Digitonic Launches Rich Media Text Solution

Glasgow-based mobile marketing agency, Digitonic, has signed a one-year exclusivity deal with consumer lifestyle data company, Data Locator Group (DLG), for the use of Digitonic’s Rich Media Text (RMT) solution in the UK.

According to Digitonic, Rich Media Texts cost little more than a standard text message, and “enable companies to send their TV commercials, image and audio via a text message”. The content is optimised for the device on which it is being viewed.

The tie-up with DLG may seem an odd one, but there is some logic to it. DLG has lists of consumers who have given their mobile phone number and opted in to receive marketing texts from third party companies. We put a call in to DLG to see how many such numbers they have, but have not had an answer as yet. Many in the mobile marketing business, of course, see the practice of sending third-party texts to bought-in lists of mobile numbers – albeit opted in – as a pretty inefficient way of going about customer acquisition, but that’s another story…

Leaving aside the pros and cons of third party SMS mailing/texting lists, the way the release is written, RMT itself does sounds like an interesting idea. It seems as if the rich media content is contained within the text message, so you could take the text message, go into an area with no mobile coverage, and enjoy all the rich media content within it. This, though, is not the case. The text contains a link to the rich media content, so the recipient needs a cellular or wi-fi connection to go out to the outside world to get it. Which, to our eyes, doesn’t sound new or revolutionary. We’ve all been clicking on links in text messages taking us to rich media content for the past few years.

But Digitonic managing director Grant Fraser insists that Rich Media Text is an advance on what companies have been doing with SMS for the past few years. He told us: “The user journey, from start to finish is engaging and dynamic and easier and more fun than linking to a mobile site. With Rich Media Texts, you link to a rich media ad, built in HTML5. We can link to bespoke barcodes or offers, and every recipient gets a unique link, which means we can track everything from start to finish.”

We’re still not convinced there is much – if any – difference, between linking to rich media content hosted on a mobile site, and linking to rich media content hosted somewhere else, and a tech expert from a leading mobile aggregator – who tend to know a thing or two about SMS – agreed with us. Having seen an example of a Rich Media Text he told us that “the tech doesnt seem to be anything new” though he conceded he would need to look at the back end to make a really informed comment.
And what about the fact that when you click on a link in one of these texts, you are opening a data connection and, if not on a wi-fi network, incurring a charge? Fraser says he would be surprised if anyone seeing the URL that appears when they click on the link does not realise that they are opening a data connection. And he insists that Digitonic has been running Rich Media Text campaigns for the past five months with few complaints and very low opt out rates.

“The only customer we have permission to talk about is BlockBuster,” he told Mobile Marketing. “They have been using it consistently to acquire and win back customers in a manner that is working very well for them. Opt out rates are exceedingly low, and feedback in store suggests the recipients like receiving the texts.

We may be missing something here, but we have spent quite a bit of time on the phone to Digitonic today trying to work out how Rich Media Texts differ from/improve on a text with a link to rich media content housed at the other end of a data call, but we havent got there yet. To experience Rich Media Text for yourself and form your own opinion, send an SMS to 64446 with the word “DLG” and youll get an auto-response with links to creative examples.