UK Mobile expert reveals consumer engagement trends and opportunities

Andy Gladwin, Head of Global Mobile GTM, Cheetah Digital discusses how there’s a growing body of evidence, suggesting that people are more obsessed with their mobiles than ever before. For marketers and brands, this obsession translates into incredible opportunity, especially as the third-party cookie crumbles and relationship marketing emerges as king of the marketing paradigm.

Smartphones are often the first thing people check in the morning and the last thing they touch at night. In the UK, it’s estimated that people spend an average of four hours every day clicking, tapping, swiping, and watching on their mobile devices – that’s at least a quarter of their waking hours. Undoubtedly, mobile has become an inextricable extension of the modern consumer and as such, has emerged as the heartbeat of relationship marketing.

In the UK, mobile marketing is the fastest growing channel for providing opportunities for brands to effectively engage with consumers, including mobile video commerce and gaming. In fact, almost half (48%) of UK marketers say they will allocate more than a quarter of their budget to mobile advertising, a recent WARC report reveals.

Compared to different channels, mobile really stands out as a compelling way to communicate with customers. Roughly 98% of all text messages are opened by the receiver. That means brands can be confident their message will be read and acted upon in a short amount of time.

This is a tremendous opportunity to deliver not only value but convenience too

We talk about going from the physical to the digital world and then back to physical again, in terms of engagement. Well mobile increasingly resonates with brands as a way to do this, especially in this post-pandemic environment where physical contact is minimised.

Mobile marketing offers businesses and brands the ability to message customers easily, effectively and instantly. In fact, once an SMS is sent, the immediacy is profound — roughly 90% of messages are read in 90 seconds.

Even more, whether the recipient is eight years old or 80, there’s no barrier to understanding how to operate a text message. With that level of engagement, one that provides up to 45% of responses where there is a call to action; it’s very compelling for more and more organisations to jump on the trend.

Overcoming barriers to mobile marketing adoption

Arguably, the pandemic has made us more glued to our phones than ever. A survey of 500 UK adults and 20 interviews, funded by Research England, discovered that more than half of respondents say they use screens more often than they did pre-pandemic. This has helped position mobile marketing as the hottest trend in relationship marketing.

However, some brands and organisations are still hesitant to latch on. That hesitancy can be attributed to three key reasons, including:

  • Trouble getting started: These organisations understand the value of SMS, but they don’t know how to get started. They don’t know what they need to put in place before sending a message; for example, the provisioning of codes and gathering of consent.
  • Investment justification: These organisations know they want to use SMS, but they simply can’t decide the most effective way to implement it as a strategy. They question if they should use SMS for promotions, notifications, delivery or appointment reminders, etc. They want to understand where SMS is most effective to justify their investment.
  • Intimidated by regulation: Whether a small startup or a large enterprise, nobody wants — or can afford — to damage customer relationships. These organisations and brands want to know how to effectively implement SMS into their marketing toolkit while staying within bounds of current regulations and providing best practices for customers.

To eliminate these barriers, it’s key for the industry to embrace bodies like The Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) that package thought leadership into bite-sized, consumable information for enterprises to learn. This can get more organisations to adopt A2P, helping them drive additional value to customers about the services they provide.

There are many nuances and complexities around SMS, and it’s up to the industry to simplify these by centering the solution around value rather than bureaucracy.

Unlocking the value of mobile marketing

In this landscape, it’s not enough for a brand or organisation to have an SMS program with notifications, promotions and alerts set up. They must personalise each message to ensure it is relevant to the consumer.

 This could be understanding whether someone is a first-time or longterm user or discovering what their interests are. For example, if they’re looking at ski holidays, send them an SMS that’s tailored to ski holidays rather than a ‘fun in the sun’ getaway.

 With SMS, there’s a multitude of different attributes that create context — has the customer filed a complaint recently? What were his/her last transactions? Have they enrolled in a loyalty program recently? This type of information can all be used to create an environment that fosters relationships with consumers.

 Having this information allows you to create the content decisioning channel that offers the most impactful and valuable personalised interaction. These leads then drive customer lifetime value.

 The value of mobile in the digital age is vast. When engaging with a brand, consumers interact with several digital touchpoints that are seldom connected. However, these channels can almost always be accessed on mobile, with SMS, browser, email, apps, social and wallet readily available on most smart devices. Therefore, by making mobile the nucleus of any digital communication strategy, brands can harmonise data and use it to power more personalised and frictionless experiences across all touchpoints.

Relationship marketing bridges the gap between data and contextual engagement, ensuring brands and organisations can easily and fluidly understand their customers, activate insights and effectively deliver personalised experiences across all channels and touchpoints. Relevant and timely messaging, which SMS and apps so seamlessly provide, is key to educating customers, minimising friction, building purchase consideration, and developing deeper relationships.

About the author: Andy Gladwin, Head of Global Mobile GTM, Cheetah Digital

 Voted by the industry as being among the Top 25 Most Influential in Mobile, Andy Gladwin is a recognised thought leader and strategist. With more than 15 years of experience in the mobile messaging market across different levels in the mobile value chain, Andy continues to be an active participant within industry bodies. His unique, deep understanding of CPaaS, SaaS and enterprise business drivers led the Mobile Ecosystem Forum to appoint him as its Ambassador for Enterprise Engagement. Today, he resides in the UK where he is the go-to-market leader for Cheetah Digital’s Global Mobile service offering.


About Cheetah Digital

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite enables marketers to create personalised experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies, underpinned by an engagement data platform that can scale to meet the changing demands of today’s consumer. Many of the world’s best brands, including Starbucks, Hilton, Neiman Marcus, Levi’s, and Williams-Sonoma trust Cheetah Digital to help them drive revenue, build lasting customer relationships, and deliver a unique value exchange throughout the customer lifecycle. To learn more, visit


About Editor 2549 Articles
Lisa Baker is the Editor of International Business News. As the Owner of Need to See IT Publishing, Lisa is an experienced business and technology journalist and publisher.