- 58% of people had received SMS spam in the last month
- 11% of people had received more than 10 spam messages in the last month
To try to understand a bit more about the types of company, we split the 58% of spam recipients as follows:
22% have received SMS spam from company the recipient had previously bought products from or made an enquiry with – technically a soft-opt in.
23.5% have received SMS spam from a company they knew, but had no previous contact with
54% have received SMS spam from companies they don’t know and have had no previous contact with
30% have received SMS spam from a company not identified in the message – these are typically accident claims, debt management or mis-sold PPI messages
8 million spam messages per day is a lot. It could be argued that more than one fifth of these meet the regulatory requirements but consumers still see them as spam. The 8 million spam texts are just 3% of the 300 million messages sent each day in the UK. Compare that to email, where it is estimated that 78% of the billions of daily messages are spam. So why should 3% be a problem in mobile spam?
There are three important reasons why:
Mobile is very personal – this is the device that we have with us all the time. We don’t share it, and it’s the place that most of us communicate with our friends and family. Unsolicited messages in this channel are very intrusive. A DMA/IAB study last year found that there was a 98% recall of brand SMS. Clearly, people remember a text message – solicited or unsolicited.
People are not used to mobile spam – we have all learnt to live with a certain amount of email spam. That is helped in part by increasingly sophisticated spam filters and report spam buttons in email. Those management tools don’t exist for individual mobile users (yet).
Mobile spam is bad news for legitimate permission-based marketing – even in world of apps and mobile web, SMS is an important driver for brand marketing, service and CRM. For consumers it can offer a convenient and immediate communication tool. If there is a perception that the channel is full of spam consumers will be reluctant to give brands their mobile number. In the email channel, the service providers have a major issue getting around spam filters, black-listing of servers and getting consumers to open their message. This is where SMS could end up if spam levels continue to rise.
In the end, text spam will be dealt with by a combination of better enforcement from the regulators, better filtering by the mobile operators and consumers not responding to unsolicited messages. The DMA is doing considerable work in this area – watch this space for updates.