NEW YORK President-Elect Barack Obama's "V.P. pick" text message remains the most notable example of short-code marketing in the U.S.
But according to a new report released by Nielsen's Telecom Practice, Americans should expect to see more text-message marketing in the future. Given the immense popularity of texting in the U.S. and abroad, it's not surprising that marketers have ramped up their use of the medium to engage their customers -- where there's an audience, marketers are not far behind.
So far, Nielsen's report notes, marketers have used short-code marketing in a tight but creative range of ways: from simple information messaging, to rewards programming, to couponing, and even direct SMS purchasing.
Coca-Cola's My Coke Rewards program, which had engaged 1.1 million AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers as of Q3 2008, according to Nielsen, is a notable example. Subway, Arby's, Jiffy Lube, Best Buy, Papa John's, Village Inn and other major brands have also provided special offers through text and multimedia messaging.
Short codes are also changing the way Americans engage with traditional media. Participation TV falls into this realm -- with American Idol being the most prominent example of viewers engaging with a TV program over text messaging.
Radio listeners are also increasingly being called to action via text message. In Q2 2008, for example, Nielsen's tracking of short codes showed more than 1 million transactions with "A-L-I-C-E" (or 25423), a short code assigned to the station Alice 97.3 KLLC-FM in San Francisco. Alice listeners are frequently invited to send text messages directly to the station to make requests, win prizes and enter polls.
Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.