A Shorter Short Code

Mobile Internet usage is on the rise, but getting consumers to respond to a call to action by using their mobile phone is still fairly uncommon. Newcomer mobile technology firm Zoove hopes its implementation of “StarStar dialing” will make things easier.

Instead of requiring mobile subscribers to use SMS to respond to advertisements with mobile components, Zoove’s StarStar Dialing recognizes the request when a consumer dials “**” and a unique word or number. The product uses an existing telecom protocol, SS7 (define) to connect consumers to a mobile Web site. SS7 works worldwide, meaning Zoove can offer the service on a global scale.

To gauge consumer preferences for linking to mobile campaigns, Zoove commissioned Mediamark Research to conduct a mall intercept study. Of the respondents in the study, 47 percent of adult consumers know how to send common SMS Short Codes, but 84.5 percent find it difficult to navigate the menus on their handsets and send messages.

“By most people’s assessment, text messaging is a relatively cumbersome process, especially if you’re interacting with someone who is not in your address book,” said Zoove CEO Timothy Jemison. “Kids can do it, but the average person is not as familiar with how to do it.”

Once a StarStar Dialing message is sent, consumers receive a response in the form of an MMS message, WAP push page or other media. Jemison said the method lends itself to spontaneity due to the ease of use.

In the survey, 90.8 percent of adults said it was easy to respond to mobile marketing campaigns using StarStar Dialing. Marketers can make the response to advertisements simple with the use of vanity codes just like vanity 800 numbers. Fees for the use of StarStar Dialing will apply to the provider, not the consumer. A marketer will have to buy a vanity code, then it will have to pay for each transaction or call, which will be about 15 cents per occurrence.

The technology has the ability to do handset discovery, and can also derive the location of a user for targeted messaging.

Marketers get really excited about that. One of the attractions to mobile is the location-based ability, and the second is determining the handset somebody has,” said Jemison.

StarStar Dialing for advertising and marketing campaigns is the first of a handful of produces planned from Zoove. Later in the year the company plans to extend the service to content sites to provide a direct hookup to mobile sites.

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