Message Overload Causes Mobile Users to Unsubscribe From Updates

September 12, 2012

The leading reason mobile phone users unsubscribe from mobile marketing updates is message overload, according to [download page] a September 2012 report from Vibes. Asked their top reasons for unsubscribing from updates, 69% of mobile phone users and 86% of “showroomers” pointed to too many messages or updates. (Vibes describes a showroom shopper as one who uses a store’s physical location as a showroom for products instead of a place of business.)

A survey of online consumers by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) and Constant Contact, released in March, came to a similar conclusion. When the respondents were asked why they unsubscribe from an email list, too many emails topped the list of reasons, cited by 69% of subscribers. The same reason (too many updates) sat on top of the list for Facebook likers, at 42%.

Consumers show a strong preference for short, and infrequent, updates from brands. A December 2011 report from AYTM Market Research found that short updates from Facebook and Twitter (32%) and emails (27%) were the leading ways in which consumers most prefer to get updates from their favorite brands. A February survey by Upstream found that two thirds of US and UK consumers complain they receive too many promotions and ads from brands. That survey found 55% of the US respondents not wanting to be targeted more than once a month. Even so, a StrongMail survey released in August found 65% of US smartphone owners open to receiving email promotions on their device on at least a weekly basis. This difference may suggest that smartphone owners are more open to receiving marketing messages on their devices than consumers overall; or, the discrepancy may be due to survey methodology.

Meanwhile, other top reasons for unsubscribing revealed in the Vibes report include that the information was not relevant to the recipient (60% of all mobile phone owners; 76% of showroomers); coupons or incentives were not good enough (35% and 51%); the messages were untimely (30% and 44%); and that they could not personalize information they received (18% and 23%).

Showroom Shoppers Prefer Email, Mobile App Updates

Asked in which marketing communication channels they participate, the Vibes report finds that showroom shoppers are significantly more engaged with marketing than mobile phone owners overall. 67% of showroom shoppers subscribe to emails from favorite brands and retailers, compared to 47% of respondents overall. 51% of showroom shoppers also download mobile applications, versus 27% of respondents overall. Rounding out a shortlist of five channels of engagement were: Facebook (28% vs. 17%); mobile subscriber lists (25% vs. 15%); and Twitter (9% vs. 6%).

The StrongMail survey released in August (see link above) also found email updates to be the preferred communication method among smartphone owners.

Showroom Shoppers More Open to New Marketing Activities

Showroom shoppers show a stronger propensity for “hand raising,” that is, participating in new mobile activities (e.g., contactless payment, location-based services) in exchange for deals and offers. 70% of showroom shoppers report they would use near-field communication (NFC) to make a purchase, compared to 48% of all smartphone owners. 57% of showroom shoppers have redeemed a mobile coupon, compared to 39% of smartphone owners. Showroom shoppers are also more likely to share a location for a deal (50% vs. 34%) or check-in to get a deal (18% vs. 12%).

About The Data: The Vibes Mobile Consumer Report was conducted by the independent panel research firm, Research Now, and responses were generated from a survey of 1,006 mobile phone owners (including 603 smartphone owners) from an online opinion panel. All respondents are age 18 or older and living in the continental United States. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.1%.

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