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300% Improvement in ROI – USSD vs SMS Marketing Campaigns

The meteoric rise of mobile has delivered marketers an all access, always-on link to their customers and the means to completely revolutionise brand engagement. As mobile adoption and use continues to see dramatic growth, consumer behaviours have evolved and so too have the methods and channels marketers use to reach them. Mobile technology has afforded brands a safe, cost-effective and efficient way to interact with customers. Delivering brand engagement or promotional campaigns on mobile has proven to drive substantial returns on marketing campaigns because of the high frequency accessed, highly personalised channel used.

Mobile messaging is particularly effective for mass communication, because its adoption is so widespread – thereby engaging the end consumer on any mobile device, irrespective of data connection. Mobile messaging is cost effective and measurable, providing marketers with reach at scale and essential data to prove what messaging is effective and what returns they have enjoyed from a campaign. As a key part of a brand’s omni-channel marketing strategy, mobile messaging boasts high open rates; the majority of opens are seen within the first 60 minutes of a campaign being delivered.

Delivering brand engagement or promotional campaigns on mobile has proven to drive substantial returns on marketing campaigns

Mobile as an Engagement Channel

Capitalising on mobile as a channel to engage with consumers has made SMS campaigns a popular choice, with their universally proven success rate over other digital channels like email marketing. Email campaigns have a 22% open rate, according to industry analysis, compared with SMS campaigns at a significantly higher 98% open rate. While these stats make for impressive reading and a convincing argument for SMS campaigns, there is an even more effective mobile messaging tool available to brands – USSD. Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD) is a menu-based service which opens up a two-way communication between a mobile user and a brand.


Working with large brands who use Myriad Connect’s campaign tool, Myriad experts have been astonished at the success clients have enjoyed with USSD. Myriad’s client, a West African Mobile Operator for example, has seen conversion rates 300% higher from interactive USSD campaigns, when compared with the same campaigns delivered over SMS. Like SMS, USSD is effective because it works across all devices and is accessible in remote areas that don’t have a data connection. What is unique about USSD, is the real-time connection provided during a session, which enables a far more interactive service than SMS. This two-way exchange of information encourages the user to respond and engage and convert immediately. This exchange is also free for the customer, making it far more likely that they will engage with a brand. Brands are also empowered to deliver competitions or mobile surveys via USSD because they can include questions via the menu-based service.

Conversion rates 300% higher from interactive USSD campaigns

USSD Interactive Campaigns

While Myriad Connect’s clients’ USSD interactive campaigns have typically doubled the use of their services, generating over 20 times the resultant revenue, successes in USSD campaigns have been seen across industries and markets. Carling Black Label’s ‘Be the Coach’ campaign, launched in South Africa, was a resounding success for the brand, attracting 10.5 million votes via USSD. The idea was to drive interest and engagement with target consumers around the Carling Black Label Cup, a soccer/football tournament in South Africa. USSD was the ideal technology to drive the campaign, as the interactive voting service was key, as well as USSD’s reach, ensuring inclusion of all fans irrespective of mobile device or data connection. The campaign drove historic attendance for the football match and saw consumers constantly engaged with the Black Label brand throughout the match and lead up to it.


While technology like USSD is helping brands to achieve significant successes as a marketing tool, delivering effective marketing campaigns involves delivering the right message, at the right time and in the best format. Developing targeted campaigns and therefore messages or promotions that are relevant to the end consumer, will ensure increased effectiveness and improved revenue potential. While segmentation of a brand’s database is essential for the delivery of more relevant campaigns, technology can play a key role in providing targeting capabilities. Mobile messaging technologies can provide information, for example, on consumer location, when the consumer is engaging with the device etc.; which can all be important in driving success of a campaign. Being able to analyse performance of a campaign is also key, providing important information to marketers on how to optimise campaigns and messaging to improve results.


Using mobile messaging technologies like USSD, may not appear to be very innovative in the face of some of the exciting consumer technologies available today. However, it is the innovative ways that brands use technologies that are widely adopted and easy to engage with, that will ultimately result in success for marketers. While USSD may not be perceived as the most glamourous, the results speak for themselves – using the technology for marketing campaigns has driven brand engagement, increased conversions and revenue and most importantly, has delivered enhanced customer loyalty.

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