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Text marketing trends: A look at mobile wallets, AI and more

Text marketing trends: A look at mobile wallets, AI and more

Which text marketing trends do retail and restaurant brands need to pay attention to today? And how can they leverage those trends to best capture attention and drive sales? We at Quikly hosted a webinar to explore the answers to these questions.

To lead the conversation, we invited long-time mobile marketing pioneer Alex Campbell, who is also the Co-founder & CIO of Vibes, to join Shawn Geller, Co-founder & CEO of Quikly, which has motivated millions of consumers for top brands focused on mobile marketing.


Here are the highlights: 


Why is mobile marketing so critical today?

Campbell teed us up by discussing the state of mobile marketing, which he called “the most effective form of marketing in history.”

“And I don't say that lightly,” he said. “You know, when we look back among marketing and marketing channels and marketing strategies, the engagement that we see with SMS and MMS is really revolutionary.”


Campbell attributes this effectiveness to three reasons:

  1. Mobile marketing is personal: Our phones are an extension of each of us, making text messages highly personal.
  2. Our phones are mission driven: Each time we use them, we have a mission in mind, and fulfilling those missions is an integral part of daily life.
  3. Texts are trusted and valued: Think of how often we use them to engage with family and friends each day, as well as the trust and value that go into that.

    Text marketing trends — and how to leverage them

Today’s SMS trends can help retail and restaurant marketers to optimize this critical channel. Here are three of them:

Trend 1: Boosting traditional SMS acquisition plays with psychology

“On the surface, it feels like there's at least been this emergence of a couple of key blocking and tackling foundational [SMS] acquisition plays,” Geller said. 

Of the plays, he listed:

  1. Cross-enrollment from other channels, such as email, into SMS
  2. Web pop-ups and prompts that incentivize SMS sign-ups
  3. Physical promotional items, like signage or bounce-back offers on receipts

“I think what's also interesting to think about is how do you plus those up?” Geller asked. “How do you create ways to boost perceived value, right from prospective subscribers, when it matters most?”

That’s where urgency marketing comes in, as a trend to leverage for SMS enrollment. Urgency marketing involves using psychology elements to motivate consumers. Well-known examples include Amazon Prime Day (although this strategy doesn’t always have to involve heavy discounting) or sneaker releases

Elements like scarcity, FOMO, social proof and anticipation can be infused — either separately or together — into traditional text acquisition tactics to maximize a brand’s ability to generate high-quality subscribers that convert. 

There are all kinds of ways this psychology can be put into action. For example, a brand can replace standard welcome offers meant to generate SMS sign-ups with those that promote:

1. Limited access to anything, such as new product launches

2. Incentives that are only available within a limited window of time

3. Incentives that are only available in a limited quantity

Screen Shot 2024-05-20 at 1.50.11 PM

Each of these drives urgency and can help to accelerate high-quality SMS sign-ups. 

(You can also get more ideas on how to implement urgency psychology into your SMS marketing here.)

Trend 2: Pairing SMS with Wallet offers

Many people have used their phone’s Wallet functionality for boarding passes. Campbell says pairing it with text marketing can help to fill the engagement gap that falls between the channels of email marketing — with its large reach and waning engagement — and mobile apps — with their lesser reach and higher engagement. 

“Ninety-seven percent of people read a [text] message within the first three minutes, so the engagement is there...” Campbell said. “Now bring in Wallet. So, Wallet can actually provide app-like functionality to users, without having to call for a big download, without having to...have the user actually take up part of their home screen on their phone.”

Adding Wallet to mobile marketing strategies can also help increase revenue — by up to 19X, according to Vibes’ research (in comparison to using SMS alone).  

And people are already getting on board. Of more than 1,000 consumers surveyed by Vibes in 2024, 54% said they have made a purchase based on a Wallet offer.

Trend 3: Embracing artificial intelligence

We all know that personalization is key both today and within the future of text marketing. AI can help by determining the right message to send to the right person at the right time. 

Campbell offered the retail example of a sale on socks. Using AI can enable a brand to make sure texts only go out promoting this sale to consumers who would actually be interested in socks.

On top of all of the benefits that come with personalization, this also helps to mitigate brands wasting costs on sent texts that aren’t likely to convert into sales or further engagement. 

AI can also improve SMS engagement by analyzing the best send dates and times.

These are only a few ways this trend can contribute to text marketing, but Vibes has seen increased response rates when testing even these examples alone.

The future of text marketing

Of course, many more exciting trends are on the horizon, including:

1. The arrival of RCS (Rich Communication Services): RCS offers interactive features that will create new opportunities for richer text marketing campaigns.

2. Continued growth of AI: AI will play an increasingly important role in personalizing text messages and optimizing campaign performance.

In the meantime, leveraging existing trends around urgency psychology, Wallet functionality and AI in its current state can help brands to capture attention and drive sales through text marketing today.



Picture of Kristy Sharrow

Kristy Sharrow

Kristy Sharrow is VP of Marketing at Quikly, which has leveraged its psychology-backed technology to help top brands motivate over 57 million consumers to date.

Picture of Kristy Sharrow

Kristy Sharrow

Kristy Sharrow is VP of Marketing at Quikly, which has leveraged its psychology-backed technology to help top brands motivate over 57 million consumers to date.