What Is Mobile Text Advertising?

G. Wiesen

Mobile text advertising is a form of advertising that utilizes short messaging service (SMS) messages or text messages to send advertisements to people’s phones. This type of advertising can be utilized in a number of different ways, though it is often done by compiling a list of phone numbers of individuals interested in a particular product or activity. There are other methods by which the messages are sent out to a wider range of numbers, but this may be less effective since there is less control over who receives the message. Mobile text advertising can be generated through a number of different services, which allow companies to send out large quantities of text messages quickly and easily.

Mobile text advertising utilizes text messages to send advertisements to people's phones.
Mobile text advertising utilizes text messages to send advertisements to people's phones.

Also referred to as SMS marketing, mobile text advertising provides fast and effective ways for advertisers to reach people. This type of advertising utilizes the same SMS system that is used to send text messages between phones. A company can create a small advertisement, such as a coupon code and brief description of an offer, and send that out to various phone numbers. People then receive this mobile text advertising on their phones and can delete the message or act on it as they see fit.

Mobile text messaging, or short messing service, allows advertisers to send messages directly to target customers' mobile devices.
Mobile text messaging, or short messing service, allows advertisers to send messages directly to target customers' mobile devices.

One of the most common methods of mobile text advertising is the use of phone numbers that are received by customers or those interested in a particular service. A restaurant, for example, might allow customers to provide their mobile phone numbers, which are then used to send out these types of offers. There are also businesses that compile lists of phone numbers from a general pool, rather than from specific sources. When mobile text advertising is sent out through this method, however, it can reach a wider audience, but the response may be weak since this audience is less specifically inclined to be interested.

Local businesses can often use mobile text advertising to build interest or notify customers about special deals. A popular night club, for example, could send out a text each Friday morning to notify people about musicians performing or other live events that might be happening that night. This type of targeted advertising is often difficult to achieve in other mediums, where advertising costs can be prohibitive and the scale may be too large or too small. While mobile text advertising is still somewhat in its infancy, there is concern that it could follow email advertising and oversaturation of the market might lead to people ignoring these advertisements much like inbox “spam.”

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Discussion Comments


I love going out on the weekends to hear local bands play. I like discovering new ones, so I often only go to hear bands I've never heard before.

So, I have put myself on several different clubs' text message alert lists. That way, if I've already heard the band playing at one or two of the clubs, chances are that among the five I subscribe to, there will be an unfamiliar band playing somewhere.

The clubs send out the text messages at around ten in the morning. This is neither too early nor too late for most people. You still have time to make plans, and the message didn't wake you up and find you in a bad mood.


@feasting - The clothing store that I work for does use text marketing. However, we only send out the texts to customers who have a store credit card account with us.

Each text that we send offers the customer the option to opt out of receiving future texts. The last thing we want to do is bother anyone on their personal phone.

If the customer tells us that they don't want to receive texts, then we start mailing out the coupons and advertisements instead. We rarely ever have anyone complain about this, because it isn't invasive at all.


I'm all about saving money, so whenever I buy something in a store and they ask me if I'd like to sign up for sales alerts via text message, I do. I believe that I have saved a good bit of money this way.

I don't get overwhelmed with messages, either. They only send them out about once a month, and they always contain coupon codes.

I think that mobile phone advertising is such a great way to reach customers. By only sending the messages to people that have shopped there before, they greatly increase the likelihood that they will see a good response.


I do ignore mobile marketing text messages. I find them to be annoying, and I think that the company that decided to send them to me was inconsiderate in doing so.

The problem is that my cell phone plan does not include unlimited text messaging. If I go over my limit, then I have to pay for each message. So, it bothers me a lot that I sometimes have to pay for these unsolicited messages.

I think that companies who choose to use text messages for advertising need to send them out to only those customers who have signed up to receive them. Otherwise, they could have angry people on their hands who will never shop at their stores as a result.

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