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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : May 25, 2009

Vlingo: Texters do it while driving

Despite bans by law enforcement and their own common sense, a recent study from mobile research firm Vlingo finds that more and more texters are texting while they are driving. To date, just over one quarter of US drivers are sending or receiving text messages as they are driving.

by Kristina Knight

The study, Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report, finds that Tennessee drivers are most likely to be found texting and driving (42% text and drive), while drivers in Arizona are least likely to be found texting and driving (18%). There are currently seven stage, as well as Washington D.C., which ban texting while driving.

Most of those texting and driving are younger drivers. About 60% of teens 16 - 19 admit to texting and driving while just under 50% of 20 - 29 year olds admit to texting and driving.

Of most interest to mobile marketers, however, is that over all of the age groups, texting is on the rise and not just in the car. Past studies found that upwards of 85% of teens were texting. In the 2009 study, researchers found that nearly 95% of teens were texting, 87% of 20-somethings were texting and more than two-thirds (64%) of 40-something consumers are now texting. Overall of the age groups, about 59% of consumers are now texting.

This is a clear indicator that mobile marketers need to be texting as well. Sending short codes via email messages or offering mobile coupons is a good way to engage mobile consumers. The key is to text only to consumers willing to receive texted ads, which means white-listing mobile campaigns. By texting only consumers who have opted in to a mobile messaging list or those who are willing to change a text ad for a free download, marketers are more likely to engage that consumer.

Tags: MMS, mobile marketing, SMS ads, text message ads, Vlingo

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