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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : September 29, 2008

Nielsen Mobile: Texting vs. talking

The average U.S. mobile phone subscriber now sends and receives more text messages than voice calls, finds Nielsen Mobile in recent research, with a typical U.S. teen sending and receiving over 1,700 text messages every month.

by Helen Leggatt

nielsen%20mobile%20logo.gifWhile the number of calls made on mobile phones has remained steady over the last couple of years, the number of text messages sent and received has risen by a whopping 450%.

By the end of 2007, text messaging had just overtaken voice calls 218 to 213. By Q2 2008, an average mobile phone subscriber placed or received 204 calls, compared with sending or receiving 357 text messages, found Nielsen Mobile.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a typical U.S. teen currently sends or receives the most text messages - around 1,742 per month - while making or receiving just 231 voice calls. Adults aged 18-24 had the second-largest gap in text-to-call ratio, 790 to 265.

Perhaps it’s time for marketers to more seriously consider the role of text messaging and embrace more SMS-led strategies. With more communication happening “on-the-go” it is easier to target consumers with timely and relevant messages and incentives, such as coupons for fast food sent during lunch hour or directions to a bar with a happy hour at the end of the business day.

Tags: mobile marketing, text messaging

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  • Bob Cleary

    I think comparing text messages to phone calls is like comparing apples and oranges. For example, when I head home from work each day I call my wife, the call goes as follows:

    Bob: Josie, I am on the train and heading home.

    Josie: OK, I am at Lizzie’s and will see you at home.

    Bob: I should be there about 07:10.

    Josie: OK.

    Bob: Do you need anything from the store?

    Josie: Yes, pick up a gallon of milk.

    Bob: OK, I’ll see you in a little while, love you.

    This was one call, but if done as text messages, this would have been 6 messages.

    Phones allowed people to talk to each other over varying distances. It was natural to use. You would speak and listen as if the other person was in the same room. The phone is also spoken language independent. I believe test messaging became popular because no one around you could hear what was being said in either direction. You can literally talk about someone while sitting next to them and they would not know. In school it is like passing around notes without the paper.

    As far as having advertising come by test messages to my phone, I don’t want to have to pay for the messages I receive from advertisers.



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