A mobile campaign is a marketing campaign that integrates mobile devices like cellphones and promotes direct consumer engagement with the advertising. Rather than being a passive target demographic, consumers can shape the campaign by interacting with it. Such campaigns can vary in size and scope, from charity fundraising initiatives to programs allowing viewers of television shows to vote on what they see on screen. They are usually masterminded by a marketing firm that specializes in this kind of of campaigning.
One approach is to directly text consumers. The company can use a customer database or a purchased list of sales leads to generate a mass text message sent to consumers. The message usually prompts the user to text back in order to initiate a purchase or receive more information. For instance, a pay-as-you-go mobile provider might text users during the holidays with a promotional offer to encourage them to buy more minutes so they can call their families.
A mobile campaign can also involve something like asking users to snap pictures of something and send them in to the campaign headquarters. Consumers could be encouraged to take pictures of a product when they encounter it on the street, or could be sent on a treasure hunt where they need to track down a series of items. The items may be branded with a company's logo, and consumers could earn points or other benefits by identifying them and reporting their sightings. The mobile campaign can tie in with a social networking site to allow users to file reports their friends can see, and this may create a competitive environment to promote more engagement.
Users may also encounter billboards and other advertisements encouraging them to text a response. This could range from texting a code to automatically donate a set amount of money to charity, to texting in a vote. Reality television shows can use this in competitions to draw in live viewers who get to vote to decide who should be eliminated or retained. For networks that want to discourage the use of digital video recorders in order to expose viewers to more advertisements, such campaigns increase live viewing numbers significantly.
Mobile campaigns may also take on a social justice angle. Some environmental and safety organizations set up mobile phone applications consumers can use to report health and safety problems. These can range from pollution to streets in poor condition. The mobile campaign makes it easy for citizens to report issues in their communities and can create a sense of community if users also interact with each other while reporting issues to the mobile campaign.