MMS: a picture is worth 1,000 words – and 1,000% uplift in brand awareness

Press Release   •   Sep 29, 2010 18:14 BST

London, September 2010— New research and best practice guidelines from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) highlight the importance and effectiveness of the ‘opt-in’ audience within SMS and MMS advertising.

SMS and MMS messaging, and the mobile survey (which sought people’s attitudes to receiving SMS and MMS advertising) were facilitated using Incentivated’s proprietary, best of breed, technology platform.

Key findings from the survey included:

  • 62% of people open and read a message from a person/company they don’t know within 5 minutes of receipt (a ‘good’ email open rate would be 15-20% in comparison)
  • 74% of consumers would opt-in to receive SMS or MMS adverts, given the right incentive
  • SMS and MMS are incredibly powerful at driving offline behaviours (e.g. M&S use regular, weekly and seasonal messaging to drive customers in-store rather than online)
  • Consumers actively WANT communication from certain categories and brands – and this includes luxury and aspirational brands such as Bang & Olufson or Tiffany as well as obvious day-to-day brands such as M&S, Tesco or Odeon.

Whilst brand awareness increased amongst those who had received an SMS, it was almost 1000% higher than the control cell amongst those who received an MMS.

Consumers see some major benefits to receiving MMS over SMS:

  • It’s more visually interesting (akin to magazine or TV advertising)
  • Provides improved brand reassurance over SMS – the use of logos, imagery and familiar and recognisable brand assets are understood better than words on their own.
  • It is easier to ‘interact’ and reply – not as stilted as “reply” or download and there is less concern about being charged.


Although the survey did also highlight five main barriers that brands need to overcome such as understanding exactly what would happen with messaging to their phone and lack of clear understanding of the costs associated with receiving messages, on the whole consumers were positive about the experience, as long as brands follow the best practice advice now promoted by IAB and DMA on their websites.

Jonathan Bass, Managing Director of Incentivated adds; “We were delighted to deliver the underlying campaigns and the follow-up mobile survey for IAB and DMA and were heartened by the positive findings expressed by survey respondents.  We have long been advocates of best practice to our clients around opt-in, privacy and consumer control when it comes to mobile marketing.  This survey reinforces that belief and highlights the incredible benefits available to brands who get this right”


# # # ENDS  # # #


Notes to Editors:

Jason Cross                            Rachel Aldighieri                 Amy Kean

Marketing Director              Head of PR &                         Senior PR and

Communications                 marketing manager

Incentivated                           DMA                                      IAB

0845 130 3985                     07801 573324                       07739372042



About the Research Project

Conducted and analysed by Brand Driver on behalf of the DMA and IAB.


Incentivated provided the mobile platform to enable the sending of SMS and MMS adverts to Marks & Spencer customers and control cells.  It also provided the M&S advertising creative for O2 and Orange to send to their databases.


Incentivated also provided the mobile questionnaire (conducted by mobile internet site (55% of respondants) or SMS survey (45%)) that was sent out to control, M&S, O2 and Orange customer groups.


1,000 people were questioned via a fixed internet survey.  In addition, three cells (control with no advertising seen; an MMS advert cell and an SMS advert cell) were contacted and asked to participate from each of the M&S, O2 and Orange’s databases.


Incentivated ( is a mobile-specialist independent, marketing, communication and business solutions company.

We design, develop and deliver content, enterprise messaging, business, marketing and technology solutions for a wide variety of companies as well as in partnership with their (advertising, digital, media, sales promotion and direct) agencies using the full range of mobile capabilities through our proprietary best-of-class technology platform, which include, but are not limited to:
-    custom iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Java ME, BlackBerry, Palm OS, Palm Web OS, Windows Mobile, and Flash Lite application development
-    mobile e-mail design
-    mobile advertising, search engine marketing and search engine optimization
-    Optimised mobile internet (WAP) site development (using WML, XML or XHTML Web site design) identified and served through our best-in-class proprietary Phone Capabilities Database, linked to a broad set of on-the-fly website capability delivery layers (more than 20 and counting…)
-    SMS marketing campaigns (both shared and dedicated short code SMS campaigns
-    Mobile commerce solutions including vouchers and 2D barcodes

We develop and manage mobile marketing and advertising campaigns and services on local, national and international levels, reaching people in all corners of the world and in many languages.

We believe the mobile phone is an intensely private medium. Respecting this principle, our campaigns provide information that consumers find useful and welcome.

Founded in 2001, Incentivated's fast growing client base includes British Airways, Central Office of Information, Estée Lauder, Halifax Bank of Scotland, Heineken, Hilton Group, Jaguar, King of Shaves, Liverpool City Council, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marks & Spencer, Mars, Mayor of London, Mothercare, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Scottish Power, Specsavers, Virgin, and Visit Britain.