. These VPNs effectively let you appear on the Internet as if you are somewhere that you are actually not. Currently, GWI says that some 27% of respondents, of 400 million users, say that they have used VPNs to go online, with China alone accounting for 150 million people.

Among those users, they are unsurprisingly significantly more avid online consumers of content than those not using VPNs. Google Play scored the highest of all services accessed by VPN and regular Internet users, who would be turning to the search giant’s store not for apps but for video and audio and gaming content.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 17.07.26

Original article found here

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Facebook is building an incredible moat around the future of social with Messenger and WhatsApp

Here Quartz shows us that Facebook plans to let companies build their messaging app services directly into Messenger, which will potentially give Facebook control. See below for a more extended look on the news.

Facebook, which thoroughly dominates the current era of the online social networking industry, is setting itself up nicely for the next.

Many see messaging apps as the future of social: Lightweight, real-time, personal conversations that can become rich environments for media sharing, entertainment, and even commerce. Facebook is in a particularly luxurious position here.

It now owns the two largest messaging services in the world: No. 1, WhatsApp, which last said it had 700 million monthly active users, and was acquired by Facebook for more than $20 billion. And no. 2, its homegrown Facebook Messenger, which now has 600 million monthly active users.

What’s interesting is how the apps are starting to diverge: Two similar concepts with increasingly different feature sets, philosophies, and strengths.

Facebook’s plans for Messenger are ambitious and complex. At the firm’s F8 developer conference last week, it announced a new Messenger “platform.” Companies can build their services directly into Messenger, ceding some control to Facebook in exchange for (theoretically) massive distribution. The idea is similar to the old Facebook web platform from last decade, which fueled the growth of companies like Zynga, the gaming giant behind FarmVille, and Zong, an early Facebook mobile payments partner, whose founder David Marcus is now running Messenger for Facebook after a stint at PayPal.

Most early examples from the Facebook Messenger platform simply add media to messaging. For example, an ESPN app for Facebook Messenger allows you to send “sports GIFs to make your friends LOL.” Giphy, the “world’s largest GIF search engine,” adds support for fun animations. (Earlier this month, Facebook also added a feature that lets its Messenger users send each other money.)

But it’s easy to see how something like this could expand. It’s long been happening in Asia, where services like WeChat—500 million monthly active users, but mostly in China—offer a variety of services from taxi booking to financial services. Similarly, mobile games—notably missing from Facebook Messenger, so far—have propelled Japan’s most popular messaging app, Line, which has also struggled to catch on globally. Perhaps we can expect more along those lines from Messenger, which already has broad global impact.

Messaging map

Speaking of broad global impact, what about WhatsApp? Where’s itsplatform?

That’s not happening now, and it doesn’t sound like one is coming any time soon. While Facebook Messenger plays the platform game, WhatsApp—the most popular messaging app in the world—is keeping its product simple and focused.

A WhatsApp rep told Quartz that the company—which still runs independently, at an arm’s length from Facebook—is focused on app speed and reliability. And this isn’t a crazy idea, either. WhatsApp gained massive popularity—and drew Facebook’s acquisition offer—by offering people a fast, free alternative to text messaging. A recent chart from the Economist shows how WhatsApp dramatically zoomed past SMS—the global messaging standard—in message traffic. Why mess up a good thing?

That’s not to say that Facebook is impervious. Snapchat is perhaps the best recent example: An “ephemeral” mobile photo-messaging service with a rough user interface that just happened to take off. Now Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world—run by a tycoon who shares some traits with a young Mark Zuckerberg—and is becoming a compelling player in mobile video. Facebook couldn’t buy Snapchat quickly enough, and has failed at cloning its magic several times. YikYak, a gossip app popular on college campuses, is also worth keeping an eye on.

Still, Facebook has positioned itself impressively. Instead of one attempt to keep its hold over the future of social, Facebook can try two separate strategies with massive audiences.

Original article found here

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