MASTERCLASSING

Blyk Hits 100,000

David Murphy

Ad-funded mobile network Blyk has revealed that it has signed up over 100,000 members since its launch in the UK at the end of September, 2007. Blyk was aiming to sign up 100,000 members in the first year, so has hit its target five months ahead of schedule.
Blyk gives members free texts and minutes every month, equating to an individual saving of over 280 each year, with no contract, hidden costs or fees, in return for receiving up to six highly targeted advertising messages per day from brands including Xbox, Adidas, STA Travel, Penguin, Brylcreem, Boots, COI and RSPCA.
Blyk says the ad campaigns that fund the service have generated average response rates of 29%, at a time when trust in other forms of mass advertising is falling and brands are finding it increasingly difficult to engage with young people.
Young people have embraced Blyk because it makes phone bills and contracts a thing of the past, says UK CEO, Shaun Gregory. We believe that communication should be free, like most other forms of media in the UK. Blyk provides brands and advertisers with an exciting way of reaching the youth market in a very personalised way that works. Reaching 100,000 members is significant for advertisers, because it gives them the opportunity to engage with a mass youth audience in a highly efficient and cost-effective way. In six months we have built up a deep knowledge of our member base, which now exceeds many established youth media players, and with over 7 million 16-24 year old phone owners in the UK there is huge potential for growth."
Blyks proposition is based on the insight that messaging is the simple dominant mobile behaviour for 16-24 year olds. When new members join Blyk, they are profiled, based on their lifestyle and personal interests. This profiling is 100% opt-in and it helps Blyk to build up a deep knowledge of its customer base and deliver relevant communications to them.
Brands are using Blyk to create awareness, build relationships and drive action and sales through one-to-one interactions. Although the average response rate to campaigns is 29%, says Blyk, many are significantly higher.
Penguin Books ran a campaign on Blyk to promote the launch of Nick Hornbys latest novel Slam and achieved an unprecedented 67% response rate. Blyk created a two-part messaging dialogue, whereby positive respondents received a 90-second audio preview of the opening chapter read by Nicholas Hoult, star of Channel 4s Skins - a media first for using audio clips sent via mobile to promote a book.
Blyk is launching in the Netherlands in the second half of 2008, followed by other European markets and has recently attracted new investors Goldman Sachs and Industrial and Financial Investments Company (IFIC). They join a roster that includes Sofinnova Partners and a number of private investors.

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